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Riane Eisler: SOAPBOX

Gwen Gawith: Energy to dance

Gwen Gawith: I'm healthy - I seldom get sick

Anna Lindroos: The School Food Programme Online

Neil Burton: Children’s Mental Health - Anxiety Disorders

Bill Richmind: It’s better living in New Zealand

Michalle Deegan: Learning Power

John Hellner: Humour is a survival kit

Lousie Champion: Wrestling with Web Safety

Gwen Gawith: ULTRAheppell

Gwen Gawith: Site Reviews

Gwen Gawith: Education video releases




This week another Kiwi child has been murdered by an adult caregiver; a group of adolescents has been forced to face the consequences of their drunken brutality; highly-paid professionals have been duped by a slick-talking counterfeiter; there have been two more school massacres overseas; more Israeli-Palestinian violence has begat yet more awful violence. Instead of asking ‘What is a good teacher?’ it seemed opportune to revisit the question ‘Why teach?’ This excerpt from Riane Eisler’s book Tomorrow’s children captured, without cant or cliche, the essence of why many of us became teachers. Worth a thought...

"At the core of every child is an intact human. Children have an enormous capacity for love, joy, creativity, and caring. Children have a voracious curiosity, a hunger for understanding and meaning. Children also have an acute inborn sense of fairness and unfairness. Above all, children yearn for love and validation and, given half a chance, are able to give them bountifully in return.

"In today’s world of lightning-speed technological, economic, and social flux, the development of these capacities is more crucial than ever before. Children need to understand and appreciate our natural habitat, our Mother Earth. They need to develop their innate capacity for love and friendship, for caring and caretaking, for creativity, for sensitivity to their own real needs and those of others.

"In a time when the mass media are children’s first teachers about the larger world, when children in the the United States spend more time watching television than in any other activity, children also need to understand that much of what they see in television shows, films, and video games is counterfeit. They need to understand that violence only begets violence and solves nothing, that obtaining material goods, while necessary for living, is not a worthy end in itself no matter how many commercial messages to the contrary. They need to know that suffering is real, that hurting people has terrible, often life-long, consequences not matter how many cartoons and video games make mayhem and brutality seem normal, exiting, and even funny. They need to distinguish between being hyped up and feeling real joy, between frantic fun and real pleasure, between healthy questioning and indifference or cynicism.

"If today’s children are to find faith that’s grounded in reality, they need a new vision of human nature and our place in the unfolding drama of life on this Earth. If they are to retain their essential humanity, they need to hold fast to their dreams, rather than give in to the cynicism and me-firstism that is today often considered "cool." They need all this for themselves, but they also need it for their children, lest they raise another generation X, a generation struggling in this uncertain time to find identity and purpose and all too often becoming lost.

"One of the greatest and most urgent challenges facing today’s children relates to how they will nurture and educate tomorrow’s children. Therein lies the real hope for our world."

EISLER, Riane (2000). Tomorrow’s children: A blueprint for partnership education in the 21st Century. Boulder, COL: Westview Press. ISBN 0-8133-6569-4 (pbk)