On the Lives and Education of Children
Edited By Paul L. Thomas, Paul R. Carr, Julie A. Gorlewski and Brad J. Porfilio
Chapter Eleven: Re-Storying “Progress” Through Familial Curriculum Making: Toward a Husbandry of Rooted Lives
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Re-Storying “Progress” Through Familial Curriculum Making
Toward a Husbandry of Rooted Lives
When Wendell Berry was awarded the Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities in 2012, the highest honor conferred by the federal government for intellectual achievement in the field, Bittman (2012) wrote of him, “he is among our best-known, most-adored, most-prolific, and widely admired poets, essayists, novelists … and social critics, a writer of almost incomparable breadth. Did I mention that he is also a farmer, a philosopher, a teacher, an activist?” He continued with his characterization,
Wendell is controversial, unique, and not simplistic. You’re not going to see him on the Today show or in People magazine. He doesn’t speak in sound bites but in leisurely, often literary sentences that, while not at all difficult to understand, require actual concentration and thought, two functions that are sadly in short supply in popular culture. (Bittman, 2012)
With Berry’s focus on local connections to land and culture, educators concerned with place-conscious, civic-minded goals, have found hope in his writing. Reductionist scientific discourses and industrialized notions of progress do not suffice, he argues, to recognize the delicate complexity of the natural and cultural systems of which we are part. He uses abstract terms like cultivation, moderation, and rootedness, and as Bittman implied, we must disrupt our daily consumption of “sound bites” to linger over his idyllic words and consider their juxtaposition with...
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