Tuesday, January 17, 2012

I Don't Worry About Our World So Much

We must remember that intelligence is not enough. Intelligence plus character -- that is the goal of true education.  The complete education gives one not only power of concentration, but worthy objectives upon which to concentrate. The broad education will, therefore, transmit to one not only the accumulated knowledge of the race but also the accumulated experience of social living.

If we are not careful, our colleagues will produce a group of closed-minded, unscientific, illogical propagandists, consumed with immoral acts. Be careful, brethren! Be careful, teachers!  ~MLK

It's a small wonder, a miracle indeed, when they discover an aspect of "we," often at first stumbling across it like over a super cool toy left in the middle of the living room floor.

Even if it's as simple as saying, "We are going up here now." Even that gives me confidence about our future.

The ones with siblings just a little bit older tend to learn it first, the joy of connecting with another child, and find their classmates a little slow sometimes. These are the ones who might take the lead, practicing the sentences that begin with the invitation of "Let's . . .," working their human power to bring themselves together with those other suns around whom the universe so recently revolved.

This is the work we're here to do: to make me into we, because otherwise it makes no sense. 

There are things, so many things, over which to disagree. It's hard enough learning how to do that without having to also overcome closed minds that reject the universal language of objective "scientific" truth in favor of illogical propaganda. The same is to be said for that set of moral values we must share if we're to make this democracy work, let alone our day-to-day lives: non-violence, equal opportunity, fairness, the values without which the promises of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness simply cannot be fulfilled.

It's true we attempt in school to transmit our "accumulated knowledge," but without also working diligently to transmit the "accumulated experience of social living," we risk creating sociopathic monsters, people rendered less than human by their inability to join us in our work of making me into we, instead seeking to exploit, to use up, to devour their fellow man in a dangerously misguided attempt to fill up that abyss that opens inside each of us when we stand all alone in the world. If we don't fill it with love, it becomes a vacuum for wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony.

When a boy and a girl and a tiger find themselves together and one of them says, "Let's go up there," and then they all pick up, still together, and go up there, sitting once more together I see the work of we being done and I don't worry about our world so much.

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1 comment:

Mike said...

This is so true Tom!
What a great post. I've been thinking a lot lately about how we teach (particularly older kids) social skills and why specifically teaching "we" is really important. I think my next few posts are going to concentrate on this idea regarding if social skills and teaching togetherness amongst older kids is still important (if not more) in our classrooms today. Thanks again!

- Mike