The love of one’s environment is the secret of all man’s progress and the secret of social evolution. It becomes manifest in people who have survived life’s vicissitudes, who have been able to keep their integrity, or who have rediscovered such integrity in themselves.
Education and Peace
Every aspect of MVM, tangible and intangible, is about shared space. Tangible (physical) space extends from our classrooms where students and adults work together daily, to our kitchens, community room, library, hallways, playgrounds, storage areas, cabinets, parking lot and offices. This is where we do our work.
Intangible space is comprised of our thoughts, ideas, feelings, actions and emotions. It is how we do our work. It is through the intangible space we experience and practice our connection with one another. This is where harmony emerges and where we can cultivate the collective and collaborative nature of our lives and our work.
The Zulu use the term Ubuntu (OO-BUN-TOO). It means “humanity to others.” It also means “I am because you are; I have because you have.” Ubuntu embraces the idea of the interconnectedness of all human existence. The largest tangible shared space I can think of is Earth. It is also the largest intangible space where our children’s futures will depend on their ability to understand and accept their connection to others and the significance of interdependence in the global community.
Modeling Ubuntu in the tangible and intangible shared spaces at school and at home teaches children of all ages what sharing looks and feels like, how collaboration, generosity, kindness, compassion and acceptance occur naturally in our daily lives where giving and receiving are experienced together. These experiences develop positive values of respect, responsibility, accountability and integrity. Children learn and become increasingly aware of these insights:
- I can stretch further and go outside of myself for the good of all
- I have a responsibility in my coexistence with others
- What I do affects everything, the whole world
- I can’t seek in others what I don’t have in myself
- I am successful because you are successful
- I am not fully defined without you
- I belong to a great whole, a world community
- I have more things in common with others than I have differences
Shared understanding and practices grow out of our shared spaces where we experience the satisfaction of caring for and feeling cared about by others with a deeper understanding that our environment, experiences and community belong to all of us. We are part of something bigger than ourselves – a community.