Realizing our Calling and Re-Humanizing our Education System

If you are a teacher, and you get a chance, pick up and read James Hillman’s On Soul, Character and Calling. In it he explains his “Acorn theory.”

In one interview Hillman commented, “It’s important to ask yourself, ‘How am I useful to others? What do people want from me?’ That may very well reveal what you are here for.”

For teachers, Hillman gives a reminder for why we may have gotten into the profession in the first place, namely, to place ourselves in the path of young people to help them develop their potential. It is a reminder to get down to what is real and have more humility. “We need to get back to trusting our emotional rapport with children, to seeing a child’s beauty and singling that child out. That’s how the mentor system works — you’re caught up in the fantasy of another person. Your imagination and theirs come together.” The image is of lighting fires.

Hillman in an interview: I think the first step is the realization that each of us has such a thing. (a calling) And then we must look back over our lives and look at some of the accidents and curiosities and oddities and troubles and sicknesses and begin to see more in those things than we saw before. It raises questions, so that when peculiar little accidents happen, you ask whether there is something else at work in your life. It doesn’t necessarily have to involve an out-of-body experience during surgery, or the sort of high-level magic that the new age hopes to press on us. It’s more a sensitivity, such as a person living in a tribal culture would have: the concept that there are other forces at work. A more reverential way of living.

http://scott.london/interviews/hillman.html

That life of reverence is so closely tied to the work of teaching. I could not describe that better than Hillman and it makes me feel at peace about being a teacher who is studies the destiny question, or what Hillman calls the acorn theory. Teaching really is all about paying attention to the other human being, and developing a deep respect, love and curiosity for the mystery of another human being and the potential of their calling, helping them uncover that despite anything else, including: what your own picture of them might be as their teacher, or what you would wish to mold them into, or even what you might have them believe.

I would like to see our educational system become more reverential of the mystery of each person, and less rigid, prescriptive and injurious to the outliers who don’t fit the mold. Perhaps this can’t be implemented in a structural way, perhaps it is just something which must be shared from person to person. Either way – we should try to do it more in whatever ways we can.

It all leads to many more questions, like how do we teach in a way that is respectful to another person’s divine blueprint? We can’t cast or stamp out each person from the same mold, in a one-size-fits-all approach. We need to leave a certain part in freedom. This is where when it comes to standardized testing or standardized anything I have bones to pick. Our society is in its infancy in terms of our ability to develop human potential respectfully. This is where and why I wonder whether and how astrology and education intersect in fruitful ways.

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