A month or so ago I wrote about how Winnie the Pooh is basically a Taoist master and an excellent role model for these uncertain times.
The Te of Piglet is a book from the same author as The Tao of Pooh. I’m still very new to Taoism but according to the author, ‘Piglet demonstrates a very important principle of Taoism: the Te – a Chinese word meaning Virtue – of the Small.’
The author writes:
‘Is the adult wiser than the child? On the individual level, of course, that depends on which adult and which child. But beyond that, wisdom is to the Taoist a child’s state. Children are born with it; most adults have lost it, or a good deal of it. And those who haven’t, are in one way or another, like children.’
As teachers, we are constantly reminded of the wisdom of children. I do not have a class of my own but I do faciliate two After School Activities (ASA).
One ASA is a group of elementary students who I pose philosophical questions too after reading stories from the Odyssey. Here are some example of the wisdom of children from that ASA:
Me: ‘Do you think Helen of Troy was the most beautiful woman in the world?’
Child: ‘Beauty is an opinion and if it is an opinion you can’t judge it.’
Me: ‘Do you think it would be good to be happy all of the time?’
Child: ‘How do you know you are happy if you are not sad sometimes?’
Both of these answers are examples of critical thinking at its very best.
Critical Thinking, along with Compassion, Collaboration, Communication, Courage, Creativity, and Reflection, is an ISY Learner Attribute that we strive to nurture in all that we do. In nurturing these attributes in our children, we need to preserve the wisdom that they already have as we expose them to new perspectives and key academic concepts and skills.
I really hope that every child who leaves ISY retains their childish wisdom. Childish wisdom mixed with some ‘grown up’ expertise and experience will go a long way in finding the answers to many of the problems that our children will need to solve.
Hoff, Benjamin, and Ernest H. Shepard. The Tao of Pooh. Methuen, 1989.
Hoff, Benjamin, and Ernest H. Shepard. The Te of Piglet. Egmont, 2003.