Most of us speak longingly of peace, compassion, justice, simplicity, connection, harmony, as if they are nostalgic, fuzzy remembrances from a distant past, or lovely, sparkly gems that will always be just out of reach. We speak as if we’re hopeful of something different, but are resigned to the path of destruction and emptiness our civilization continues to wend.
That’s why humane education is so powerful.
Humane education encourages living with compassion and respect for all beings, and helps provide the tools for doing so. It brings awareness to important issues that affect us all and emphasizes our interconnectedness; it fosters critical thinking and creativity; it offers positive alternatives for living with integrity and compassion; it empowers us to clarify our values and to make choices that are more in line with them, as well as to join our voices together with others to speak out and act for a more sustainable, compassionate world. Humane education also respects the journey of transformation that everyone undergoes; encouraging people to rejoice in the small positive changes and to make the journey at their own pace.
Humane education helps people with divergent views find common ground. It fosters and celebrates connection and diversity. It emphasizes the importance of engaging different strengths and strategies to build a better world. It instills a desire to interact with others with an open and loving heart, with patience, with sincere listening and a desire to understand, and with a recognition that we are all more than just the pieces of us with which people might disagree.
Humane education reveals to us the enormity of our power: the power of our choices. As Frances Moore Lappe' says, “Every choice we make can be a celebration of the world we want.” Every choice says Yes! to something and No! to something else. We, individually and collectively, decide with our choices, what kind of world we’re going to nurture and support. As Robert Kennedy said,
“It is from the numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a person stands up for an idea, or strikes against an injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope; and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression.”Journalist and peace activist Colman McCarthy said, “Think about the kind of world you want to live and work in. What do you need to build that world? Demand that your teachers teach you that.” Most of us want the same kind of world: happy, healthy families, a meaningful life & work, connection to something larger than ourselves, a healthy, sustainable planet, to know that we’ve made a positive difference. We can learn to achieve that, and we can help others; humane education is the catalyst and the conduit that leads the way.
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