That Quickening Moment: Part I

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To Quicken Means to Bring to Life

To Quicken Means to Animate, to Bring to Life

The Quickening

I’m sitting here early on a Sunday morning, sipping coffee at the kitchen table, listening to two of my favorite sounds, the clicking clock and the humming fridge. Outside it’s been drizzling rain. I take pleasure in slow rain. It brings me a sense of calm, like the ticking clock and humming fridge.

I think about my life and smile. Lately, I’ve experienced a life-altering moment of profound clarity. Every action that I’ve taken in the days since then have been because of that life-altering moment, a moment that changed my entire outlook on myself and on my life. I call this moment, the Quickening.

I take the word quickening from Romans 8:11 where the apostle, Paul, uses the Greek word, zoopoieo (quickening) to refer to the way the spirit of God makes a person “alive.” So, to quicken something is to make it fully alive. 

The last time that happened, I was thirteen. Can a person have more than one life-altering moment, more than one moment of coming to life, more than one awakening? more than one quickening?

I believe they can. 

A quickening moment is best described as an awakening. We all wake up every day in the natural, so too, we can re-awaken in the spiritual sense. We may need to re-awaken because we allowed ourselves to be lulled to sleep.

Some people wake up in an instant and spring into their day. Others wake up slowly and go through a morning ritual of sorts before they’re truly alert. Well, spiritually, it’s the same way. However, it happens for you, a quickening moment is a spiritual awakening that shifts the entire meaning of your life and outlook on everything and everyone. It’s a moment when you wake up and are “born again.”

TWO REALITIES

There are Two Realities

There are two realms of existence.

We will call one realm the physical realm and the other realm the spiritual realm, (Kingdom (realm) of God (Supreme Magistrate, Divinity). We could even say that there is God’s reality and physical reality.

The spiritual realm has no starting point and no stopping point. The laws of physics do not apply to this realm. They apply to physical reality. The physical reality is inferior to the spiritual reality in that it is temporary and subject to the laws of thermodynamics.

The laws of the spirit realm operate on principles of a particular kind of energy and that energy is the creative force behind all that exists in the physical realm.

That energy is God, love, the source of all.

The physical realm is like parentheses in eternity. The beginning and ending parentheses are time. Or we could think of the physical realm as a bubble floating in the vast expanse of the spirit realm. The spirit realm is so much more expansive that everything inside the bubble is minute in comparison.

Now beings from the spiritual realm can take on a carnal, physical form and enter the physical realm for a time. While they’re there they experience what it means to be finite, to have a beginning and an ending.

So often these beings come into the physical realm and experience trauma, hardship, and pain, because they forget who they are and, just like Adam and Eve in the garden, they believe a temporal lie that enslaves them while they’re here.

ONE SPECIAL BEING

However, there was one particularly unique being from the spirit realm who came with all of his memories and awareness of his true origins still intact. This being defied the laws of physics at every turn, starting with his birth. He was born to a virgin. He walked on water. He raised the dead, healed the sick and confounded the most brilliant and highly educated minds of his day.

He never sought earthly credentials and was unmoved by both praise and criticism. These things meant little if anything to him because he knew who he was, where he was from, why he was here and where he was going.

Nonetheless, his final demonstration of the origin of humanity was when he allowed himself to be crucified and laid in a grave. Then he left his physical body for three days before returning to it, healing it, and reanimating it. (see Romans 8:11) 

He came to open our eyes and show us who we are and the kind of life we are meant to live while we’re in this physical realm. He said, “…he (those) that believes on me (trust me, adhere to what I say) the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.”

In another place he said that he had come to give us life and life more abundantly. He said he came to seek and to rescue those who were lost, off their path, wandering around with spiritual amnesia.

So, now that we’ve established that there are two realms of existence and that we are really spiritual beings having a physical experience, let’s look at how to get our memories back! What happens when that occurs?

I will discuss this in the next blog post.

 

The Secret of Educating

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My friend, Pam, knew the secret of educating. She used to speak of educating the “whole” child.

She was one of those teachers that took kids out to play no matter the weather, so they could get fresh air in their lungs. She took them on field trips and stopped at nice restaurants where they had to go in, sit down and order from a menu, because some of them had never had that experience. She wanted them to experience culture.

She exposed them to plays and songs from around the world. She had them participate in the Hefer Project at Christmas rather than exchanging gifts, because she wanted them to experience the joy of changing a life rather than simply receiving another gift.

Soft-spoken and intellectually gifted, Pam was unconventional and always, above all else, an advocate for her students. She went toe-to-toe with superintendents, board members, policy makers, lazy co-workers, and anyone else who wanted to put their government policy, personal agenda, pocketbook, comfort or ideas above the welfare of her students.

Pam understood the secret of educating, one to which many people are oblivious.

So, What IS the Secret to Educating?

A person is a tri-part being and each part is made up of multiple systems. To truly educate a child, you have to address the needs of their body, soul and spirit.

A human being is like my three-legged Art easel. If I don’t stabilize all the legs, the whole thing falls over. I give the legs that stabilize a person the following names; they are body, soul and spirit.

Leg 1: The Body

Exercise helps a child’s mind to grow.

The body is the physical vehicle that carries us from place to place in this world. It requires nutrition, exercise and rest. It is made up of many systems, parts and organs.

Without proper rest, nutrition and exercise, it lags and malfunctions. If a child is hungry, it’s hard to learn. If a child is being beaten at home, it’s hard to care about Math at school. If a child is sick and in pain, it’s hard to pay attention during Reading group time.

So, children need to be fed nutritious meals. They need to go outside, to run, walk, climb and play–everyday. They need to go to sleep at about the same time each night, without an iPad, iPhone, television or computer readily available. I can’t count the kids I’ve had through the years who couldn’t stay awake at school because they had a television in their room and watched TV all night! The light from electronic devices can hinder sleep, ESPECIALLY IN CHILDREN!

Leg 2: The Soul

Music Helps the Soul to Grow

The soul, like the body, is comprised of numerous parts and systems. I will focus on three: the minds, personalities, and emotions. Without going into lengthy detail at present, suffice it to say that the soul is created by the union between body and spirit. It is our sense of self in this world.

Like the body, the soul must receive food, exercise and adequate rest. Food comes in the form of emotional validation, mental stimulation and personal inspiration.

The mind needs problems to solve, things to figure out. It needs challenges that it can work through and overcome. However, a continuous onslaught of taxing, stressful problems can become emotionally overwhelming. There needs to be some stability in a child’s life.

A long stream of school activities that ignore the child’s background, belittles or slights their cultures, etc., sends the child a subconscious message that they don’t matter as much. Growing up as a child from a socio-economic challenged family myself, I know from first hand experience that when the teacher always calls on affluent children to run errands, pass out papers, empty the pencil sharpener, fill the teacher’s coke machine, etc., that it sends a message to the “poorer” kids that they just aren’t quite as “good as” and aren’t as deserving. No teacher that I know of does this on purpose yet I know that it is done, because I experienced it. There has to be some stability in a child’s life. A child’s life structure doesn’t have to be strict, simply consistent and reliable.

King Solomon once said to train up a child in the way he/she should go and when he/she is old they will not depart from it. In the original Hebrew that denotes something more akin to “teach a child in the way that he or she is naturally bent, nurture their natural gifts and talents….” So often we try to fit every child into the same mold, ignoring the differences in cognitive inclinations and preferences.

This is where cognitive personality types come into play. We can not teach all children like cookie cutters. We can’t just teach to the children whose personalities click with our own. It’s WELL WORTH studying cognitive mind types. If we understand that the little girl whose mind is so far out that she gets lost on her way to the bathroom is an INFP, we might discover a way to help her with Math. If we understand that the drama queen is an ENFP, then we might realize that drama is a fundamental key to helping her with her Science.

This can also go into the emotional realm of the soul, as well. If we understand that Tommy is an INTP, then we might help him through the bullying issues that he’s facing. Who knows? We might prevent a future catastrophe by reaching out to the whole child. In my opinion, if we work in education or counseling, in ANY capacity, it behooves us to understand (at least on a rudimentary level) a little bit about cognitive personality types, not in a way that tries to fit people into a job mold, but in a way that helps us understand how they might perceive and process knowledge, emotions and events. I personally believe that the Jungian Cognitive Processes and the Theory of Multiple Intelligences are excellent, as is Cynthia Tobias’s The Way They Learn.

Emotions are a part of the SOUL of a person. Children who are emotionally distraught of stressful situations at home will be hampered in their learning. When kids are constantly belittled by parents, relatives or other children their learning is hampered. Emotional and verbal abuse can be crippling in a child’s mental and psychological development.

A kid who just saw his dog hit by a car may need time to rebound. The kid whose parents are going through a divorce may be hurt and angry, the kid with the baby sister in a wheelchair, the one whose brother was burned in a fire, the one who was just kicked out of his house or taken away and put into foster care. The list goes on.

The Spirit

The Spirit is that Part of us that is Eternal.

Let me first make a disclaimer, realizing that this may not resonate with some people. The spirit, to me, is very real. It is that part of us that is not bound to time and space, that transcends the physical and exists after our bodies expire. I’m not alone in my belief that there is a part of us that is eternal, that has always been and shall always be. Billions have in the past and currently believe in a spirit realm, in life after death and that we do not end when our bodies expire. The Spirit is the life-giving force that animates a body and carries with it, after exiting this temporal existence, all the experiences gained through the body and soul, but with full knowledge and understanding. The spirit is that eternal part of us that transcends time and space. So, how do you educate a spirit?

  1. Be fair–equity does not equate to equality. Do what each child needs, not just what fits across the board.
  2. Be kind–even when you discipline, let there be kindness in your heart and in your voice. Children listen to your tone far more than to your words. They may forget what you say, what you do, but they NEVER forget the way you make them feel about themselves. When I ask people which teachers they remember they always mention the ones who made them feel happy and loved.
  3. Be forgiving–if a child makes a mistake today, don’t remind them of it tomorrow. Don’t keep hanging it over their heads until they feel they are “bad” kids.
  4. Be merciful–realize that human beings, especially kids, make lots of mistakes. They misunderstand lots of things. They are not tiny adults. That’s why they need you.
  5. Be understanding and empathetic–and listen to them when they talk to you! One of my co-workers is so loved by her students, not because she’s the best Math or Reading teacher, but because she LISTENS to them.
  6. Be joyful–young spirits pick up on your joy and if it’s there, they know. If it’s not, they know.  A seventh grader recently asked me why so many people become teachers who apparently don’t even like kids. I told him I’d been asking myself that for decades now! Trust me. KIDS KNOW WHEN YOU ENJOY BEING WITH THEM AND WHEN YOU DON’T.
  7. Be encouraging–never put a child down, not even in teasing. Find something positive about every child and highlight it.  When a child does a good job, even on a small thing, let them know.
  8. Be loving–which means allow them to know you appreciate them, you value you them. I know one educator who calls all of her students, Friend. I know another who uses the term, Wonderful Ones, with her class.
  9. Be honest–if a child asks you a question, phrase it so that it’s on their level but tell them the truth.
  10. Choose to discipline, not punish. Discipline is a form of love. Notice I said discipline, not punish. There’s a huge difference. Discipline speaks to the spirit and seeks to empower a student to be the best version of himself or herself. Punishment wearies the soul and wounds the spirit; it causes a child to feel like they are a “bad” kid.

If we want our children to grow up to be all they can be, then we must learn the secret to educating and that secret is to recognize and teach the WHOLE child–body, soul (intellect, personality and emotions) and spirit (that eternal part that responds to the laws of the spiritual universe–empathy, compassion, forgiveness, joy, love, patience and mercy.)

*Darlene Franklin-Campbell holds a Masters in Education and is a veteran teacher of over twenty years. She is currently an Art teacher but has taught self-contained multi-age classrooms, Latin and Spanish to fifth through eight grades, self-contained third grade and fourth grade, self-contained first grade, music and creative writing. She has worked both in private and public education, speaks three languages, has served as an English Language Learner liaison, a translator, a site-based council minority representative, and is involved heavily in Indigenous cultures of North America, working to preserve languages and customs. Darlene has spent countless hours researching cognitive development and preferences. She has been previously certified through the Association of Christian Schools International and is currently certified through the Kentucky Department of Education. 

 

 

Color an Ocean of Peace

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“Art Teacher,” Bobby calls out, “Jimmy just hit me and said my picture is ugly.”

“Jimmy, why did you hit Bobby?” I ask.

“Because” Jimmy says, “he’s not coloring the ocean blue. The ocean is supposed to be blue. I told him to color his water blue and he won’t listen.”

“So, you got mad?” I say.

“Yes.”

“And you hit him to make him do what you wanted him to do?”

“No, it wasn’t like that. He’s not doing it RIGHT. The ocean is supposed to be blue.”

“So, Bobby is coloring his picture of his world differently than you think the world is supposed to look?” I say, “And you don’t like the way he sees the world because it doesn’t match the way you see it, so, you got mad at him and tried to make him do it the way you think it needs to be done. You hurt Bobby because you wanted him to make his world your way? Is that what happened?”

“Ugh,” Jimmy says, “Yes, I got mad because he ain’t doing right. And he won’t listen to me when I try to tell him the right way to do it.”

“And how is that hurting you?” the teacher asks.

“But it’s supposed to be blue!” Jimmy is clearly upset that anyone could see the ocean as green, black, and purple instead of blue.

“And how is that hurting you?” I ask again.

“But…oceans are blue.”

“Your ocean is blue,” I say. “Bobby’s ocean is multicolored. What if you color your world and Bobby colors his world and you don’t try to force Bobby’s world to look just like yours? Then you will both have a better day.”

“I want you to make him do it right,” Jimmy says sullenly.

“Do you want to be right or happy?” I ask.

Jimmy and Bobby both look at me, confusion etched across their little faces.

I explain. “I’m not going to force Bobby to color his ocean the way you want it to be. However, if you insist on being right, and hitting Bobby because he made a choice that’s different than yours, then you are going to find yourself in a very unhappy position,  or you can accept that Bobby is different than you and that it’s okay for other people to see the world differently, mind your own business, color your own ocean and have a peaceful, happy day. The choice is yours. So, do you want to be right or be happy?”

Jimmy thinks hard for a moment. Letting go of the need to be right is tough. Then he says, “I’d rather be happy.”

Bobby pipes up, “Me, too. I like to be happy.” He proceeds to draw a purple sun in the sky.

Jimmy visibly cringes, but he chooses to be happy, at least for now. He hasn’t seen Sophia’s spotted, flying unicorn fish yet.

………………………………………………………………………………………

The Secret of Peace

Jimmy’s teacher is trying to let him in on a secret. It’s the secret of peace. If we want peace in our lives, then we must stop trying to control the actions of others.

No wonder Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God.” That doesn’t mean we go around settling arguments but that we facilitate inner peace. Outer peace without inner peace is impossible.

The secret to having outer peace in the world is more people with inner peace!

As adults, we are not so different than Jimmy, concerned about what someone else is doing. Perhaps, it would be good if we could learn the lesson Jimmy’s teacher is trying to teach him. We don’t need to control others and the only actions we are ultimately responsible for are our own.

Ironically, we can see the tiniest faults in the behaviors of others yet neglect to see similar things in ourselves. Jesus once responded to some critics by saying they had the ability to see a speck of dust in someone else’s eyes but couldn’t see the giant beam sticking out of their own.

If I had a quarter for every time a child has come up to me and reported on the affairs of others in hopes that I would “punish” the other child, I think (maybe playfully) I would be as rich as Elon Musk! It seems to start early, this need to control others, even when those actions have nothing to do with us. Kids will often say things like, “Make them let me play with their toy.” Or, “Make them play with me.” Translation: “Do what I want YOU to do and MAKE THEM behave the way I want them to behave.”

Sadly, this desire to control and punish others often doesn’t end when childhood ends. It just graduates and grows bigger and instead of making someone give up their toy or play with them, the controllers want to dictate how others should live their lives. They want to invade neighboring countries, take over their resources and control their populations.

How much pain and suffering in the world would be alleviated if world leaders didn’t try to make other countries conform to their wishes?  If they didn’t invade and seek control? What if everyone in the world were truly empathic? What if we realized our Connectedness?

Peace on Earth

When Jesus was born, the angels spoke to shepherds proclaiming peace on earth, but of course, the world hasn’t been at “peace” since that time, but in the biblical sense, peace doesn’t mean the absence of war. It means inner tranquility, staying calm regardless of what others are doing or saying. In other words, inner peace is only found when we let go of the need to control others.

Just as Jimmy isn’t justified in dictating how Bobby colors or one child isn’t justified in forcing others to play, we are never justified in wanting to control the feelings and thoughts of others.

It’s far too common and too easy to focus on the negative aspects of others, to talk bad about them and try to make them behave the way we want them to, but it’s a losing battle and in the end, we accomplish nothing but destroying our own peace of mind and happiness. I once heard a very young minister named Randy (who knows? Maybe he is reading this post right now!) say, “You can’t legislate morality.” He was right. Kindness, goodness, empathy, joy, love….those things must come from the inside out and be voluntary. If you force people into, it’s not real and sooner or later the sleeping demons of self-righteousness, greed and power will awaken.

LET IT GO!

Peter, an early follower of Jesus, wrote, “Do not repay injury for or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay injury with kindness, because to this you were invited so that you may obtain adulation. For whoever would take pleasure in, long for, and enjoy life (both physical and spiritual, present and future) and experience good days must restrain his language from injurious and their lips from treacherous (deceitful and harmful) speech. They must cease from doing injury and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it.”

Likewise, Paul, also a student of Jesus once told a group of Thessalonians who were in The Way to aspire to live quiet and peaceful lives, to mind their own business and work with their own hands.

A passage from Psalms keeps going through my head:

46:10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”

The words “be still” there denote a “letting go” or “falling into.” In other words, as Elsa says in Frozen, “Let it Go!” The word “know” means to recognize, get it, or understand.

So, we could put it in the modern vernacular, “Let it go! Relax, and recognize…” What are we recognizing? We are recognizing that I Am God. Which God? The I AM. And what are we recognizing? The fact that I Am is God! And what ever you need I Am is. Nothing is impossible with I Am God. Nothing.

Peace comes when we let go and relax in the knowledge that the Almighty Source of all that is or has been or ever will be is in control. Peace comes when we realize that a person’s life-worth doesn’t consist of our possessions, or what color we paint our oceans.

Stillness and tranquility set things in order in the universe.

Dyer, Wayne W.. Living the Wisdom of the Tao (p. 93). Hay House. Kindle Edition.

 

But the muddiest water clears

                           as it is stilled.

And out of that stillness

life arises.

Dyer, Wayne W.. Living the Wisdom of the Tao (p. 33). Hay House. Kindle Edition.