Tuesday, January 22, 2008

One hundred thousand smiles

From a post on Come to See. Notes from a discussion at the National Diakonia (New York, 1/08) between Father Julian Carron, Chris Bacich and teachers and educators:

Question: Should we choose texts according to our mentality, that is "Catholic" texts?

  • No! Then the novelty of what we've encountered doesn't enter, and we introduce duality. There is no literature that doesn't have to do with religion -- it engages the senses, Life, Beauty...
  • This method -- with this method, the curriculum is a way in which we recognize, people can recognize the newness.
  • There is no "Catholic" literature -- just literature.
  • We have a new way of facing everything -- even something that is wrong.
  • We don't have to face "Christian" topics. We have to face topics!
  • Because otherwise we bring through the door that which we just threw out the window. And we reintroduce dualism in the way we face the topic.

Question: The students I have are impossible to engage. Even after a semester, all but two of them are lying down with their heads on the desk, asleep. So, my question is about method...

  • Are you determined by this lack of success?
  • These circumstances are a provocation to our faith.
  • If we can't find a way to face this class with newness, it becomes our tomb.
  • Books don't complain or protest.
  • Do not be discouraged.
  • Too much attention to curriculum, methodology -- these things don't make us secure.
  • If we live something that allows us to be alive in our life -- this is the question. How can we help each other become alive? We belong to Christ because otherwise we are not alive.
  • How can we help ourselves to enter the topic we need to face in a way that can be interesting to us and our students? I need to be passionate about what I am doing or else dualism is within me. If I speak of Christ but life is just something I put up with? No! That's dualism. When I taught, I had to be myself during the hour of the lesson. Nobody could stop the students from speaking during lunch about what I had taught them in the hour before.
  • Education is a communication of oneself.
  • Just like for parents. The way you face reality. How we react, live our free time, use money -- these all become factors for education.
  • This is the victory -- education!
  • It's not a problem of communicating a discourse, but Life -- and nothing can impede us from communicating this -- even in prison we can communicate this -- even jail can be a different place if we have encountered Christ.

Question: What about students who seem to live inside a bubble and are ever more defensive against any adult who tries to make a proposal?

  • What charity is needed to overcome this resistance!We need charity to wait for something to happen.
  • How many smiles must a mother make to receive one smile in return? Maybe a thousand? This is not a mechanism!
  • So, if it's like that for an infant, before any damage, then we need one hundred times the smiles. Maybe a million times, maybe more! This is only possible if we are Christian. Only if we're so grateful, so moved by the tenderness of God for our humanity.
  • But if we get angry and quit smiling, we choose a new method -- rules, preaching, shouting.
  • What if a mother said, "A smile doesn't work, I'll yell or preach"?
  • Only if we're so happy we can be free from the results.
  • Education, care of others, it's a question of the Church, a work of the Church. Only someone who is so grateful, so free -- this is a verification of our faith.
  • Only because Christ became man -- he has a passion for our life -- there is no other reason.
  • Otherwise we complain because the results don't arrive.
  • We need to recognize that the difficulty is convenient for us, that the difficulty is there to help us to verify our faith.

1 comment:

Freder1ck said...

To be oneself in front of the students means to stop and confront them when they all fall asleep!