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Parkland Is a School! How About Considering Character Education?


How much do we know about the radical impact of human character on peace and the quality and safety of our children’s education????

The answer has direct relations to how much money we are willing to invest in character education!!!

On the anniversary of school shooting we read so many headlines such as:

To the Parkland Parents: I Lost My Son at Sandy Hook. Here’s Some Advice for this Painful Anniversary

We mourn the loss, we cry the pains, and we are nowhere near the answer! We brace ourselves for the next shoe to drop and whose dear child fall with it on the ground! The students talk about the increasing presence of so called “SECURITY”!! The word security has become synonymous with living in barracks! We put every one in prison to warrant their they are safe!! ! We are the proverbial frog sitting in the already boiling pan, but unfortunately we do not register the ultimate suffocating danger and the ever present call to fight or flight. We are frozen with fear and anxiety in our tracks. Students talk about being paranoid, and being hypervigilant!! In our search for solutions we have a tunnel vision of guns vs life! Wow!!

In the meantime schools are no longer a peaceful refuge for learning. Our children wake up each morning to have an experience more akin to a battlefield that is called a school ground!

 

When it comes to human character, we got a long ways to go just by looking at the curriculum of our schools and the remedies we choose! How many of our schools have even one course on the nature, the importance, and the effect of human character on others, on our social order, on global peace, or on our environment?

In the following list of 10 things for peacemaking program by a religious group in an educational organization, character has no place!!

A list of 10 things Presbyterians can do to prevent gun violence, from the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program:

  • Contact your representatives in the U.S. Congress and ask that they support:
    1. universal background checks and waiting periods for all gun purchases.
    2. a ban on semiautomatic assault weapons, armor piercing handgun ammunition and .50 caliber sniper rifles.
  • Identify the organizations in your community engaged in gun violence prevention and get involved.
  • Attend a peaceful demonstration or public prayer service to end gun violence.
  • Contact your mayor and city council members and demand that steps be taken in your community to prevent gun violence.
  • Help close the gun show loophole that allows purchases with no background checks.
  • Schedule a screening of “Trigger: The Ripple Effect of Gun Violence for your group or organization. Visit the  PDA website to order materials and get suggestions on hosting a screening.
  • Join or form a local chapter of “Heeding God’s Call,” a faith-based movement to end gun violence. Visit http://www.heedinggodscall.org/ for more information.
  • Ask the leaders of your worshiping community to address gun violence in worship services (with periodic preaching, liturgies and prayers) and education classes. Resources can be found at pcusa.org/gunviolence
  • Learn about your state’s concealed carry laws (that may allow guns to be carried openly, including into houses of worship). Encourage your places of work and worship to prominently display signs that prohibit carrying guns onto their property.
  • Encourage those you know (citizens, hunters and law enforcement officials) who regularly handle weapons properly to be wise examples in reducing risks and teaching how to prevent the misuse of deadly force.

Every presentation on human brain these days, is fixated on the material reality of human experience and what to do to make our brain healthy, functional and sharp. But no one seems to care about what is the main purpose of having a brain or sharpening our brain or asking for long living human brain!

I have heard some people claiming we are spiritual beings having a material experience! Some carefully whisper that this life is a workshop in preparation for the next! in the meantime there is no argument that we all shall die and every time we attend a funeral we are faced with the existential question of what is the purpose of our one more day of life?

The Baha’i Writings have an ocean of wisdom on the significance of human character and its effect on the social order, the quality of our life, and  emotional and spiritual nature of our experience.

The transforming story of Palomares Spiritual Empowerment Program is a witness to the importance of teaching oneness of humanity in the school curriculum at large.

Question of character education? 

When does it start? Before or right after conception the mother and father must reflect and get ready for the job of shaping the character of their offspring.

Who is responsible? Manifestations of God, Parents, extended family, educators, the community, media, government, athletes,  and the rest of humanity.

The mystery of the two selves: We all have the capacity to be Darth Vader or Luke Sky Walker. “Every child is the light of the world or its darkness.”

How long we need to teach it? Character development is a lifelong endeavor and quest.

The following statement from the Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha must have been written in early 1900s. It deserves to be studied, reflected upon and considered in designing school curriculums.

The most vital duty, in this day, is to purify your characters, to correct your manners, and improve your conduct. The beloved of the Merciful must show forth such character and conduct among His creatures, that the fragrance of their holiness may be shed upon the whole world, and may quicken the dead, inasmuch as the purpose of the Manifestation of God and the dawning of the limitless lights of the Invisible is to educate the souls of men, and refine the character of every living man—so that blessed individuals, who have freed themselves from the murk of the animal world, shall rise up with those qualities which are the adornings of the reality of man. The purpose is that earthlings should turn into the people of Heaven, and those who walk in darkness should come into the light, and those who are excluded should join the inner circle of the Kingdom, and those who are as nothing should become intimates of the everlasting Glory. It is that the portionless should gain their share of the boundless sea, and the ignorant drink their fill from the living fount of knowledge; that those who thirst for blood should forsake their savagery, and those who are barbed of claw should turn gentle and forbearing, and those who love war should seek instead for true conciliation; it is that the brutal, their talons razor-sharp, should enjoy the benefits of lasting peace; that the foul should learn that there is a realm of purity, and the tainted find their way to the rivers of holiness.

(Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá)

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