Roger: You write a great deal about the importance of questions.

Paula: If you can ask questions that open your thinking, the answers don’t matter . . . the questions are much more important than the answer.

Roger: As a child, your Father met each of your questions with an “answering question.”

Paula: When Dad was teaching me the Medicine Wheel, I followed him out to the garage, which was where we did our learning. He had drawn a circle on the floor. I said, “What’s that?” You know, I was wonder’n that too.” I said, “It looks like a circle.” “Yep, it looks like a circle to me too.” He made one little mark on it, which I know was North. “Oh, that’s North . . . North is wisdom.” Then his question to me was. “Why if you are in the North, aware of your personal wisdom, why would you ever leave?” I had to tell him. It took me nine months to get all the way around that wheel!

Roger: In your tradition there is no word for teacher . . . only learner and enabler.

Paula: Whenever you stand up and start walking, the only thing that will always go with you is what you yourself take. So that’s where you put your energy and your effort . . . developing your own ability to learn and adapt. To do the best you can in whatever circumstance life presents.

In my tradition there are two directions for learning. Learning from the outside in . . . teaching . . . is memorization. It’s not considered true learning. It’s valuable . . . 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue. Great . . . now you can keep track of the date. But that doesn’t tell you anything about Columbus.

The other way of leaning is from the inside out . . . the questions you learn how to answer. The a’ha feeling . . .where you suddenly get it. It’s much easier if nobody tells you how you should be learning. My Dad used to say, “If you let kids figure out how much fun it is to learn you can’t beat them off with a stick. We sure do a pretty good job of hiding it though.”

Roger: Parents were not expected to enable the learning of their children, in your tradition that was the job of grandparents.

Paula: Education – fundamental education, formatting character and finding out what kind of learner you are – was in the hands of the grandparents. Not teaching knitting, anybody can teach knitting. A much harder job is to teach being human. One of the problems in our society is that we think of schools as doing all the teaching and yet, the most critical lessons are barely addressed. In the process of breaking up the extended family for the convenience of industrialization, you create a unit that’s inadequate. It takes a village to raise a child . . . we hardly have villages anymore. We don’t have the people with long-life experience teaching, they are retired. We have people with short life experience who’ve only gone through the process of being a child and being a parent. They haven’t gotten beyond the experience of being a parent . . .

Chief Dan George has written a couple of wonderful books. He makes it so clear that allowing life to be what it is, is one of the best gifts we can give each other. He grew up in a round house with thirty-five other people . . . nobody ever had to tell him how to get along with others. We isolate ourselves in nuclear families and can barely get along. I was proud my son and daughter each had their own rooms because I grew up in a one bedroom house. But I’m not sure. We might have all been better living in a one- room house.