Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Real Education Is To Make People More Human

The excerpt below is taken from the website Praying Each Day, providing a daily reflection for use by educators in Lasallian schools.  Each day a story or historical reference is associated with the reflection or prayer for the day.  I cannot think of a better way to share this message than to simply include it, as is, on my blog. No matter if you are Lasallian or Jesuit, believe in Buddha or Jehovah, follow the Koran or Torah, the value of education is in making the world better for all people. 

May 31st

Let Us Remember, We Are in the Holy Presence of God.

In the 1980s, the Headteacher of a school in Boston in the United States wrote a letter to new teachers who joined the school each year. In her letter, she mentioned that she is a victim of a Nazi concentration camp. There she saw how some people had mis-used the good education they had received:
  • highly-qualified engineers had built gas chambers;
  • educated doctors experimented on children;
  • trained nurses killed babies;
  • some of those who did well at school and university then gassed men, women and children, and burned their bodies in huge ovens.
This headteacher said that she is suspicious of education because she has seen some highly-educated people behave in a most inhumane way. In her letter to new teachers she reminds them that real education is to make young people more human.

During the Second World War, Adolf Eichmann had been in charge of what was called “The Final Solution” of the Jews - the murder of all Jews throughout Europe. Eichmann escaped from Germany at the end of the War, and hid in Argentina until Israeli agents captured him in 1960 and took him to Israel. There he was placed on trial. Many people commented on how ordinary a person he looked - they had thought he would somehow look evil. He denied responsibility for what he had done, saying that he was only following orders. He was convicted of “Crimes against Humanity”, and was executed two days later on this day, 31st May, in 1962.

Let us pray:
God our Father,
I pray that I may live in such a way
that I choose wisely each day,
and take responsibility for the choices that I make. 
Inspire me to use for good my education
and all the challenges that I will face,
that I may grow more fully human,
and do good to those around me.  
Teach me to discern good from evil
that I may grow in integrity of character
and develop a true sense of values
through following Jesus, your Son and our Brother.

St. John Baptist de la Salle, Pray for Us.
Live Jesus in Our Hearts, Forever.

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