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Well, that's the trick: the sudden unexpectedness inside the overknown.

— Heather McHugh


We discussed how our lives are balanced between the individual self and the self in community.. We created recipe cards that attempt to describe our complex lives.


Everyone has hopes and dreams for the future. There are ingredients you hope to add to your life recipe as you mature, but life is not always predictable and our dreams do not always come true. It is good to have a Plan B. What are your biggest dreams for your future and what are your Plan Bs?


  • Ask significant adults what their lives were like when they were your age, including how they felt about growing older and leaving childhood behind. Ask if there is anything they sacrificed that they wish they had not.
  • How does your family treat the toys and other objects children outgrow? Do you discard them? Do you pass them down to the next generation? Ask the adults in your family to share stories of any such mementos with you. Passing down a toy to your younger sibling or cousin is a great way to honor your experiences and strengthen community. Do you have an item that you are ready to pass down? One note of caution: You have to be ready to let go of the object if you pass it down. The stuffed animal that you slept with every night might end up at the bottom of your cousin’s toy box. If you are afraid she/he might not treasure it enough, perhaps you would rather hold on to it and pass it on to children you might have. Take steps to preserve the object until you’re ready to pass it down. If a relative passed a special item down to you, ask yourself if you are taking good care of that person’s memories.
  • How do your families and friends balance their individual needs with those of the community? Make a suggestion that everyone keep a log that lists personal time versus communal time. Some time might be debatable. Do you shower in the morning to keep your body clean and healthy or because society has standards of cleanliness or both? Mark the activities that might fit into both categories and discuss them with others. At the end of the week, everyone can review the log and ask if the balance seems correct to them. If not, perhaps a few changes are in order.
  • Is there a recipe box or book of family recipes in your house? Hold a family recipe cookout. Invite your best friends and an adult from their families (or their entire families) to come to your place and bring a family recipe to be prepared for the group. While you learn to make the food, you and your friends can converse with the adults about the person who passed the recipe down. Recipes do not have to be written; many families keep such recipes in their heads. All the more reason to make a special occasion out of having the recipe passed down to you.

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