This is my first weekly note after the Infants Shakespeare Festival. I was so proud of the children and their brilliant performances. The plays were light, bright, charming and stood as exemplars of all that we hold dear the finest content delivered in a way that will inform the children’s character and stay with them for the rest of their lives.
Congratulations, of course, to parents and teachers as well.
This week we have been concentrating on the Golden Rule: do unto others as you would have them do unto you. And we have been considering a few very practical tips that Leon MacLaren and Shantananda Saraswati gave us.
The first one was: in order to be free of the judgments, criticisms, and requirements of others; we should endeavour to have none ourselves. So if we endeavour to meet people in an open and empathetic way, then any criticism or judgments that comes our way will have a reduced power to knock us off our perch. It doesn t mean we ignore the message, it just means we are less distracted by the oomph with which it is delivered.
The second tip, from Shantana Saraswati, is similar: He advised, in the face of harsh criticism, to digest the slander as if it had never happened, but take the message, because the Universe is trying to tell you something.
The third top tip is that those in charge should only ask those in their care to do the things they are willing and able to do themselves. Plato put it this way: A teacher should not admonish children, but should first live up to their own admonishments.
I used to find myself loudly telling the children to be quiet, until I took Plato’s dictum on board. Now I generally find it easier to become quiet myself and invite the children to join me.
Answer to last week’s puzzle: The Lost Ten Tribes were the Northern Tribes of Israel who were conquered by the Assyrians in 722 BC. They were taken away into exile and were never heard of again; presumably they assimilated into the peoples among whom they were taken to live. But some still believe that various people s, like the American Indians, are the Lost Ten Tribes.
This week’s question, still on a biblical theme: Who first said: Let judgment run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream. And which great man quoted it in a speech in the 20th Century?