It’s funny how a multitude of things have built our identities, yet it is virtually impossible to remember every step of the process. Children are blessed with the ability of presence of mind, more so than any other age group. They are constantly exposed to new stimuli, and they are constantly fascinated by each of these new stimuli, which is probably why these experiences are so ephemeral to them. The irony behind presence of mind is that it really can only be reflected upon retrospectively, and perhaps that’s why we can’t remember the steps of all those ephemeral processes that have created us.
Somehow, though, these fleeting experiences become a part of our subconscious and eventually one of the many building blocks that makes us… well… us. They build, similar to the coil I’ve mentioned in previous posts, and each rung becomes one with the next. It’s impossible to figure out where one rung starts and the other begins, because they all fuse together so continuously, creating the current embodied versions of ourselves, neither compartmentalized nor discrete, simply one.
I have very few memories of my elementary school days, and I sometimes wonder if my students will be the same due to their presence of mind and the fleeting nature of events when we are so present. I hope that the learning experiences I create with my students are not so short-lived, and that they are able to ground their futures in experiences we’ve had together. Then again, if they don’t remember them, does that necessarily mean they were so “fleeting” per se? Perhaps they will subconsciously pave the way for new learning, the origins of which they are unaware.
Perhaps that’s what makes “teaching” so special. Maybe that’s why parents love watching their children grow so much… because the children are so blissfully unaware of the world that is unfolding before them.
While we are the sum of our experiences, maybe we are simply unaware as to the level at which our experiences have truly created us. Only the creators of us could truly know those answers… Or maybe no one actually knows, for our creators are individuals, too–ones who have invested a great deal of time and energy into us, and ones who succumb to the ephemerality that is the human experience. Perhaps we are simply a new language they’ve created, one that will communicate with the future, one that is greater than their sum.