"Differences of habit and language are nothing at all if our aims are identical and our hearts are open."
—J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire In Orson Card's book The Call of Earth we learn of the character Hushith. As a raveler, Hushith "lives in the constant awareness of all the connections and relationships among the people around her." Having a web-sense is naturally the most important thing in her life, as she watches people connect and detach from each other, forming communities and dissolving them."1
If Hushith were to come to our community, what would she see? Are we unbound, relatively unconnected, alone? Are there powerful connections amongst us? Does she only find true connections amongst those with whom we attend church? Or would she happily find other connections?
Some additional ideas for teaching children about connections, and that they are part of a vast community that wants to be good, include:
- Have children draw a simple map of their street, and label each of the houses with the names of the neighbors.
- Read the books And to Think we Thought We'd Never be Friends (Mary Ann Hoberman) or Berenstain Bears' New Neighbors (Stan Berenstain and Jan Berenstain).
- Have children draw a spider web with people that they know and love on the web—who have they included? Why are they connected to people? Why are they not?
- Show children a picture of a greenhouse. Explain to them that a greenhouse is a building where the sun's incoming rays warm plants and help them to grow. Ask the children to share ideas about how their own home is like a greenhouse for the neighbors.
- Serve the children pineapple. Share with them why pineapples are grown in greenhouses, and that pineapples are symbols of hospitality.
Look for the opportunity to have a conversation similar to one that I had with my son.
One day on the drive home from school, my 10-year old son asked me how come he and my daughter are the only Mormons in their school (or 2% of the student body). After explaining that with 2% of the U.S. population being Mormon, our religion' representation was roughly in-line, I went on to say something that prior to Know Your Neighbor would NEVER have come to mind. Which is: there may be only two Mormons, but most of the kids in your school want to be good and do good, just like you do.
1 Orson Scott Card, The Call of the Earth, (Tom Doherty Associates LLC, 1993) 41.