Tag Archives: school

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 8

Thus does kindness propagate itself on all sides. Perhaps an act of kindness never dies, but extends the invisible undulations of its influence over the breadth of centuries.

“We can only plant the seeds. We never know how they will grow” It’s a common refrain in teaching, and I always kind of thought it was a cop-out. At times I feel like, quite frankly, such a failure as a teacher. Kids spend 180 days with me, and some of them seem none the better for it. It’s perhaps a useful guilt: it might spur teachers to become better at their job, to seek training and experiences that will increase their effectiveness.

Perhaps an act of kindness never dies

But saying, “We can only plant the seeds” seems somehow to alleviate that guilt. We plant the seeds; it’s up to the kids to tend the resulting crop.

Faber suggests otherwise: it’s not a cop-out. We can sow kindness and know, with some certainty, that it will grow into more kindness. We can know that we’ve had a positive impact on someone’s life. Perhaps it’s a good sign that we’re more willing to admit the opposite, or maybe it’s just another sign of our condition.

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

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Lent 2012: Day 5

the immense power of kindness in bringing out the good points of the characters of others

When I can lift myself above my wounded ego — “What?! How dare you be cruel or disrespectful to me, who is only trying to help you get an education!” — and respond thoughtfully and kindly, a change sometimes occurs, a softening, a reflective moment of calm.

A kind word or tone can transform conflicts into positive experiences. A simple kindness of offering to help a kid by holding books while he rummages through his locker can bring a smile where once there was anger.

Even if all is well in the student’s life at the moment, an act of kindness can echo into the future. Relationships are like bank accounts: we can make deposits through kindness that will give us a buffer against emotionally stressful withdrawals.

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

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