Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Playing With Ideas

The officers of our school's chapter of the Indiana Junior Classical League had arranged a meeting for yesterday afternoon, and that should be your first clue that something special was taking place.  I did not call the meeting.  They did.  This extraordinary group of young leaders picked up from their last meeting and began filling my board with dates, ideas, and who would be responsible for accomplishing various tasks.  They asked me for help only when needed, for example in emailing a secretary to schedule room use.

And I sat back and watched.  I listened.  And I was astounded as I so frequently am.

After working for a while on recommendations for college-bound seniors, I needed to take a break, so I went next door to the meeting of Philosophy Club.  I sat down next to a retired colleague who continues to sponsor the club she had sponsored for many years when she taught English and Theory of Knowledge.  And I sat back and watched.  I listened.  And I was astounded once again.  

A small, diverse group of young people discussed what they could know with regard to science.  My colleague did not lead the group.  The students led themselves.  In fact, one of them had prepared the materials you see here to guide the conversation.

When my children were young, they played with joy and abandon with their toys, and it struck me that what was going on in Philosophy Club and what was taking place with the officers of the IJCL was the same thing.  These young people had outgrown childish objects, but they were playing with the toys appropriate to their age, ideas.  The philosophy students were trying out their thoughts about the nature of things in public discourse, and they did so as boldly as any child playing with in a sandbox.  The Latin students gave exercise to their notions of leadership by jumping in and leading.

At play in the field of ideas, these students experienced a uniquely human joy, and it was a pleasure to behold.

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