My students have been reading Antigone and debating the fate vs. predestination vs. chance vs. choice arguments. The discussion circles around until it is difficult to tell one concept from another. Once they have decided what the characters believe, they are to try to relate it to today’s world and their own beliefs.
Then the conversation gets really interesting. These thirteen and fourteen-year olds are certain about how things work in their lives, but then it gets all fuddled up and circles around again when one of them adds some new observation. Are we doomed to fate? Are we simply following a well-crafted plan that we can’t escape? Are we just moving from one thing to the next haphazardly? Do we have any choice?
I don’t have the answers. But I love the exchange and the way they make me think and reexamine. And ultimately, looking at the some of the choices I’ve made, I’m fairly certain that they were my own darn fault. However, next time I order double dessert, I’m most definitely going to blame it on predestination!