Monday, February 19, 2018

What would Presidents Washington and Lincoln have to say to us today?

It would be good to know why February 19 is a holiday and to ponder the sentiments of the leaders the day honors.  Presidents Day honors President Washington, whose birthday falls on February 22. The day is also believed to celebrate Abraham Lincoln, America’s 16th President who was born on February 16.

Though we don’t know what Presidents Washington and Lincoln might want to say to us today, we can look at several of their ideas and test them against the climate of today.

President Washington on truth and conscience
~ Labor to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire, called conscience.  
~ Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains to bring it to light.

President Lincoln on freedom and character  
~ America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.
~ Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The  shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.

For sure, to speak about truth and conscience, freedom and character will be a fruitful conversation

Sunday, February 18, 2018

A school curriculum that focuses on happiness… not math

A modern new school in rural India, expected to be completed by 2020,  turns the traditional education model on its head–focusing instead on cultivating happy students and compassionate people. The primary goal is  to teach chidden how to be happy. Learning skills comes next. Preparing for standardized tests is not part of the curriculum.

The founders come from an entrepreneurial background, not the world of education, and saw an opportunity to approach the idea of a school in a radically different way. The inspiration for the school came from a long running Harvard Study that has tracked people over the last 80 years, which found that strong relationships are key to a happy life.

“The students will also be taught how to live a happier life using philosophy from resources like the Vedas, ancient Hindu texts. “I think from a Western context, you tend to believe that the environment controls your happiness,” says cofounder Kiran Reddy. “So you attempt to control your environment. In an Eastern philosophy, you tend to believe that you control happiness through your mind–in how you perceive things, so you can disconnect the environment from your happiness. Ideally, that’s what we want to teach the kids.”