Thursday, July 28, 2022

"She Spoke My Future"

We live in a time when the art of prophecy is practiced everywhere and respected no where.

Prophets were foundational in most major religions and prominent in most ancient societies. Perhaps the best known prophets is The Pythia, or Oracle of Delphi, who was connected to the Greek god Apollo. Prophets, we believe, have a direct line of communication with higher powers and what they are best known for is predicting the future. 

In this age of science, prophecy is not revered as it once was, even as prophecy is everywhere. Of course, there are still religious prophets as well as fortune tellers, astrologists, and psychics, although we tend to view them as cult leaders, charlatans, kooks, or entertainers in the vein of magicians. We tend to take today's secular prophets -- like political pundits, economists, and investment gurus -- more seriously, maybe because we are suspicious of those who assert a connection to the spiritual world, while being at least a little more trusting of those who base their predictions on "systems" and "science." But even so, most of us remain suspicious of these prophets as well, perhaps largely because you can pretty much find someone who has and will predict anything and everything. 

Indeed, prophecy has become so democratized that we all dabble in it as we strive to "read the signs" and "do my own research" and cherry pick from the plethora of prophecies around us, cobbling together our own predictions or expectations for the future. I imagine life was a lot less stressful when people let the Oracles of Delphi do the prognosticating. "Hey, she told me to sacrifice the goat, so I have no choice, right? Who am I to go against the prophet?"

Why am I writing about prophecy on this blog? Because as adults with young children in our lives, we are surrounded by it. You can't turn around without being faced with someone predicting the future for our children, from parenting and education prophets (like me), to scientists, journalists, and titans of industry, all eager to assert their "take" on what the future may hold depending on which "goat" you sacrifice today. 

Monique Gray Smith is a successful Indigenous Canadian author who writes everything from picture books, to young adult titles, to novels, and she spoke with me for the upcoming Teacher Tom's Play Summit. She told me that she never set out to be an author. It wasn't even on her radar until one day a stranger who had just met her said, "I look forward to reading your book one day." Monique says that at first she didn't think the woman could possibly be talking to her, but as it turns out, "She spoke my future."

Prophecy isn't some rare and mystical thing, but rather a sacred power that each of us possess. Monique told me that this is one of the great gifts we have to offer one another. Too often, however, our schools are based on the prophecy of deficit. When we focus on the "gaps" and weaknesses and challenges of children those deficits can easily become damaging self-fulfilling prophecies. She urges us to instead concern ourselves with the question, "What are the gifts that your child is blessed with?" It's only when we focus on gifts and blessings of children that we can truly "see" each child's path beyond the challenges of today, the one that leads to their best and brightest destiny.

That woman who foretold Monique's future may have forgotten her prophecy moments later, but it remains with Monique today. We all possess this ability to speak the future. It is an awesome power that comes with great responsibility, especially when it comes to young children. Monique tells us that prior to colonization, Indigenous education was guided by the "North Star" of love and joy rather than deficit. "When our heart is light," she tells us, it changes how we raise our children. It causes us to focus on their gifts and blessings. And when we do that we are more likely to plant the seeds that will grow into a future of gifts and blessings.


To watch my full interviews with Monique, please join us August 13-17 for Teacher Tom's Play Summit. Click here to get your free pass and learn more about all 20 of our incredible sessions with early childhood experts and thought-leaders from around the world. You will be inspired, informed, and challenged. Professional development certificates are available and you can upgrade to unlimited access. Please share this far and wide. Let's speak a bold and beautiful future together!

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