Edward Smith School/PAL Project Collaboration
“I Understand Everything”
Photography and writing by the students at Edward Smith K-8 School.
Understanding has been written about by philosophers, psychologists, religious leaders, politicians, children and many more. It is a word that carries concepts that are at the core of being human. You can use the word understanding as a noun, verb, or adjective and it still applies to a person’s ability to act humanly. One can understand by comprehension, one can understand by creating a harmonious relationship, one can understand by coming to an agreement of opinion or feeling: the adjustment of difference or one can understand by an explanation or interpretation. Understanding, to me, is at the center of what makes a group of people a community.
As I read Tiran’s poem I was struck with the idea of understanding. Tiran is autistic and non-verbal. He is often upset causing him to cry loudly and make loud sounds. I have just given you a simple understanding of Tiran, an understanding of him without his “voice.” Now hear his voice through his poem. He wonders, dreams, wants to dance, pretends to talk, and worries about his brother. He understands everything. Through “listening” to Tiran we come to a real understanding of him; one that takes effort and time but most of all the ability to listen.
In our current times with a failing public education system, killing of children like Trevon Martin, and wars all over the globe it is imperative that people take the time and effort it takes to listen to one another; to understand one another. This is a situation where people need to start at the grass roots. Start with our kids; these kids tonight. Listen to their words. Do what you can to understand them. It is through our actions as parents, teachers, and guardians that these kids will learn to listen and understand others. With understanding there is hope to change some of the daunting issues of our times.
Mary Lynn Mahan, Edward Smith School Art Teacher