The young woman sitting next to me in the Denver airport gripped the grande cup of hot Earl Grey I had just purchased for her. Her name was Marta. She was seventeen, an exchange student from the Ukraine on her way back to Eugene, Oregon, for a few days of debriefing before heading home. She had spent the last year of high school with a host family in Minneapolis where I’d just attended a conference. Her wide brown eyes and long, thin legs gave her the look of a fawn — a frightened, waif-like creature. She also had a nasty cold that I did not want to catch.
In this grand vocation of teaching kids about the world, it’s important to give careful thought to the environments we create for them to grow up in — grandparents’ homes included. Our homes are not neutral places, but rather culture-shaping places. We’re helping to form ideas, attitudes, imagination, compassion, and skills. Our little people will one day be big people who take their places in the flow of history. In hundreds of vocational spheres — as mothers and fathers, artists and scientists, shopkeepers and CEOs — our children and grandchildren will grow up to be the culture-makers of their generation.