I can’t help it. Here’s another On Being-episode that I so hope you will listen to. Krista Tippett in a conversation with Jean Vanier, an episode recorded in 2007 when he was 79 years old. Jean is the founder of L’Arche, just having celebrated it’s 50th anniversary, hence the re-broadcast of the interview. And I am grateful for that, since I might not have discovered this particular episode in the archives of On Being otherwise.
(But there’s a thought – how many other gem’s are hidden in the archives? I might just set my mind to listening through all of On Being, every episode produced…. now there’s a quest!)
Being very interested and involved in the school debate and the educational system, I found this bit especially interesting to listen to:
The balance of our world frequently is seen as a question of power. That if I have more power and more knowledge, more capacity, then I can do more. […] And when you have power, we can very quickly push people down. I’m the one that knows and you don’t know, and I’m strong and I’m powerful, I have the knowledge. And this is the history of humanity. And that is all of what I’d call the whole educational system, is that we must educate people to become capable and to take their place in society. That has value, obviously. But it’s not quite the same thing as to educate people to relate, to listen, to help people to become themselves.
There’s something to ponder, for me, and others, of whom I ask the question Why school? The reason for asking, for me, is to get people thinking about the society we create, through the whole educational system (as well as other structures, but for me, the educational system and family are the top two factors.), and if we are creating that which we want to see more of. Like Jean Vanier said, capable people taking a place in society is all fine and dandy. But then what? What else is needed/desired?
L’Arche, which centers on sharing the lives of people with intellectual disabilities, is new to me, as Jean Vanier is. I get intrigued, as I listen to what Jean speaks about, which is the thing I dream of. A world of people becoming themselves, relating and listening, sharing tenderness and love. A culture of welcoming. To and of all.
Fascinating to listen to the wisdom of tenderness this old gentleman has, towards life, all of it, regardless. And to hear him speak of growing older, and absolutely loving it. Witnessing the increasing frailty of his own body, being in total acceptance that his mind no longer can keep up as it used to, that his body demands an afternoon nap and so on. It’s just pure love. Magnificent.
What if…. I met the world from the wisdom of tenderness? What if…. we all did?