Folklorists often base their stories of communities on a sense of shared location, interests, purpose, and values. In their studies, the explore everyday behaviors and special activities and events unique to various groups. Oftentimes these exist as markers of time like seasonal holidays and life cycle events. These generally revolve around artistic or culinary traditions. As the community of Red Oak evolves, Stone Soup has become our first group tradition.
Late in October, we gathered in Blendon Woods Metro Park for our third annual Stone Soup. As always, families were invited to bring something - anything vegetarian and gluten free - to through into a bubbling cauldron. After 45 minutes to an hour of socializing in the fresh autumn air, we broke bread and tasted the living metaphor we created. The soup, so much greater than the sum of its individual parts - serves as a symbol for what we can accomplish when we come together, and everyone contributes what they can, no matter how small.
The event isn't just a really great party, its part of the curriculum. Students read different versions of the story representing various cultures and regions. Last year they wrote their own version of the story. You can find a copy in the school library. In years to come we look forward to finding new ways of building on this tradition, adding richness and meaning both to the event and our children's education. It's the not-so secret ingredient that makes what comes out of that pot taste so good.