Barbara Bowman takes the stage, like Moth to a flame
October 9th, 2016
The Chicago educator co-founded Chicago-based Erikson Institute graduate school in child development and is mom to White House aide Valerie Jarrett.
Bowman’s talk won’t be featured on the air, as she took the stage at a private event in front of 140 education wonks and supporters of Erikson.
Her story focused on growing up in a conservative Christian family and how she came to appreciate religious differences. It began one day at boarding school when she ended up sick in the infirmary. Her roommate was Jewish.
“Why we began to talk about religion instead of boys, I can’t tell you,” she said, prompting a roar from the crowd. “She had beliefs that I thought were strange, and I had beliefs that she didn’t understand at all.”
Bowman, 87, said she joked about the pain of eating fish on Fridays and her friend talked about her own Friday traditions. Bowman said she realized they had much in common in being different and that they remained “lifelong friends.”
She then deftly transitioned to talking about education–a move would have boosted her rating had she been judged in a regular Moth performance.
“To be effective while working with young children and families, you must have self-awareness and pay deep attention to relationships,” she said. “That’s why we ask our students at Erikson to do what we did tonight—think about their past experiences and try to understand them from different perspectives.”
The event at Architects was held at Architectural Artifacts in celebration of Erikson’s 50th anniversary.