Father Kevin Tumback spoke to the students of Blessed Cardinal Newman school this morning about their Patron. I spent the day as a guest teacher with a class of grade sixes and it just happened to be that we were speaking about teasing and bullying in health class that same morning. I began teaching at Cardinal Newman twenty years ago and remained there for eighteen years, until I retired from teaching, after thirty years. It is a joy to return and to be in touch once again with the remarkable history of John Henry Newman. I think that apart from Newman’s intellect and unique way of viewing faith and the world, I am grounded in his words.
For one, the hymn Lead, Kindly Light, a hymn written by John Henry Newman as a poem titled, The Pillar of Cloud, will be forever- treasured by Christians the world over.
The Pillar Of Cloud
John Henry Newman (1801 – 1890)
LEAD, kindly Light, amid the encircling gloom,
Lead thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home,—
Lead thou me on!
Keep thou my feet! I do not ask to see
The distant scene—one step enough for me.
I was not ever thus, nor prayed that thou
Shouldst lead me on;
I loved to choose and see my path; but now
Lead thou me on!
I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears,
Pride ruled my will: remember not past years!
So long thy power hath blest me, sure it still
Will lead me on,
O’er moor and fen, o’er crag and torrent, till
The night is gone,
And with the morn those angel faces smile
Which I have loved long since, and lost awhile.
As well, the phrase, ‘Heart Speaks to Heart’ is very special and resonates with positivity, hope, promise and relationship. Newman’s thoughts on friendship were profound.
“God has created me to do Him some definite service. He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another. I have my mission. I may never know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next. I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons.
He has not created me for naught. I shall do good; I shall do His work. I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth in my own place, while not intending it if I do but keep His commandments.
Therefore, I will trust Him, whatever I am, I can never be thrown away. If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve Him, in perplexity, my perplexity may serve Him. If I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve Him. He does nothing in vain. He knows what He is about. He may take away my friends. He may throw me among strangers. He may make me feel desolate, make my spirits sink, hide my future from me. Still, He knows what He is about.”
― John Henry Newman
I could not help but have the grade six students capture, in symbols, the complexity of just one heart, speaking to another. I gave them a simple voice to respond to…and they responded. A joy this afternoon!
Those are really nice pieces! Kids can have such a hard time learning empathy, a lack of which is often a root cause of bullying. What a lovely way for them to practice!
It’s fun being a guest teacher…I can enjoy all of the favourite parts of teaching! Then I go home…with no concern for assessment. Judgement is OUT of my practice and that takes a huge weight off of the experience. I think that, in part, removing the pressure of assessment, opens up the celebration of learning. Authentic research/discovery and expression take place. For example, I’m reading more and learning more, being retired.
The heart to heart art activity is a wonderful idea. What a great teacher you must be.