Whoever You Are

Seed magic was alive and well last night.  Onstage for the first time in South Mountain High School’s auditorium, our Seeds put on a show that warmed hearts, dazzled eyes, delighted ears, and offered a message of hope.  With Mem Fox’s book Whoever You Are (http://memfox.com/books/whoever-you-are/) as a starting point, one-year-olds through 4th graders danced and sang their interpretations of various parts of the text.  The book explores many ways children all over the world are different, then pulls it all together with these lines:

“Little one, when you are older and when you are grown,
you may be different, and they may be different,
wherever you are, wherever they are, in this big, wide world.
But remember this:
Joys are the same, and love is the same.
Smiles are the same, and hearts are just the same—
wherever they are, wherever you are,
wherever we are, all over the world.”

The message of Mem Fox’s book is in line with past themes for our Celebration of the Winter Solstice.  We focus on universal ideas that apply to any culture, religion, or philosophy of life.  They often tie into ancient solstice traditions that originate from places all over the world.  The paradox of the winter solstice is that as “the year’s shortest day heralds the onset of winter it also promises the gradual return of the sun after a prolonged period of darkness… The term solstice is ‘sun stands still.’ ” (http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2002/12/1220_021220_solstice.html)  It is a time for pause, a time to reflect on our blessings and challenges, as well as how to move forward into the coming year with wisdom and grace.

Additionally what comes forth for me in December is the way contrasts and  differences in our lives circle us back around to the similarities.  The interplay between darkness and light is ever present in the days and nights surrounding the new year.  The light and the dark, emerging out of each other, can’t exist without its opposite.  It’s an equal dance that presents an opportunity to talk with children about differences, and helps them understand that diversity and uniqueness are what enrich our lives.  Open conversations about equal rights, racial bias, and stereotypes naturally follow in classrooms that begin with books like Mem Fox’s Whoever You Are.

Our 2016 Celebration of the Winter Solstice ended with Michael Jackson’s song, “Heal the World.”  His lyrics invite us to

“Make a little space/Make a better place/Heal the world/
Make it a better place/For you and for me/And the entire human race…
Make it a better place/For you and for me.”

The whole event was an invitation to all of us to do just that, to hold hope in our hearts and do what we can to make our world a better place.  While rehearsing the song, one child exclaimed, “This is my favorite song!”  I have full confidence that she and her friends will continue to use their voices (and lives) to make sure that “wherever you are, wherever we are, all over the world,” healing is a possibility for the entire human race.