A Worldly View

A Worldly View

Last weekend I enjoyed a quick trip to Texas, to visit my sister and her family.  We celebrated Sis’s birthday with homemade ice cream and three–count ’em, three–kinds of cake. We attended a celebration of life memorial service and dinner with the family of my brother-in-law’s very good friend Bill, whose father of the same name left a wonderful legacy of kindness and extreme hospitality.  The next day my sister, nieces and I partook of a bit of pampering at the nail salon.  But amidst all these big events, perhaps the Big Deal of the weekend was the Passport to Culture extravaganza held at Newman Smith High School.  It was Amazing!

Angela Hardy and Lindsey Cullins are teachers and co-sponsor a Human Rights Club.  Months ago, they invited any interested students to participate, and began planning this extraordinary event to showcase what they’d learned as well as what they might have absorbed in their own homes, and to share it with those who came to see.  More than 500 “passports” were issued at the door!  Following some inspiring opening remarks by Human Rights activist, Professor Rick Halperin, we traversed the halls to the school’s cafeteria, where small groups of students had set up forty booths to display and demonstrate snippets of their newfound knowledge and understanding of what life can be like for people in other parts of the world.  Many of them had tasty tidbits of food on offer, made from recipes they had researched from their featured countries, and it was all good!  These ambassadors wore traditional dress pertinent to their booths, and they supplied various types of stamps for our specially made passport booklets to commemorate our visit. If I hadn’t already been bitten by the Travel Bug prior to this event, it’s certain I would have been by the time we left it.  What an inspired way to learn, and what an exciting way for the students, in turn, to become our teachers.  With booths showing cultural aspects of life in Austria, Spain, India, Eritrea, New Zealand, Nepal, Israel, Germany, El Salvador, Brazil, Indonesia and so many other parts of the globe, the room was a wonderful, colorful array of life, providing us with lessons in the best way possible:  they made it fun.

Now, when I read in the news or hear on the radio about events that happen in other countries, instead of thinking “overseas”, and dismissing it as some unknown, unseen part of the world, I’ll have a new perspective.  Maybe I’ll picture a young lady playing the flute, or a young man offering hot mint tea, or hummus and pita bread.  I might remember a lovely lady from Japan, teaching us the basics of Ikebana, the art of flower arranging in her home country. I’ll think of the doe-eyed beauty of those long-lashed adolescents whose family heritage began, perhaps, thousands of miles away, but brought them eventually to Dallas, Texas, to expand the horizons of their teacher’s Auntie from the Midwest. And then I will smile at those memories, and say a prayer for those folks mentioned in the news, because now they feel like my neighbors.

Thank you, Newman Smith students (and teachers!) for opening the doors of your school and your knowledge, to the rest of us.  You impressed me in so many ways. You are Leaders!

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  1. glenda says:

    Once again I was removed from my own home into the journey you have shared with us. thanks so much for sharing.

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