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Readings for Reflection: September 2007
from the Committee on Ministry and Counsel

Teaching with Respect and without Limitations

We seek to affirm in each child at school, each member of the meeting, each person we meet in our daily lives, the person that he or she may with God's help grow to be. We are all the merest infants in God's world, struggling to stand upright and walk unaided, trying in vain to articulate our halting thoughts and feelings. We stumble and fall. We give way to self-pity and shame. God hauls us to our feet again and makes sense of our childish babble, never ceasing to believe in what we may ultimately become. Do we do the same for our children and one another? We have a responsibility to follow Pierre Ceresole's dictum: "Speak to every child as if you were addressing the utterly truthful upright individual which under your guidance he may one day become." Our Quaker witness demands of us that "we respect children very much more than they respect themselves."

When we find ourselves teaching – as we all do in our relationships within meeting – can we draw upon that respect for one another and faith in one another's potential that will enable the other to feel taller and more capable? At Rufus Jones's memorial meeting one of his students simply said: "He lit my candle." That is a high aim for us all to aspire to in educating ourselves and our young people.

Barbara Windle, 1988 (from Britain Yearly Meeting Faith & Practice, 23.78). Barbara Windle has served for many years as Head of The Mount Friends Girls School in York, England.


The second selection for the September “Readings for Reflection” is an excerpt from Kat Griffith’s “Thought on Our Words, Our Silence, and a Very Cool Milk Jug Raft,” Friends Journal, July 2007, pp. 8-11 (C2007 Friends Publishing Corporation.  Reprinted in our newsletter with permission. www.friendsjournal.org). The excerpt comprised the last paragraph on p. 9, starting “I think many unprogrammed Friends are uncomfortable with literal, concrete terms of faith …” and part of the following paragraph, concluding at “then it is our faith this is limited, not the kids!” We recommend the entire article.

All Readings for Reflection
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