Wilfrid Gordon takes us by the hand and helps us to fearlessly turn towards the vast gaps left by modern medicine’s approach to ageing. His solution is temporary, but it is one that places power in the hands of a very young child, honours the dignity of a very old woman and challenges us to reimagine the kind of end of life care that we want to offer our vulnerable but valuable aged citizens.
Oliver Sacks, the British neurologist and naturalist, once said that “the love of nature and living things, is an essential part of the human condition.” The truth of this statement is apparent when observing children, who retain an increasingly fragile connection to ancient ways of being that our modern, frenzied world has largely rejected. This powerful and indeed, spiritual wisdom that they so effortlessly offer us is perhaps the key (on our doorstep!) to the slower, deeper living so many of us are searching for.
Over time, the neighbourhood I grew up in has become wealthier, more developed, with improved roads and infrastructure. But as we have become richer economically, we are undisputedly experiencing a poverty of nature, of community, and of belonging. Jeannie Baker’s masterpiece provokes deep thinking about the environments we want to live in and to leave behind, and invites us to reimagine the possibilities.
My father read this book to me as a child. It has been 8 years now since he passed away, but when I picked this book up again, I wept like it was only yesterday.
On a personal level, having taught children in both traditional and emergent curriculum settings, I have found it to be an incredible privilege to teach using the emergent curriculum approach. I have been able to observe firsthand how this type of system allows children to become co-creators in their learning, rather than passive recipients of an adult-driven agenda.