New Ideas in an Old WorldUpdate from Cairo

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Friday, March 16, 2012

New Ideas in an Old World

Update from Cairo

Last night I went to Tahrir Square. I didn't go alone: I went with my host, a man who was in the square on the day the revolution began, and who remained there throughout the 18-day upheaval that started Egypt on the road to democracy. I'd been teaching all day; we had the first session of our Positive Discipline in the Classroom training for teachers at Trillium Montessori School and when we finished at 8, the director of the school and her husband decided it would be good for me to see something of old Cairo. So we dove into the turbulent seas of Cairo traffic and headed downtown. On the way to dinner, we circled Tahrir and Fadel showed me where the soldiers were, where the camels ran through the square, where the wounded were carried for treatment. I'd seen all this on the television, but it was both moving and sobering to drive beneath the stuffed effigies of Mubarak, to see the tents of protesters still in the square, and to see the banners and graffiti celebrating the revolution with my own eyes. Even close to midnight, there were people everywhere, and electricity in the very air. 

Later, as we sat in the Nubian Village restaurant on the banks of the Nile, we talked together about change. No matter how necessary, how right, and how inspired, change is challenging. Egypt is wrestling with the creation of a new constitution and the election of a president; those events are just beginning to unfold. And as democracy begins to breathe in this ancient land--we drove past the Citadel, which is more than a thousand years old and plan to visit the pyramids next week, which are more than 5,000 years old--change is spreading from Tahrir Square and the halls of government through schools and into families. 

Tomorrow I will be speaking at an all-day parenting workshop, which is open to the public. I will be talking about Positive Discipline, about what dignity and respect, cooperation and encouragement, teaching and trust look like in schools and families. Hopefully, those same tools and ideas will continue to spread throughout Egypt and the Middle East. There is a group here in Cairo of determined, inspired women who intend to take these ideas to every family and every school in Egypt. And I believe they just might do it.

You never know where life will take you. I began teaching parenting to small groups in Reno, Nevada; I now find myself halfway around the world in this huge, endlessly-moving city that is both ancient and new again. I feel deeply grateful--and yes, a little nervous. But in this place that is so different from home, I find myself among people who speak the same language I speak, a community based on Positive Discipline, the teachings of Alfred Adler, and a hope for equality, dignity and respect. Perhaps if each one of us continues to work for what we believe in, the ideals we cherish will grow beyond our wildest dreams. 

| Posted by cheryl | Friday, March 16, 2012|


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