Tag Archives: at risk

Lent 2012: Day 30

There is always one bright thought in our minds, when all the rest are dark. There is one thought out of which a moderately cheerful man can always make some satisfactory sunshine, if not a sufficiency of it.

Sometimes, I wonder. Some of the students I work with on a daily basis seem to have few bright images in their minds. Life is a constant crisis for them: everything from someone bumping them in the hallway to a perceived injustice from a teacher sets them off. They wear a scowl on their faces most of the time, and life seems to be one big trial for them.

Faber, in the quote above, is speaking of the belief in a joyous afterlife, but sometimes I wonder about the usefulness of that hope for someone who’s already lost all hope for a happy life here and now, and all by the age of fourteen.

The quoted excerpt is from Father Frederick Faber’s Spiritual Conferences, excerpted here.

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Lent 2012: Day 4

Probably the majority of repentances have begun in the reception of acts of kindness, which, if not unexpected, touched men by the sense of their being so undeserved.

Reading Faber, I keep returning to thoughts of school and interactions with students. And I can’t deny that there are times, based on behavior of various students, that I find myself thinking that this or that student doesn’t deserve kindness. When someone is disrupting others, making it difficult to focus on the task at hand, focusing all her energies on getting everyone’s attention, she is attempting to take opportunities away from others. It’s a myth to think that students today aren’t interested in learning — the vast majority are, keenly so. But it only takes two or three in a classroom to derail the whole process, and an incorrigible student soon draws the ire of other students and the teacher.

It is precisely at those moments that I most decidedly don’t feel like being kind. It is in those situations that the temptation to cruelty is most acute. Responses come to mind that are so ineffably and cruelly inappropriate but at the same time seem so perfect. Yet a kind word can sometimes calm the whole situation, while cruelty will only debase everyone in the room. It’s the easy way out, which is why kindness can be so difficult.

The quoted excerpt is from Father Frederick Faber’s Spiritual Conferences, excerpted here.

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