I love it when I find a website that really makes me think. I did that this week, with the site for the Global Oneness Project.
The Global Oneness Project says its goal is to “to plant seeds of empathy, resilience, and a sacred relationship to our planet” through the power of stories. Their stories examine the human impact of issues like climate change, sustainability, migration, etc. The site also provides lesson plans designed to examine key themes: identity, diversity, hope, resilience, imagination, adversity, empathy, love, and responsibility—lofty goals, to be sure. Students are invited to participate in a variety of ways. For example, the responses to their student photography contest with the theme “our place on the planet” are stunning. So, there are many reasons to explore this website.
One place to start is with three lessons, for elementary, middle, and high school, all focusing on the value of questions and available in either English or Spanish. While the background for all three lessons comes from the same essay, Rabbi Dr. Ariel Burger’s, “Learning and Teaching from the Heart in Troubled Times,” the emphases and (of course) procedures are different across grade levels. All three lessons start by examining Grant Snider’s cartoon titled “Asking Questions.” Younger children focus on the importance of asking questions and the relationship between a quest and a question. Older children examine quotes from the essay and consider how curiosity and “moral ferocity” are related. They are powerful questions and lessons designed for deep thinking and the opportunity for profound understanding.
At the time, in particular, when we feel both isolated and divided, lessons that consider our common humanity—and how questions and curiosity can unite or divide us–seem particularly appropriate. Perhaps this non-holiday lesson, examining powerful moral questions that cross faith communities, might be the best holiday lesson of all. Take a look at the lessons, and the stories the website shares. May you find paths to creativity there.