There is an urgency of late in many people’s hearts and minds. There is an intuitive feeling that things need to change, and a kind of confusion about how to make change happen. In some there is a strong yearning to find a way to contribute effectively. In the United States we tend to frame our thoughts politically, as if some law or another might change things. In fact, the tendency is to think always of outward things, like law, to change behavior—our own and that of others.

    Take, for example, heart disease. This has been the number one killer in the United States for almost 70 years now. All the presidents’ councils on fitness, all the cholesterol mania, all the new drugs invented over these many decades, all the recommendations on walking, exercise, diet, and fads and fears about heart disease have not changed the statistics at all in our culture. It remains the number one killer, beating cancer and even automobile accidents.

    It could be that we are simply dying of broken hearts. The effects of what President Eisenhower named in his farewell address, “the military industrial complex,” the increasing practices of greed in our country that in 2008 almost destroyed the global economy, the ravaging of the earth to feed that greed, the increasing gap between the obscenely wealthy and the desperately poor as a result of the rapacious “normal” we call “business” and “progress,” are just plain heartbreaking.

    Our news reporting focuses now on overwhelming amounts of shocking, destructive, violent behavior, to the point that if too much good news is reported, we feel there must be something wrong or hidden. Anxiety disorders in children are now “normal.” School shootings with horrifying death tolls are a way of life in America. The trivializing of reports like these, often followed with lighthearted stories like, “Lip balm is  safe to share because it will not transfer germs!”, makes us inwardly confused and numb.

    Many report these broken-hearted feelings and a sense of powerlessness. Surely heart disease with its unchanging statistics has something to do with this increase in a powerless, “disheartened” feeling. Sayings such as “my heart failed within me” hold truth, express a reality. How is it possible to exclude this from the facts? Dr. Robert Stewart, a classical master homeopath for more than three decades, has studied this for many years and believes it is imperative to identify elements in modern life such as these feelings of despair, as major contributors to weakening the heart towards death by heart attack or heart failure.

    These symptoms of heartbreak and despair might be most profoundly apparent in the realm of education. Teachers are called to work in the world with children as their focus and inspiration. The vocation lifts people to try to help the world to a better future, one child at a time. To look into the eyes of children is to see into the future with all its hope and possibility.

    What happens to the hearts of teachers when they are treated like technicians, compelled to deliver what they are told, and pressured to perform as measured in children’s testing scores? What happens when all the daily miracles of breakthroughs large and small in one child or in many are overshadowed by report after report of “rubber rooms” and teacher incompetence? Heartbreak and discouragement.

    Not that incompetence should be ignored or left untended—not at all!  But on balance, daily life as a teacher, helping students and succeeding in many tangible ways, far outstrips the problem-teachers and the incompetence that can be found in any profession. Yet, reporting on successes seems uninteresting to those in our culture. The wonderful tales of progress, especially in arenas that can never be measured by testing, go unreported or unnoticed by the current bigger voices on education.

    Let us resolve together to build a new “rubric” of the heart. Let us resolve to cherish the headway—enormous and minuscule—that students make each day in school with the help of committed teachers. Let us resolve to tell those stories of success and to ignore the often-repeated tales of woe and ineffectiveness. From these practices, balance can be restored. We need not worry about unchecked teachers who should not be teaching. The whole culture is geared to be suspicious of the most trustworthy group of professionals we have: teachers. So this suspicion will ferret out the incompetents and run them out on a metaphorical rail!

    If we agree to follow only the light, hearts will rise, grow strong, and be more able to beat strongly in commitment to this profound vocation of teaching. In this way we might move the statistics in the right direction for less heart disease into our future, into the future that our children represent. We owe this to them: to see the good in the world, the good in each other, the good in children. Then the children, our future, will imitate this practice and see the good in all as well.

    This is not a recommendation to abandon all discernment, but it might be a call to abandon the darkness that has settled like a death cloak on the teaching profession and on the shoulders and around the hearts of our teachers. We can do this – and make hearts rise, hearts swell with happiness, hearts beat proudly, hearts overflow with gladness. This holds great promise for changing the stubborn statistics on heart disease. Healthy hearts, with confidence in the world. Now there’s a future worthy of our children!

 

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