Mandela – Passing on the Lessons

Mandela

It is arduous to articulate the legend, Nelson Mandela, in a little blog, but my weakness with words should not discourage the attempt. At the very least, I will respectfully contemplate and share his wisdom to gain some of my own. The prisoner turned president educates past and present pupils with uplifting lessons on humanity. When enemies attempted to silence his words by lawfully forbidding his image or speeches from the people who he served, they in turn gave greater influence and meaning to the truth he refused to tolerate. The power of words were never lost on South Africa or Mandela who savored every thought and gave even greater reflection upon spoken words while imprisoned. Today, his words are applied to teach people all over the world not only the incredible history changing events in South Africa, but on courage, struggle, independence, education and character. Parents and educators, we can celebrate his life with our children, teaching them the example of a man who made sacrificial choices that freed a nation and influenced millions of people. He had reasons to be bitter and seek revenge for the atrocities that were handed to him and his family. Yet, his 27 year incarceration brought about a wisdom that knew forgiveness was just and reconciliation was healing. Contemplate the quote below with your students and children. Ask them about their thoughts on these wise words. It is with respect and honor we give tribute to Nelson Mandela by passing on his lessons.

“I knew as well as I knew anything that the oppressor must be liberated just as surely as the oppressed. A man who takes away another man’s freedom is a prisoner of hatred; he is locked behind the bars of prejudice and narrow-mindedness. I am not truly free if I am taking away someone else’s freedom, just as sure as I am not free when my humanity is taken from me. The oppressed and the oppressor alike are robbed of their humanity.” The Long Walk to Freedom, 1994

~Sammy @TURNING STONEchoice
For more information on TURNING STONEchoice and its process, visit http://www.turningstonechoice.com
Written works by Nelson Mandela
Long Walk to Freedom
Conversations with Myself
Notes to the Future

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Sibling Insult – In the Class and Home

Scan5_0005Admit it, parents and teachers. There are times your children/students get on your nerves. Typically, it’s not them as the wonderful unique individuals that they are. It’s the family dynamic, when they too, are getting on each other’s nerves. If you think for one moment a class isn’t filled with 15+ brothers and sisters then you are mistaken! Many teachers refer to their classrooms as, Mrs. Smith’s Family Class, or Room 2B Family, and they do so with the specific intent to create community. Yet, family dynamics can be a bit challenging. Think about your own lovely family.
My boys have been dishing out the insults and petty physical annoyances left and right, lately. It is driving me crazy! As a general rule, I like to maintain a level of kind words and civility in my home. I’ve been told; it’s not possible with three boys. It may be my ignorance to sibling-rivalry. I never grew up with siblings. But, I’m not comfortable with letting my children treat each other less than kind, because they share the same roof, that’s just not logical. Nor, does a teacher, let unkindness go unchecked, when attempting to keep respect and integrity in the family-classroom.
It can be exhausting policing this behavior and constant monitoring is not the goal. When everything is said and done, I don’t want to censor everything that is spoken. I want to build the skills that develop understanding in the power of choosing words thoughtfully, and that your brother at home or your brother in the classroom is more than someone you can insult and physically pester. Recently, I changed my approach, “Do not speak to my son that way.” I quickly informed my other son, Joseph* as he proceeded to call his younger brother,” stupid.” That word, being the one word, I can truly say makes me hot! The offender was speechless. He was just informed that his brother also belongs to someone else; sometimes we forget we are all connected. In that moment, I realized, I would not let a stranger or even a family friend speak unkindly to my boys, why should it be acceptable for them as family members?
Maybe this is a vain battle on my part and I know living with and going to school with the same people day in and day out will present its general irritations and conflicts, but, my hope is twenty years from now, my boys can share a holiday meal together and enjoy pleasant, ridiculously-funny, memories of how they lived with each other, not memories filled with residual pain from hurtful words that were allowed to freely roam the halls of their home or school.

*Alias

For more information on TURNING STONEchoice and its process, visit http://www.turningstonechoice.com
~Sammy @TURNING STONEchoice