A fairy tale for my grandchildren

A fairy tale I hope I won’t have to tell my grandchildren, in 2030:

Once upon a time, long long ago, in a place far far away, filled with nice people, there was a man who ran a school. It was a good school, and the man was very good at running it. At that school, the man had children from many different backgrounds, though not perhaps as many backgrounds as at YOUR school. And some of those children and the parents who sent them to that school had different beliefs about what was right, and what was wrong. The man found that some of the things that usually happened at the school for a few minutes each day excluded some of the children because of what they thought was right and wrong. And so the man changed how things were done in the school so that this was no longer the case. And he changed other things so that those who liked it more the old way could still have things a bit like it was, but not exactly the same. That’s what they did in lots of other schools in this land that was full of nice people.

Anyway, the man thought this would be ok. He thought including everyone in the community was something highly valued by his community, indeed, by his whole country. (The leaders of his country often said that, after all.) He thought that everyone would understand why the change was made. After all, many, many schools in the country did things just the way he had changed them to at his school. And the land was full of nice people.

The man was wrong. He was yelled at and called bad names by parents and other nice people in his community, as well as by nice people he didn’t even know from far, far away. His change was said to destroy the fabric of his community, indeed of his country, by those recognized as leaders of the country, although those leaders had not bothered to find out the actual facts about what the man had done. He was told that he didn’t belong in his community, and was threatened quite a few times with physical violence. Instead of making his community more inclusive, his change made the majority of those in his community very angry at him, and even angry at those whom the man had tried to include. If he didn’t like how things were done the old way, he was told, he should just leave! He certainly should not be in charge of a school, for a school is there to produce nice people! And those others who prompted the man’s changes in the school, well, they should just fit in and not try to ruin everything for the majority. And if they couldn’t do that, then they should go back where they came from (although some of them “came from” the same place as everyone else). They were called bad names as well. Even people who told the story about this man and what he had done were yelled at, abused, and threatened, and called names almost as bad as the ones that the man was called.

Soon, nobody told the story of this man, or they told it only in ways that made the man seem EVIL and the nice people, well, nice. Which is why the story has become a fairy tale.

But don’t worry children, that place is far, far away, from a time long, long ago. Some say it was a place called “Canada”, and the year was 2009. Some even say that the fairy tale was a TRUE STORY. But I wouldn’t want you to mix up real stories with fairy tales. Now, sleep tight!

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One thought on “A fairy tale for my grandchildren

  1. This is a very sad story and, in its real life counterpart, quite horrible. I think the principal’s reaction is rather profound, as though the reaction he got is so confounding that it is quite unknown how one could go on. (That’s meant in a Wittgensteinian way – what seemed to be a form of life has transmuted in a way that defies understanding.)

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