Query 6: Education (Response for 6th month, 2012)

Friends brought up ideas on how we approach these corporate responses.  Do these minuted responses need to be brought before Friends at worship during meeting for worship with attention to business? Do we strive to incorporate all individual responses and synthesize them, or do we seek a sense of our “meeting” on the queries?

1. How can we most effectively foster a spirit of inquiry and loving and understanding attitude toward life?

The spirit of inquiry in the Godly Play practice is helpful to our children and to us as we cultivate the spirit of inquiry and loving and understanding attitude. In a broader context, we have experienced the patience of Friends, efforts to be humble, and efforts to listen that help to foster an atmosphere of acceptance, of inquiry, and of love.  As one Friend put it, “Nobody acts like they have *the* answer when we’re thinking of something together and working out a problem.” We especially appreciate when in MWAB the clerk draws out Friends who have not spoken, encouraging all to share.

 

2. What efforts are we making to become better acquainted with the Bible, the teachings of Jesus, our Judeo-Christian heritage, the history and principles of Friends, and the contributions of other religions and philosophies to our spiritual heritage?

Some Friends perceive that at times we have done little to acquaint ourselves with the Bible and Quaker tradition. Yet together we realize that earlier this as a worship group we investigated and discussed such matters as covenant community, eldering, and others; and some of us have gathered to explore prayer, and in that exploration have explored Quaker and biblical sources. Our minute of who we believe ourselves to be references looking to Quaker tradition.  At different times we have considered doing something with scripture, and we’re hopeful that in our working together, becoming a part of IYMC we will deepen our familiarity and practice of such study and thought.

 

3. In what ways can we consider an educational process that is consistent with the values Friends cherish?

The education within the group does not only take place within First Day School, an openness that we appreciate.  We have had some rewarding adult education on occasions, in particular our retreats, and we like the idea of pursuing this on a more consistent basis. We recognize this may be done through our sometimes-meetings to share our spiritual journeys or concerns, or that it may be done in other ways. Friends’ commitments outside of the worship group, weather, perhaps other factors have impacted consistency and opportunity for such. Because of Friends’ various backgrounds, interests and we have resources.  We can build on these resources. We can remember things we have benefited from and been encouraged by in the past. And we can build on these.

 

4. How do gender based expectations affect the goals we set and the way we learn?

Friends appreciate an openness and sharing about gender issues, gender and education, and expression of gender within the worship group. Some Friends feel as though gender expectations do not affect our goals.  Many parents in our group have goals for their children that the children do not feel constrained by older or more restrictive perspectives and normative beliefs about gender and sexuality. We do not deny that gender expectations (or other expectations) affect us or our interactions. We are grateful that by God’s grace we can “trouble” such expectations without undue attention to them.

 

5. Do we take an active and supportive interest in schools, libraries and other educational resources in our communities and elsewhere?

Several Friends speak of individual and family participation in such dynamics, including issues of inequality and injustice in education. Some family’s have been involved in various ways with local Quaker schools.  However we as a group are not so engaged. We wonder how we may bring such participation or wondering into our First Day School and adult education.

 

6. How do we prepare ourselves and our children to play active roles in a changing world?

We can prepare by realizing that the Other is like us, a child of God, and by learning to practice the outworking of that realization. We, young and old alike, need the alternative perspectives, values, and expectations for what is really needed in our world, and we find some of that in our group. The love, the acceptance, the character of the practice of our corporate life makes playing healthy active roles in our world easier for  us as individuals and as families. In addition to what goes on in Godly Play/First Day School, we appreciate the way in which parents in our group bring their children into discussion and action on these matters. We want to do more with words and deeds together with our children.

 

 (Brad, recorder)