The Cat is My Teacher

Roxas is an intelligent cat who whiles away the day peering out the window and lounging on his master’s bed.

When I came to San Francisco to visit my son, he followed my every move, through every room, observing every activity. He perched atop the refrigerator to watch me wash dishes, wipe down the microwave oven, and scrub the stove top. When I took time to pray, he lay, spread across my prayer mat and nuzzled to butt heads with me when I briefly sat on the couch to check my phone for messages. Roxas completely ignored his other roommate, a cat named Noura. They shared the same spaces; but being polar opposites in personality, they would rarely interact. Roxas seemed to prefer batting a fuzzy ball cat toy with his mitten-like paws.

I’d wondered, what could I learn from this cat? For although being under stimulated, for being an obviously highly intelligent cat, he did not seem in the least mournful, depressed, nor pessimistic. He merely accepted the world as he found himself in it. Yet, I could not help wonder about what potential this cat had if I were to contrive for him a multitude of mazes, created new types of interactive toys and other activities in a variety of settings for him. It seemed analogous to how teachers can provide vastly different experiences for their students.

The ISNA Education Forum is coming to Chicago, April 19-21, and I will present with my colleague Sadeq AlHasan about Change Management in schools. It promises to be a great professional development event, and as chairperson, I know that we offer great programming with over 30 sessions and 6 pre-conferences. I’ll just have to pull myself away from my first, newly arrived grandchild. Register at