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Those who benefit from stability, cultural and financial heritage, and family contacts established over generations, go into life with capital to build on. Their children benefit from this and often owe some of it to their parents who were able to pass on certain values. But the idea of sharing acquired advantages with newcomers clashes with the concepts of merit, earned capital, family transmission, participating community... Equality, we want, but with those we consider our equals. This is not often the case with foreigners who arrive with a more or less adapted baggage. The only equality that we recognize to them is that of money... which has no smell we like to believe.

Our roots certainly define us in our habits but are not for all that our essence. "Amare," the etymological root of «aimer» (to love), means attachment. Multiplying attachments, not preventing them, is probably the best way to integrate and share. This is why school and education are at the forefront of the means of integration: language, culture and common references are taught, contacts are made, local values are learned and understood, skills can be acquired and value demonstrated. School is a fertile ground in which to grow roots. One can become an "equal" there.

With population shifts increasing, current principles of integration are challenged. We will need to find ways to affirm, develop and share our anchors, enriching each other rather than surrounding them with walls and ditches. The recent pandemic has tested our social ties and, by seeing the number of individuals who have drifted away, has opened our eyes to the inadequacy of our relationships in many areas. Not everyone is connected in the same way. In one's cocoon, one doesn't see much coming, one doesn't really participate.

School transmits cultural values of mutual aid, study, a sense of hard work, ethics, entrepreneurship, and many human values necessary for a world in which to lead fulfilling lives. Internet links do not replace human links. School is transforming but the need for anchors remains.

Denys Lamontagne - [email protected]

Illustration: BananayotaPixabay

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