Collective Amnesia

by | Sep 18, 2021 | Blog

Dear Boundless Families:

It’s just day three of the boarding school, and already problems are mounting. 

Blame David. He’s our new Math teacher. Such a rookie. 

Kids have barely had time to settle into their beds, and already he is overwhelming them with daily math problems. He’s ruining basketball by making perfectly healthy red-blooded teenagers calculate shooting percentages when they are supposed to be chilling. Any discussion about Covid quickly becomes an excuse to explore ratios. There is no peace nor escape. David even has them seeing graphs in the branches of trees. I am not kidding.

The kids aren’t complaining. I’m complaining.

You can just see the impact on the students. They are becoming forgetful. A  collective amnesia has come upon them.

They can barely recall their smartphones. Their past months of languishing in isolation is becoming a distant memory.

Sometimes they can’t even remember their own homesickness. 

In fact, this being Day 3, I am shocked about how quickly everyone is settling in.

When they finally escape David’s grip, they engage in shenanigans. Like when Shappa gets his water bottle stuck in a tree. 

“How did that happen?

He shrugs his shoulders and grins. This grin, the reader must understand, is the Nobel Prize Winner of grins, carefully honed in how-to-manipulate-adults- school – and designed to disarm any authority figure with its sheer adorability. It worked like a charm for me.

“Let’s grab a few balls and smack it out of there, ” I suggest.

We try. We fail. Then I come up with my most moronic idea of the day by suggesting I lift him up by my hands.

It works. 

I sprain my knuckle and hide my wincing. Shappa has just let me in and I’m not going to ruin it. We then start chatting about Caribou meat and I start to forget my own pain.

Moments like these are happening all over the place (not injuries I assure you), in every conceivable combination of human beings. They interact in pairs, in trios and in ten-somes. They play cards. Chess.  Football. They gossip. They complain. Drama has yet to begin for it’s way too early. But somehow I suspect this might not be such an issue this session.

Did I just jinx this group? We shall see.

Plans are underway for drag shows, martial arts classes, knitting sessions, girls-night out, knife throwing and hundreds of other little brilliances.

It’s ambitious. It’s gorgeous. A community is forming.

The first night we spoke about how Boundless is a refuge. From the noise, the anger, the uncertainty, the ambivalence and the mediocrity. The students kind of get it. But it still has to be proven. This is as it should be.

Any time you put together the Arctic, Trinidad, Malta, Metis, Ojibway, Jamaica, the Philippines, Ottawa Valley and China in one room, you are bound to have quite the party on your hands. This is exactly what we are hoping for. 

One long 40-day learning party.

It’s been a great start, precisely because amnesia has set in.

I’ll be back at ya in about 10 days.



Share this Article

Steven Gottlieb
Steven Gottlieb