… We need to embrace people of all faiths (or none) who share the desire to see this dreadful but demoniacally romantic idea of the terrorist martyr lose its hold on impressionable minds — usually, as ever, young minds. (As a teacher, again, I relate to that challenge and did whatever I could with the young Muslims I used to see daily from 9/11 through to 2005.) …
By engaging in conversation that treats people with respect you can learn so much! Now I am the first to admit that my achievement in this area varied greatly, but it was always the intention even if the desire to dogmatise or “play teacher” in a rather negative sense can also be strong. Over the years too I found that engaging with the students also involved engaging with their parents, and with the communities from which the parents came. One manifestation of this can be seen in my June post More on things I’m proud of….
Not just teachers of course. Jim Belshaw refers to something similar in his recent post Saturday Morning Musings – musings on three years of blogging.
I do not even know how to begin to describe the importance of the people. There have been different people at different times as their and my needs change. In all cases, they have forced me to change my views and given me new insights.
The other thing that prompts me is that it is my mother’s birthday today. She died in 1996 but would have been 98 today. Her father was a teacher, a city boy originally, but his many years in what were then remote rural communities shaped his vision of Australia and its people, and those insights, passed on to me, still stand in many ways. He was a master of listening, of talking to everyone, a great role model in that respect.