Challenging students to find strength for the future

By: Angel Fant, ArtistCorps member

I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become.

 C.G. Jung

I began a recent lesson with the story of Elizabeth Catlett versus John Biggers. As the lesson continued and conversation was stimulated, the focus of my instruction became take ownership of your story. I posed the question “what challenges would a slavery survivor face?” A student replied, “being captured again.”

Many questions came about as we discussed this sensitive part of history with the diverse class. The look on the face of these children was “I am not what happened.” By the end of the class, the students understood the history, as well as the ramifications it holds for the present. The idea that I am what I choose to become was understood as an opportunity. You see, I think it today’s world, so many blame the people of today for the problems of yesterday.

The only reason these issues remain is because leaders and citizens allow it. We should be reminded that children are innocent and should not be labeled by their family or by the issues surrounding them. Children should know their individual stories and how to use their personal histories as a foundation for positive growth and development.

February 18, 2016