An Exploration of Sacred Parenting and Education

How are we going to use this space?

In Uncategorized on January 12, 2012 at 11:01 pm

Dear friends,

I have been working away for the past week or so at the recommendation of a friend to keep writing in this space as it just might help to get others involved. I was also told by an experienced blogger that a post a day is needed to get a blog up and running. I don’t intend to use this space for my personal blogging alone.  How would you like to use this space? One senior dervesh suggested we can develop a spiritual curriculum here. Any other suggestions?

One doesn’t need to be a scholar to contribute. Even writing a paragraph may help. If not a paragraph then even a sentence containing some wisdom or sincerity may be better than a thousand that are empty of it. “You don’t have to be brilliant, or equipped with scholarly information, or a paragon of virtue. So send a message, share your truth (different from mere opinions), smile, or at least wave as you go by. . . We might see you.” Kabir Dede from e-course on The Wisdom of Muhammed

I pray the intention and need through which this blog was created finds it fulfillment. I hope I’ve been sincere (mukhlis) in my writing and not deluded in my efforts. I would also like to thank those who have contributed through their comments.

Fi aman Allah

Saqib

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  1. Your question about how to use the blogging space is an important one, and I am sure it would be best served by trying to develop the kind of curriculum you envisage. In other words, it could be an excellent forum for developing something systematic based on spiritual principles, as well as a space for spontaneous insights, personal experiences and the like, interesting and valuable as those are too. The problem with many ‘alternative’ curricula is that they can crystallize into ideological systems in their own right, replete with personality-worship, cult status, specialized jargon and bizarre practices, so it is important to build in some correctives to such tendencies. One way to do this is to remain strongly focused on the human dimension of the curriculum. After all, it is the humanities and the arts, as well as the spiritual dimension, which are at such risk in modern schooling systems. This is one of the points I was trying to make in my recent posting which emphasized the importance of great literature (and your post on Martin Lings also referred to his work in bringing to light Shakespeare as sacred art).

    Children also need that immersion in what it means to be a fully human being, and it is important not to separate ‘spiritual principles’ from humanity, otherwise they can become too rarified and inaccessible, even ‘precious’ in a negative sense. Children often approach spirituality not through religiosity but through developing creative imagination, symbolic understanding and mythic awareness which is entirely natural to them (though it is generally overlaid as they traverse the colourless and one-dimensional landscape of modern education). The psycho-spiritual capacities developed in this way have a close connection to the higher faculties within the Heart.

    Something I have written on the dimensions of the curriculum which need restoring is currently about to go to the printers and I can share this with you as soon as it is published. It also emphasizes the importance of community service as an integral element in the best holistic education systems. A good example is Atlantic College in Wales (see http://www.guidetoindependentschools.com/schools/view/22/Atlantic-College-UWC-Atlantic-College-/UWC/Atlantic-College-St-Donat-s-Castle-Llantwit-Major-Vale-of-Glamorgan-CF61-1WF) where community service has pride of place in the curriculum. The best education should not over-emphasize navel gazing, but should embody the directive of the Qur’an and the Prophet to engage in charity and compassionate service of others. Another fundamentally important dimension is that of inter-cultural understanding, which is why International Schools are often such good schools (see Atlantic College again). They provide the practical day-to-day context for living the pluralistic Qur’anic dictum that “We have made you into nations and tribes so that you may come to know one another” (49:13). One of the reasons I went to Papua New Guinea to work as a university lecturer in the 80s was that it provided the opportunity to send my children to an International School. They loved it, and I am proud of the way in which they have grown up free of racial and ethnic prejudices.

    Jeremy

  2. I’ve had so many conversations in the recent years about a pipe-dream to set up an altenative ‘sufi’ school…perhaps one day we can look back at this space as the start of realising that dream…

    saimma 🙂

  3. Many thanks. I was thinking of a place for people to post questions and have informal discussions. It seems the facebook group can be used for that unless somebody can show me a clever was of having a forum here. Trishna has started a discussion off on the facebook group already!

    S

  4. Dear Jeremy,

    Yes, absolutely. How do you suggest we go about a systematic development of a curriculum? I would have thought we may for example have a theme for the month- such as developing conversation, debate rhetoric etc and allow things to emerge from there – may be have some exercises we can try out, reflect on, feedback and share. Khadim is really interested in contributing and sharing her wealth of insights and experience.

    S

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