Month: September 2010

A Book of My Own by Melanie Walker

Recently I gathered my class of eleven third and fourth graders for our new “Tales” selection.  While I read aloud the first chapter of One Thousand and One Arabian Nights, I was aware of the familiar but ever new hush that fills the room when the listeners, one by one, enter their own “flow”- captivated, engaged.  Bodies relax, eyes meet with a knowing nod, a delicious aroma of camaraderie and shared joy seems to seep like a slithering genie over and around the schoolroom.  The phrase “reading assignment” conjures up and carries a hint of ‘outside-in’ obligation, while this sort of reading is nothing short of a gift. By the end of the morning’s selection, I realized that we did not know if the daughter would survive the morning.  But, our time for tales was over, and it was time to move to the next reading.  The children began to beg.  “Please keep reading.  You CANNOT stop here!” This is the scenario that teachers and parents dream about.  But the added gilding on this moment’s …

The Thaw by Lisa Cadora

Despite the fact that we live annus domini, “in the year(s) of our Lord”, those of us who call ourselves Christians continue to label ourselves and the world as “fallen”, viewing ourselves and the world with a suspicious and wary eye, lamenting and apologizing for our ever-prevalent sinful natures, and strategizing ways in which it can be tamped down, manipulated, rebuked, politically consensus-ed or will-powered away. How can this be? I think of C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia, in which one reads the phrase “the thaw has begun”. I think of Jesus’ parable of the leaven in the loaf, the treasure in the field, the wine in the wineskins. I think of a song from our Catechesis of the Good Shepherd atrium: “The Kingdom of God is neither yea here, nor yea there. The Kingdom is among us!” The signs are everywhere! Can’t you hear the “drip, drip, drip” of the Sunshine melting the ice? Yet we continue to identify so much more with the Fall of Man rather than with the Redemption of Man. …

Our Part in Teaching Special Needs Children by Tammy Glaser

“In proportion to the range of living relationships we put in his way, will he have wide and vital interests, fullness of joy in living. In proportion as he is made aware of the laws which rule every relationship, will his life be dutiful and serviceable: as he learns that no relation with persons or with things, animate or inanimate, can be maintained without strenuous effort, will he learn the laws of work and the joys of work. Our part is to remove obstructions and to give stimulus and guidance to the child who is trying to get into touch with the universe of things and thoughts which belongs to him.” (Pages 187-188 of School Education) Recently, I watched a movie about Dr. Temple Grandin, professor of animal science and designer of half the cattle chutes in the United States. This animal advocate dubbed herself an anthropologist on Mars because of her autism. While she could not speak until age four and has difficulty understanding people, she has revolutionized the ranching industry. In her handling …