Thursday, May 3, 2012

Teacher Applies Spiritual Disciplines

   A public school teacher decided to apply the Spiritual Disciplines in her first grade class, without imposing her religion on anyone.  Here's how the Disciplines worked out:

  Love, Compassion, and the Joy of Life: Every morning she greeted her class with, "Good morning, children.  Today is a new and wonderful day filled with wonderful possibilities.  The world has waited many years for this day, just as the world waited many years for you to be born.  And the world is happy that you are here to enjoy all its wonders.  Now let's all say together..."
   The children joined hands and said together with her, "We stretch our bodies to wake up to this wonderful day, we open our eyes to see, we open our minds to learn, and we open our hearts to love.  We will not say bad things to one another or hurt one another.  We will help one another and love one another."  Then, raising their clasped hands, they concluded, "And what would the world be like if everyone loved one another!"

Order:  Her classroom was neat and orderly.  She gently but firmly guided her children in 
   their journey from chaos to cosmos.
Justice and Respect:  She treated all her children equally, fairly and with respect.  She 
   respected the dignity, integrity and life-purpose of every child, and required that the 
   children respect one another's dignity and integrity, e.g., by having them say something 
   good about one another every day.  
Peace:  She taught her children to reach out to help one another, in studies, in recess, 
   etc. She encouraged Service to Others.
Silence and Solitude:  She always spoke softly and at times had her children be silent 
   for a few moments just to catch up to themselves and refresh their minds and spirits.
Faith:  She taught her children to believe in themselves as being good and able to learn,   
   and to believe in her as their trusted teacher  
Trust:  She created a clear sense of safety and belongingness in her classroom.
Hope:  She built true confidence in her children by building on their successes.
Freedom:  She permitted her children to express themselves and take responsibility for 
   their words and actions.
Creativity and Respect for Labor:  She encouraged her children to express new 
   thoughts and ideas, to ask questions and  permitted them to make creative mistakes that 
   did not harm them.  Then she gently corrected them and redirected them to a positive 
   expression of what they had mistakenly expressed.  She taught them to respect their 
   work and the work of others.
Humility:  She demonstrated by her teaching and actions that life in a gift and there is no 
   need to be a braggart or a bully.
Obedience:  She taught her children the importance of obedience to the truth.
Study:  She fostered good study habits in her children.
Wisdom:  She fostered their use of common sense, e.g., in handling problems
Simplicity:  She encouraged truthfulness, honesty, healthy spontaneity, kindness, 
   modesty, and mildness.
Meekness:  She helped her children develop a sense of calmness and good feelings toward their studies and their life in general.
Mourning:  She helped her children through downfalls, failures, hurts, in some cases the 
   loss of a pet, or even a parent. 
Perseverance: She taught her children patience, and fortitude. 
Confession and Forgiveness; Guidance and Counseling:  She encouraged her 
   children to tell her  their problems, and taught them to forgive one another for their 
   trespasses in class, at recess, etc. She offered appropriate counsel to them when they 
   brought personal problems to her, referring them to professionals and parents as 
   needed.  She listened compassionately to their study problems and offered solutions 
   they could handle.
Gratitude:  She fostered a lively sense of thanksgiving in her children for their family, 
   their education, their friends, their country, etc.

   Her class flourished socially and academically to the point where the Superintendent video taped her class and sent the tape to a teaching university as an example of a successful classroom. 

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