Tuesday, 8 December 2015

On Friendship

For GA and AK, for being here and there at the same time.

Self-proclaimed third culture adult that i am, i ponder often on the issues of loss, identity and direction. But what i miss most on rainy days are my friends. And i am not sure where they are.
I have to ponder these questions often. They take different shapes and forms when i consider them in different contexts, in fluctuating landscapes.

From the displaced person's point of view, friendship has existentialist associations that strive to create a meaningful connection. Who am i without my companions? And where could i be going?

From an educator's point of view, is friendship an item on the agenda of moral education? And should we be talking about moral education? I think we should. I think the reason why teachers have not been replaced by robots, the reason why schools and educational communities still exist is because they are loci of moral education. Perceptions of and insights into the 'other' as well as self-awareness of a self-realizing kind can only arise from a moral education that is enmeshed with understanding of the world and of its predicament.

From an international educator's point of view, moral education is a minefield of diversity, lending itself to relativism, this quagmire of 'subjectivity' and self-absorption. Sometimes i cringe when students say "well, it depends on the individual". As a parental figure, i see the dangers in that statement. As an international educator, i see this statement as a question, a question about our values and our selves as individuals responsible for this life, this world that we inhabit. If i were to preach one value to my students, that would be friendship, with a reference to Cicero's writings that "in friendship there is nothing feigned, nothing pretended, and whatever there is in it is both genuine and spontaneous. Friendship, therefore, springs from nature rather than from need, -- from an inclination of the mind with a certain consciousness of love rather than from calculation of the benefit to be derived from it."

There is hope for each of us as individuals and there is hope for the world if we believe that we are indeed inclined with a certain consciousness of love.

I want to go to school tomorrow and meet my friends, other individuals inclined with a certain consciousness of love. I will share with other individuals inclined with a certain consciousness of love. And i will make sure that although i will be talking about Caryl Churchill's Top Girls i will find an opportunity to tell my students that they are individuals inclined with a certain consciousness of love. And this is moral education with a little help from my friends.