This week Awesome Stories brings you better teaching, preserving silence, miracle messages, and comfort cases.
In this article, Parker Palmer shares what he had learned as a teacher, educator and group facilitator. His core premise is that teachers need to bring their whole person to their teaching. In most education systems the personal is discouraged as somehow bad or interfering with the objective truth. I agree with Parker, that in fact bringing our whole person to the role adds a level of truth, learning and inspiration that is too often missing in our current educational programs. Additionally, he talks about the need for listening to our inner teacher as the best source of wisdom for both teaching and life. This is what he calls the heart of teaching. What about you? Would you rather have a teacher who brings their unique person to the role or strictly teaches the facts?
The Sounds of Silence
Silence is not the absence of something, but the presence of everything. ~ Gordon Hempton
I find this a beautiful definition of silence. Silence, especially in nature, fills me to the brim, flowing with aliveness. Gordon has been studying silence for years in the Northwest wonderland of the Olympic National Park. I visited there many years ago and was struck by both the lushness and the quiet. It is the largest temperate rainforest in the Western Hemisphere. Like myself, Gordon has a passion for nature and silence. As an acoustic ecologist, he is a champion of silence, asking us to protect areas from acoustic pollution in his project called One Square Inch of Silence. More and more, we have no spaces that we can be away from the lights and sounds of civilization. I yearn for those places and hope enough of us want to protect the precious areas like the Hoh Rainforest of the Olympic National Park where we can reconnect with nature, silence, and our souls. And I agree with Gordon that we protect what we love.
Kevin Adler started Miracle Messages to help bring more awareness to the challenges of living on the streets. Kevin’s compassion for the homeless grew from having an uncle who lived on the streets for many years due to challenges with schizophrenia. Kevin wanted to not only raise awareness but help the homeless be seen as more human; neighbors going through a tough time. They use technology to create video Miracle Messages from these people to facilitate reunions with lost family and friends. Lack of social support is often a more critical challenge than housing for people living on the streets. They are building a network of chapters around the country with volunteers to outreach, create videos, and facilitate reunions. If you want to help, you can find out if they have a chapter in your area.
Having experienced the pitfalls of foster care himself, Rob Scheer is an outspoken advocate for foster children and system reform. Disturbed by the prevalence of children carrying around their possessions in trash bags, Rob created Comfort Cases to make sure foster kids in the Washington DC area are provided with a backpack filled with both necessities and comfort items like teddy bears. Their charity went from providing about 300 kits in 2013 to donating 25,000 last year. The most touching part is Rob’s passion as a parent and advocate for foster children, as well as more inclusive ideas for what makes a family.
May your week be full of silence, support, and family. Blessings, Brad