Reweaving Community: Living With Ubuntu

Better World Ed exists to help youth love learning about self, others, and our world. To help us all learn to love self, others, and our world. To untangle the knots within and between us. To reweave the fabric of our local and global communities. 

 

This post is about an aspect of this important mission: living with ubuntu. Let’s dive in.

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Reweaving Community: Living With Ubuntu

The concept of “helping others” — of wanting to make an impact in the lives of others. The deep concept and intention is important, though I feel we often get it twisted and tangled a bit.

 

These people have, these people don’t. These people are, these people aren’t. Those people have less, so I should be grateful. Those people have more, so I should strive to be like them.

 

We often frame all of this conversation as an “us” and “them” thing. And a more and less thing. This is especially dangerous because the conversation is so often about material resources, and also so often becomes rather dehumanizing and/or objectifying. It becomes easy to slip into seeing humans as numbers or objects.

 

That in itself is a risky path for us to go down, and it becomes extra risky if (and often, when) we as a society start relating these numbers to our perception of one’s happiness and fulfillment — counting how many people have X amount of Y — rather than wholly remembering that we are all living, complex, interconnected beings who have perspectives and feelings that we can wonder about.

 

The reason Better World Ed exists, possibly above all the many other interwoven reasons, is to help us unravel all of this confusion and come back together as humans. To reweave.

 

To see that we are all so so so deeply interconnected, and all of this us and them stuff is really rather confusing.

 

That’s not to say there isn’t injustice and inequity that some humans live through and not others. There absolutely is.

 

It’s to say that it’s shocking that this kind of injustice and inequity can even exist at all when we’re so deeply interconnected. As a species, we aren’t consistently practicing empathy and understanding. We believe this could be the root of all of these challenges we face in our world.

 

The point of realizing this deep interconnection — to live with ubuntu — is for us to remember the change we seek is not about saving one another or helping one another with our spare cash or a few hours. That’s great, yes. And it can be meaningful, yes. Though these are actions at the surface, and what we badly need to work on together is the whole iceberg.

 

The deep purpose of the Better World Ed curriculum is about each of our whole icebergs.

 

Learning to see one another (and ourselves) as full, complex, unique, and beautiful humans. Not objects. Not numbers. Not statistics to save or change or help. To see one another as humans, with all of the complexity and magic that brings.

 

The purpose of this curriculum is to help us introspect and understand our biases and judgments, to work alongside one another to address the inequities of the past and present, to untangle the knots within and between us, and to reweave the beautiful fabric of our humanity and our communities — a fabric we can weave so strong that the change we make actually lasts. Because we see each other as full icebergs… I mean, humans.

 

(That’s a big part of why our videos are wordless.)

 

 

A call to action for all of us as we engage in our day to day lives:

 

Let’s strive to be consistently aware of our bias and our current wiring (our own, especially) when engaging with stories about the lives of other complex, incredible humans and in stories about our world and cultures. That kind of awareness is a constant, daily, hourly thing that we’ve got to practice, and it’s something I’m striving to practice every day. It’s hard, and there are no shortcuts. This curriculum is about engaging in that hard work together, though.

 

Better World Ed doesn’t exist to help learners “help people” or “fix problems” — this curriculum is here to help us all understand ourselves, each other, and our world in a deeper way. To see that those three concepts are so deeply interconnected (ourselves, each other, and our world). To see that we can learn to love ourselves, each other, and our world with all of our hearts and minds.

 

To see that this quest for understanding is a lifelong journey — and that we can come together to live the change we dream of.

 

To see that we can Be WE.

 

Let’s reweave community.

 

Reweaving Community: Living With Ubuntu

Additional Resources:

 

 

 

  • Teaching Unit (Resources for teaching with empathy, curiosity, and compassion)