We each can make a difference

Bird Droppings October 15, 2009
We each can make a difference

“The purpose of Living Values: Educational Program is to provide guiding principles and tools for the development of the whole person, recognizing that the individual is comprised of physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual dimensions.” livingvalues.net

When I first read the lead line to this website it is too good to be true it was someone after my own heart, it’s not just about content but context as well although in public school spiritual needs to be a carefully handled word. I have been borrowing from John Dewey’s pedagogy and this is a similar line, looking at the whole person. I am always amazed at how life presents itself as well as today’s advisement topic is on giving back to the community. This is a bit of a twist from taking tests or vocabulary during most advisements.

“In confronting the many challenges that the future holds in store, humankind sees in education an indispensable asset in its attempt to attain the ideals of peace, freedom and social justice. The Commission does not see education as a miracle cure or a magic formula opening the door to a world in which all ideals will be attained, but as one of the principal means available to foster a deeper and more harmonious form of human development and thereby to reduce poverty, exclusion, ignorance, oppression and war.” Jacques Delors, Learning: The Treasure Within, UNESCO

ALIVE, the association for Living values Education International was founded by the Untied Nations about four years ago. As I read through the literature the concept of teaching values intrigued me. Is this maybe where we go wrong in public school focusing on content, on the curriculum, on page 1-500 only? Maybe this is where students lose the desire to learn being force fed piles of facts or does it happen elsewhere.

“The traditions of our people are handed down from father to son. The Chief is considered to be the most learned, and the leader of the tribe. The Doctor, however, is thought to have more inspiration. He is supposed to be in communion with spirits… He cures the sick by the laying of hands, and payers and incantations and heavenly songs. He infuses new life into the patient, and performs most wonderful feats of skill in his practice…. He clothes himself in the skins of young innocent animals, such as the fawn, and decorated himself with the plumage of harmless birds, such as the dove and hummingbird …” Sarah Winnemucca, Paiute

We learn much of who we are good or bad at home, several years ago I wrote a paper about “The Sixteen Hour Syndrome”. As a parent and teacher I saw students leave school and go home where any semblance of value and order was disavowed. Students were unlearning literally anything that had been taught. Teachers have eight hours of which transportation and breaks and lunch come out of so maybe six hours to try and instill values and information. Some could argue is school the place for values to be taught. It is a place and teaching is occurring so do what you can has been my own philosophy.

“All sciences are now under the obligation to prepare the ground for the future task of the philosopher, which is to solve the problem of value, to determine the true hierarchy of values.” Fredric Nietzsche

“You must look within for value, but must look beyond for perspective.” Denis Waitley

Students should bring some tattering of values to school but going back to September 11, 2001 which coincidentally was my first day back to teaching after a twenty three year break, a student informed me he was the first in four generations not to run moonshine. I recall many months ago on the history channel a show memorialized moonshiners as an integral part of our history and that we had to have them. This was while the host sampled various brews from around the country. If you are raised that moonshining, racism, bigotry, anti government and a good one today belittling women is appropriate and correct imagine the impact of those eight hours in school with a female teacher or a nonwhite teacher.
After battling with that type of student, teachers are weary and they are not just in the south but across the nation. So the issue becomes how we alter values.

“Try not to become a man of success but rather try to become a man of value.” Albert Einstein

“Although gold dust is precious, when it gets in your eyes it obstructs your vision.” Hsi-Tang

We all need to work together be it in parenting and in teaching and in working towards a world where we can eliminate the sixteen hour syndrome and children can learn to appreciate life and all that could be there for them. Please keep all in harms way on your mind and in your hearts.

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