Thursday, September 10, 2009

Principles and Practices--

Earlham College-- 4 years in an environment that shaped my being-- one of great respect for each person, one of classlessness, one of listening--

One of my first posts shared my story of finding the power of silence in knowledge construction at Earlham--

Thinking even more about Earlham lately, its influence on my worldview and my being, even some 40 years hence—

A worldview that compelled my last post--- listening, civil discourse, and moving away from “us and them” –

And today in the US mail a letter from the college president that spoke to the college community’s principles and practice, “a document that does not make detailed prescriptions about what people should say or do but rather helps them learn about how to speak and act responsibly in a community in which we accord unreserved respect to each individual.

I’m wondering if the Principles and Practices of this community can’t be helpful in guiding our country’s leaders, families, teachers and children as we strive to move forward.

In an introductory section, the use of the word “we” is discussed:

“We recognize that this is not a homogenous “we.” …We are a changing group of diverse persons, bringing to this institution a variety of racial, ethnic, sexual, and other identities, as well as a great range of personal and cultural values, experiences, and perspectives. We welcome this diversity, and the strength and transformations it makes possible.”

The principles, their practice and queries:

I’m wondering again what our nation and our schools might look and sound like were the principles of respect for persons, integrity and consensus governance to underlie all our actions.

Me--- I’m going to return to this post, to the principles, practices and queries, to check myself when the wars of words rage, and emotions and vitriol run rampant—and attempt to live a better life that in some small way may help to make this world a better place. Join me??

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