As we are coming to the end of – wait, I don’t like that word, “end” – doesn’t seem right. Rather, I think I want to reflect a bit on the things that I will carry forward. As I was going over our generative lists, the questions I will continue to ask with the new lens of my understanding kept landing on two themes. Interestingly, I was struck by the dualistic nature of two.
As I have previously noted, the use of texts in the colonization of nations and peoples is something I have never given much thought to. I don’t know why. I guess my “eyes” had just never really been opened to the role of written words in codifying the “shared exterior” of my realities – the things I accept as true and right and, well, “normal.” These have all been constructed by “texts” and are not just the “norms” I have taken for granted. I am not sure how I thought “norms” developed, but childlike, I apparently have just accepted the veracity of the social claims of many, many, norms in my lifetime. The longer I live, though, and the more I learn, the more I am struck by how little we (I) question how big T truths have been constructed. Learning about the role of texts in history by colonizers to promote favored ideologies, justify acts of suppression, even campaigns of war and genocide, will never allow me to “read” a text again without questioning the motives and the message. That is something I will carry forward.
On the other hand, though, the ability of one educator to empower those they “learn” with will never leave me, either. I don’t think we can “measure” the outcomes – the potentially far-reaching effects – that helping just one person to find their voice can have. By voice, I mean giving a person, an adult in our case, the tools with which to make sense of their world and to take action in their lives. Even the simple action of understanding how to fill out a form, perhaps, or write a letter, changes a life. And adult educators get to do this again and again. That is more than an occupation, that is a calling. Thank you. Susan