I ask the children in a primary class, "What makes you you?"
I was curious about their thought process because earlier a child noticed my glasses and said, "If you take off your glasses, you won't be you." So I shared this comment with a small group of children and ask, "Do my glasses make me me?"
"No!" they exclaim.
"Doing the stuff you do makes you you," says a child.
"Hmmm," I say. "So, if I'm not doing anything and in the hospital sick, am I me?" I ask.
"You're you," says a child.
"Your hair makes you you," says another child.
"If I cut my hair, then I'm not me?"
"No! You're you because you're smart," someone offers.
"So, if I'm not smart about something, I'm not me," I wonder out loud.
"No, you're you because you like scientific stuff!"
"I do like science. Am I me if I don't like science but instead like roller skating?" I wonder out loud.
"Yes, you're you," the children cry.
"You're you because you have a brain."
There's a pause and some squirming. It looks like the children are losing interest. And then a child says, "I know what makes me me. The trueness of my heart."
(A circle conversation, posted 11/16/09; Dublin Montessori Academy, Dublin, Ohio USA)