Zoe's Quest: Understanding Forgiveness

Zoe is coming-of-age. She asks her Ethical community to contemplate with her one of the big human quests: FORGIVENESS.  Her advocate, Tasha,  and her mentor, Simba, sit at her sides, on a Sunday morning, May 24, 2015, as she puts the quest forth for reflection in the Memorial Day Colloquy.
Simba, Zoe, Tasha
In the fall, Zoe launched this Coming-of-Age quest through a Speed Deed workshop at the annual Ethical Education Retreat in Stoney Point.  She gathered fall leaves and invited participants to write (in mind or in sharpie) upon them, the names of people for whom forgiveness might be of value -- either from or toward.  Then, she asked that those leaves be released back to nature, in a "fall" gesture modeled by the trees themselves, letting go.

"Letting go" was a recurring theme in response to Zoe's spring colloquy too. Each person present was asked to reflect upon the meaning of forgiveness, via a "merry go around" in which each person gets a minute to "speak from the heart."  People reflected their ability to forgive others, or not to.  Many people reflected upon the very personal nature of forgiveness -- the way in which it is an experience to heal the self of personal grudges and wounds.  Twice, dialogue took place in small groups of two or three. Small powerful mind-shifting conversations seemed to take place around the room.  After the personal and interpersonal natures of forgiveness had been soothed by our opening go-around,  the consciousness of the group seemed to spiral up into higher plains.  More collective concerns. More historical.  More global.

Beyond: "how do I forgive my fellow human"...
lies, "how do I forgive history's harms?"
"How do I forgive natural disasters?"
"How do I forgive my own carbon footprint?"


Lois Kellerman!


As an Ethical Educator, I am always reinvigorating and reinventing and inventing ethics for children curricula.  Along the way, I meet inspiring Ethical Educators that enliven my palate of ethical hues. Some have been prolific in manifesting their ideas in sharable ways.  Here is Lois Kellerman.  I love this woman, and see her too rarely on the east coast.  But she has taught me so very much.   She has taught the Ethical Movement tons, in fact.  She is the writer of the Coming of Age Discovery Journal, which is such an amazing collection of thoughtful contemplations, exercises, readings.  She took great initiatives to concretize Felix Adler's vision into sharable mind-bites for young learners. She radiates intellect and passion for Ethical exploration.  I honor her.  


Happy DARWIN DAY! Feb. 12

web of life game

a visit from Darwin enacted a decade or so ago at NYSEC


Dreams for the Future

With inspiration from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. we gave dream speeches for the future we hope for.  

I have a dream that...

Everyone will eventually unite as one world -- no such thing as countries. There will be no revenge. All people will be helpful and inspired.
(Timothy, 12 years old)

One day --( because somewhere out there there are still a few slaves ) -- all  over the world everyone will have their own freedom.
(Lillian 7 years old)

Eve one will unite and make a world without segregation. Everyone will have what they need and everyone will be kind to each other.
(Mita, 10 years old)

Everybody will get to do anything they want to. And if any police kill black people, they will be arrested and have justice.
(David, 7 years old)


The ethics of HOMEMADE.
I grew up making cards and gifts.  I'd work so hard on these, before parties, as an adult, that I'd often get to a birthday party too late for all the activity, but just in time to let my homemade gift have it's debut.  The making was an open ended contemplation, often very creative and risky and full of utter surprise.  Making would always take far longer then expected.  The pressure made me very productive -- the pressure to arrive with a gift at least before the  end of a party.

It has been a stubborn and insistent decision that the plethora of funky, fun, wild, imaginative, artsy cards in stores shall not replace my value on the homemade.  So, as we sit to make "love sharings" for upcoming events like Valentine's Day (or the nearly coinciding DARWIN DAY), my Ethical students and I contemplate the VALUE of the HOMEMADE.

The most important vision or answer about this is impressively obvious to my Ethical students.  They say aptly that something homemade is unique, and thoughtful beyond the potential of something bought.  The expression by one person's homemade thought toward another  person is, by definition, utterly unique.  Unbuyable.  Priceless.

I like to make sure to take it even farther.  Use recycled materials. Create inner joy doing it. Contemplate creativley.  Then, honor it in its giving.


Teaching Civil Rights to Children

I call January:  JUSTICE JANUARY.  
The fresh slate of mind that the New Year offers sets up a strong context for study about hope and what Martin Luther King called a "dream."   I have taught about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in so many ways over the years and in so many diverse contexts -- and I have found it surprising, how powerful it is to do so, each time.  To me, the work we can do at this time of the year, thanks to the fact that American dedicated a holiday to this hero's birthday, is so deep and powerful in the mission of peace education, Ethical Education.  

This year, 2015, in the light of the BLACK LIVES MATTER movement it feels poignant, essential. My hope is that every school in the country takes pause in curriculum to educate about MLK and the Civil Rights Movement -- not just as history, but as a framework for understanding the ongoing mission of creating a safe and humane world.  MLK's teachings were so profound, and we have barely absorbed  or manifested them to their fullest potential.  

I ask my students to please look at a portrait of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and tell him where we are in helping his American "dream" come to full truth. I ask them to say and write dialogues with this hero, as well as other heros of history.  Then I ask them to look forth to the future of humanity and give their own personal "I have a dream" speech.  I ask my students to try to realize what a far-fetched unrealistic "dream" he had in his life, given the context of segregation -- how much courage and vision it took to insist that that dream comes true.

Visit my Ethical Body blog to sing the Rosa Parks story as THE WHEELS ON THE BUS.

I dedicate my teaching this year to my friendship with beloved Catherine Arline, who died this year, after a life of activism and organizing in Bed-Sty.


Ethical Song-A-Thon

A call to all Ethical Societies and Ethical Humanists 
to create a song with....
 the American Ethical Union's 
new Mission Statement!  

It's the greatest way to 
 a gorgeous new collection of words, 
so carefully selected to express Ethical Culture 
by the AEU Board of Directors .... 
visit AEU for your lyrics,  
and begin to memorize them 
and riff on them.  

When you've GOT IT....
Record yourself! 
Make your Debut (either virturally or LIVE)
at New York's Society for Ethical Culture's 
Winter Speed Deed in 2015!!!!
Sponsored by Ethics for Children and Teens
Date to be announced.