Education of the Heart
In many communities, schools are floundering. Student test scores have become the Holy Grail. Teachers are stressed, the educational process is fraught with tension, and there is little time for learning about ideas and ways of being with answers that don’t fit neatly into a scored test. For those who haven’t been in school lately, teaching, that great art form that integrated it all, has radically changed. And in this climate of not enough time, must be tested on specific data, how does larger learning take place? How do we grow students’ hearts, their capacities to care more, to include other people, other races, other ways of being? Television is not doing it. The messages from popular media are commercialized agendas.
Learning takes place everywhere, in the home, on the streets, in churches, clubs, and community groups. But what if there’s deep trouble in the home? What if there is no home? What about those who live on anger-filled streets, in neighborhoods where worn adults are beaten down, tired, afraid? Where then does the next generation learn to value itself, to respect other people, to believe in their dreams? It is critically important to individuals and to our society to find ways and places to discover and practice this vital heart learning before years go by and all the potential for an empowered, loving life slips away.
Attendance in mainstream churches is declining all across America while personal spirituality is rising. The separation of church and state has great value but there are many ways to educate the heart outside of religious institutions. HeartMath, for example, is teaching the principles of focusing on love. The positive psychology movement is making great inroads in graduate education. The Scouting movement is active and recruiting. There is so much to be done. In what other ways can people of wisdom pass valuable life lessons on and help educate the heart while life is still young?