What would you do if you came to a town where no one spoke to each other? Where everyone kept to themselves and no one appeared happy? In the story “Stone Soup” three monks did just that and they came up with a plan to bring happiness to the people of the town. Their plan was to make stone soup. Yes, stone soup. The monks began cooking with a pot, water, and fire. At first the townspeople stayed in their homes with their doors locked, until a small child walked up to the monks, curious about what they were doing. The monks asked if the child would like to get three round stones to add to the soup and so the child found the stones and then thought that a bigger pot for the soup was needed. So the child went home and asked his/her mom for their biggest pot and the mom followed the child to where the monks were. Soon more people from the town came to see what the monks were doing. The monks commented that the stone soup was good but would taste even better with carrots. One of the townsfolk commented that they had a few carrots they could spare for the soup. One-by-one, individuals from the town brought ingredients from their homes to share for the soup. In the end, the townspeople sat around a large table, sharing the soup they all contributed to making, and sharing stories with each other, becoming a true community.
After reading this book, I thought about our community and how we connect to others, near and far. I thought about the school in Mongolia and the school in Ireland, whom we connected with through the Pay-it-Forward program. I thought about our own school, and how each family is unique and adds something different to our school community. In “Stone Soup” each family brings an ingredient for the soup and it not only brings the townspeople together as a community, but became an opportunity for each family to share something from their home with others. We love food at TPH and we love sharing things from home with each other, so we decided to make our own stone soup! Each child chose an ingredient they wanted to bring to school and add to our community soup.
Then Thursday morning came and it was time to cut up all of the collected vegetables. Cutting boards and butter knives were set out and two pots were set out to put all of the cut up vegetables and other ingredients in.
With water added into the pots at the end, the soup was put on the stove. It simmered for a couple of hours and then homemade dumplings that KC brought were added to the soup. In “Stone Soup,” the townspeople eat the soup under large paper lanterns, so while the preschoolers were outside, I hung up a string of small paper lanterns to eat under. The lanterns were quickly noticed as the preschoolers came inside to wash their hands.
When we sat down for lunch, the preschoolers began discussing what ingredient they each brought to contribute to the soup. After a couple of minutes, one child began thanking another child for bringing an ingredient. Then more and more preschoolers began thanking others for what they brought and saying how much they liked each ingredient. It was this magical moment that showed just how special stone soup is in bringing an already close knit group even closer together, if even just for one great tasting meal!
As the monks said at the end of the story: "To be happy, is as simple as making stone soup."