There is a deep vulnerability at the heart of education. Sometimes it looks like this:
A mother sits across from me sobbing, her shoulders heaving up and down as she surrenders to the anguish that she carries for her child. I move out from behind the barrier of my desk and sit beside her, offering a tissue.
It is splendid indeed that Time magazine made Pope Francis its “Person of the Year” for 2013. The Pope has captured the imagination of the world and has breathed new life into the Catholic Church.
Reflecting on the 1994 election of Nelson Mandela as the first black president of South Africa, American scholar Rob Nixon wrote: “Between 1964 and 1990 he was absented from the political present, yet remained a pre-eminent inhabitant of South Africa’s past and future. He lived on the cusp of time, embodying a people’s hope, yet monumentalized on a scale ordinarily reserved for the dead.”
Emptying the house I grew up in, after the passing of my mom, has been one of the most difficult, rewarding, surprising, touching and inspiring times of my life. It was so fitting that this emptying culminated in November, the month that starts with us remembering those who have died and ends on the eve of Advent.
Writing in The Death of Character, James Hunter argues that character is frequently associated with words like honour, reputation, integrity, manners, duty and even manhood. Character, he argues, is always associated with an explicitly moral standard of conduct oriented towards work, building, expanding, achieving and sacrifice on behalf of a larger good.
A few years ago I interviewed then Bloc Quebecois MP Francine LeBlanc. In 2010 she introduced a bill in Parliament to legalize euthanasia. At that time there didn’t seem a snowball’s chance in hell of it passing, but the introduction of the bill was at least a chance to talk about the issue.
In his Songs of Innocence William Blake wrote: “The strongest poison ever known / Comes from Caesar’s laurel crown.”
- By Ian Hunter