Weekly Newsletter from Christian Vegetarian Association CVA - September 29, 2021
From Christian Vegetarian Association (CVA)

  1. Preparing Children to Become Solutionaries
  2. All-Creatures.Org Ministry
  3. The Sept.-Oct. Issue of “The Peaceable Table” Is Now Online

1. Preparing Children to Become Solutionaries

Last week, I started to discuss the importance of an educated populace. This is crucial if people are to select representatives wisely in a democratic republic such as the United States. Also, education can help us appreciate and enjoy our rich and varied cultural traditions, which can then inspire us to collective action to protect, preserve, and expand upon these traditions.

I posted some of Zoe Weil’s thoughts about a “solutionary” approach to education, because I think it offers a path toward fuller, more gratifying, and more socially responsible living. Education today largely focuses on core skills like math and writing and memorization of facts. As teachers are rewarded or punished by the performance of their students on standardized tests, critical thinking and creative problem solving have taken a back seat. However, in a global marketplace, and particularly in a world where artificial intelligence is making many lower-skill jobs obsolete, critical thinking and creative problem-solving will become necessary for gainful employment. Further, they are essential in effectively navigating one’s way in a complex world in which people must make crucial social, technological, health, political, and other decisions.

Children are naturally curious and remarkably intelligent. They enjoy exploring and learning, and solutionary teaching capitalizes on these attributes. It teaches values such as compassion and kindness, encourages students to consider how the decisions they and their society impact other humans, nonhumans, and the earth. Then, it challenges students to explore areas of interest, identify problems, and offer solutions.

Contemporary education, in contrast, rewards those children who can sit still for hours and passively receive massive amounts of information. Such inactivity is not natural for most human children, and I think there has been massive overuse of brain-altering medications prescribed to change the behavior of naturally active children diagnosed with “attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.”

Next, I will offer thoughts on what I think our education system should look like. I think there are good reasons to hope that this educational project could be an effective way to address the massive violence toward humans and nonhumans, as well as preserve the cultural heritage many of us value deeply.

A few of the books that have helped inform me on this topic:

  • Gatto, John Taylor. Weapons of Mass Instruction
  • Kozol, Jonathan. Letters to a Young Teacher
  • Weil, Zoe. The World Becomes What We Teach: Educating a Generation of Solutionaries

As always, comments – pro and con – are welcomed. They should not exceed 400 words and reprint is this newsletter is not guaranteed.

Stephen R. Kaufman, M.D.

2. From All-Creatures.Org Ministry

Here are our recent All-Creatures Newsletter, which we hope you like and share with others to help stop the exploitation and killing of animals.

3. The Sept.-Oct. Issue of “The Peaceable Table” Is Now Online

Contents include:

  • The Glimpse of the Peaceable Kingdom shows two photos of a Bangladeshi boy rescuing a tiny fawn from a flood that was over his head in places.
  • "Original Sin--Against Animals?" the Editor's Corner Essay, deals with three forms of original sin, one of which is against animals.
  • Quaker suffragist Alice Paul, a major leader of the women's rights movement in the US, became a vegetarian shortly after the Nineteenth Amendment, giving women the right to vote, was passed in 1920, thanks to her and others' leadership. She then proposed and worked toward the Equal Rights Amendment, which now, more than one hundred years later, has yet to pass!
  • The Book Review features How to Speak Chicken by Melissa Caughey. It describes her experience of keeping backyard chickens, and what she learned in the process--a strong sympathy for the birds, understanding of many of their means of communication, and ability to use it. It doesn't deal directly with eating chickens or eggs, but leaves the reader quite unable to do so.
  • The Recipe selection, for a delicious vegan chocolate cake, is sure to lead to a hit for every vegan cook who occasionally indulges in sweet treats.
  • Some readers may recognize the Poem "Departmental" by Robert Frost, also taken from an earlier issue. It is one of the most delightful and skillful poems I have ever read. To read (or read in) this issue, go to http://vegetarianfriends.net/issue167.html.
Toward the Peaceable Kingdom,
Gracia Fay Ellwood, Editor

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