Recently I have had another
experience of being mentored by my children. Liam and I have had this fascinating
conversation.  I will ask him, who
are you?  He will then smile and
give a combination of answers:

Tayla (his sister)

Then I’ll ask who are you?

Mommy.

Who are you?

Martha.

Who are you?

Daddy.

Who are you?

Grandmother.

Who are you?

Eventually he will answer
Liam
– with a big smile.

This got me thinking about
the old dictum made famous by Kant, “I think, therefore I am”.  This of course gave rise to the
Enlightenment and eventually to highly individualistic definitions to
identity. 

Liam has an identity
constituted by a community of people – he in essence says, “we are, therefore I
am”. 

This is very African and reflects
the philosophy of Ubuntu, which is famous in South Africa through the maxim, “
umuntu
ngumuntu ngabantu
(a person is a person through (other)
persons).

As I’m working through my own identity issues I’m
more aware than ever that the community I surround myself with inevitably constitutes
my identity.