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Braiding Sweetgrass Discussion 3 Picking Sweetgrass

This is the discussion of section 3 of Robin Wall Kimmerer’s Braiding Sweetgrass, “Picking Sweetgrass.” For the discussion of section 2, go here.

Epiphany in the Beans

Such a simple question, “Do you think the earth loves you back?” But it really frames the idea of teaching your children not just to love but to accept love and reciprocity. Wall Kimmerer, of course, is talking about the land, but it makes me think of all kinds of other things we put love into and could accept love back from, if we knew to.

Question: What are you teaching your children to love and to welcome love in return?

The Three Sisters

This was such a beautiful, lyrical reflection on corn, beans, and squash, on complementary planting, and on interdependence.

Question: What are you interdependent with?

Wisgaak Gokpenagen: A Black Ash Basket

Wall Kimmerer talks about learning to make special traditional baskets from black ash trees, which are disappearing because they haven’t been tended enough by basketmakers. It’s interesting to go beyond an obvious interpretation that black ashes are being over-harvested to the nuance that they could be tended and grown by the same people who are harvesting them.

Question: Is there any kind of resource that you see disappearing that you could tend to help it flourish?

Mishkos Kenomagwen: The Teachings of Grass

This discussion of women having to code-switch to be taken seriously by white male institutions about their own held knowledge made me think about being in business school and the emphasis on “hard skills” that have no more value in actual business settings than “soft skills” do. I started then teaching my cismale children to be quiet and listen more deeply to figure out who knows what and how they know it, and not to trust the shape of things.

Question: Have you had to switch into more official language to talk about things that you know to be true?

Maple Nation: A Citizenship Guide

“You take what you’re given and you treat it right.” This is a very different code of citizenship than the codes of citizenship of other nations.

Questions: Would you want to be a citizen of Maple Nation, with the added responsibilities and lessened legal rights?

What do you think about the idea that enjoyment is a form of responsibility?

The Honorable Harvest

What a beautiful chapter with such important ideas. The Honorable Harvest rules are a good template for raising good humans who live in harmony with others and in happiness inside themselves.

Question: Have you thought about teaching your kids a code like the Honorable Harvest? What principles are in it?

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