“A Meeting on the Green” is historical fiction that takes place in Keene, New Hampshire two days after the "shots heard round the world" of the Battle of Lexington and the official beginning of the American Revolutionary War.
The story focuses on the relationship between two best friends, Abitha and Ester, and how the Battle of Lexington creates a temporary rift between them. Ester's father is a patriot, or a part of the growing number of American colonists who wish for independence. Abitha’s father, however, leans toward being a loyalist, or someone who wishes to remain a part of the British government. When 29 Keene men volunteer to march to Boston to fight – and Ester’s father is counted among them – Ester takes our her upset on her friend.
It is a story that frames the Revolutionary war through a lens that is often forgotten: that Americans were not in agreement around claiming their independence. And it asks the question, "how can one be a loyal friend AND disagree with them on fundamental political questions?" Clearly it is a story relevant to today just as much as in 1776.
New Hampshire History
- A study of the British Colonies and how they were governed
- A timeline of events leading up to the Revolutionary War
- A comparison between patriots, loyalists and tories
- Biographies of key Revolutionary War leaders and soldiers
New Hampshire Geography - Mapping the route of the march to Bunker Hill - A Map of the 13 colonies - A Map of key Revolutionary War battles
“A Meeting on the Green” study topics - Daily life in a small town in Colonial America - Conflict resolution between friends who disagree - The relationship between local and national politics
From a Child Development Perspective
Though this is historical fiction and the characters have been developed to accommodate a story, their attributes and development may be useful as reference points and inspirations.
This is a story of exploring the inherent contradictions in the trajectory of history, and how one such significant dispute affects two young children as individuals and as friends. Although the story is placed in just preceding and during the Revolutionary War, it is a story that has particular relevance in our time.
From this story, the Child Might Learn:
We have an opportunity see our friends and each other anew each day. Very often children can get locked behind a preconceived decision or ‘reputation’ that other children have of them. We serve our children when we remind them that children, and adults alike, are always changing and growing, and we can hold the faith that the person that we knew yesterday has the chance to become a new person with new attributes tomorrow.
- It can be hard to stand up against the pressure from a friend in making decisions against our own best judgment or adult guidance. Often there are consequences when we do not follow our own instincts.
True concern and compassion for the other, and particularly our friends, is what we are looking to find regardless of your (or even your parents’) political leanings.
“It was as if they personally understood that agreements … were fleeting – that difference and difficulty would always be with them – that this new country, the United States of America – was a place filled with hope and arguments and conflict and striving – so much striving. But none of that was worth more than what the two of them had. For they learned that they had something more precious than money or peace or even freedom. They had true friendship.”
From this story, the Adult Might Ask:
For parents, this is the story about how a child's natural curiosity and interest in the world will naturally want to be fed. Where do we draw the line between giving our children and students the just the right amount of information or too much? Regardless of age appropriateness, it’s going to be different for each child, what he/she has the bandwidth to understand and process. Listen and watch.
Children can benefit when adults are aware of how our political leanings can affect our children and their friendships. We can each ask to what degree we want our children to know our political leanings, so that we can help shape them is thinkers for the future, and how much do we need to consider that he/she may be too long young to hold opinions especially when they create a wedge between their friendships.
We offer this and other stories to encourage our children in the face of insecure political times with a promise of hope.
About the Authors
David Sewell McCann
David Sewell McCann fell in love with spinning stories in first grade – the day a storyteller came to his class and captured his mind and imagination. He has been engaged in storytelling all of his adult life through painting, film-making, teaching and performing. Out of his experience as a Waldorf elementary class teacher and parent, he has developed a four step method of intuitive storytelling, which he now shares through workshops and through this website.
Meredith has been working with adults and children of all ages for the past 25 years as a Waldorf Teacher and Educational Consultant. She received a B.A. with a focus on child development and child psychology from the University of Michigan, in 1984, an M.A. Ed from Washington University in 1987, and her Waldorf Teaching Certificate from the Lehrerausbildung (Teacher Training) in Nurnberg, Germany in 1989. She was certified as a Living Inquiries Facilitator in 2014, and she completed her formal teaching certification with The Enneagram Institute in 2014. Her work in the classroom and with individuals and groups is designed to help people of all ages to drop self-limiting beliefs to live a more joyful and compassionate life.