A SYNOPSIS OF SIX BASIC CONCEPTS
A SYNOPSIS OF SIX BASIC CONCEPTS
This synopsis is a cognitive map that explains the specific meaning and structure of the most essential words and phrases used in the book. An effort is made to identify the important components of each concept and some of the sources that have contributed to its development. Taken together, these interrelated concepts form a cluster of ideas that describe a style of being human and a viewpoint from which we live with children.
A Justice Culture is a system of love for everybody in a learning and fun environment. The primary goal is to produce full-functioning children who can operate with vitality out of inner meanings and feelings, and care deeply for others.
• A Justice Culture is a creative fidelity to each other’s growth. A person knows that others will stand up, not only for their own rights, but for justice to others and to the whole. “When one is hurt, all are hurt.” The joy of one lights up others.
• The approach to others is constructive and redemptive, not punitive, derogative, or coercive.
• In a Justice Culture all are in the covenant of first class citizens. Teachers (and parents) enable children to function and be in relationship. They are participants and examples, not centers of arbitrary power who are above the law.
• Justice is an essential ongoing process. There are established ways of living together and working through conflicts. Feelings are understood and constructively processed within a structure of honesty and fairness. Natural consequences are experienced. Children are not hit, teased, threatened, or terrorized. Justice is never understood as requiring punishment or sanctioning revenge. Those who misbehave or withdraw are healed and restored to healthy functioning.
• A Justice Culture is a corporateness. All share in its creation. Responsibility is felt to keep it going. Many Life Worlds are in healthy relationship and each is better able to function as a person.
• This corporate group has an identity, a territory, and a distinctive style that cannot be violated or profaned with impunity. Members will resist invasion of its life space and destruction of its ethic.
• A Justice Culture is a little community of people trying to bring itself off in a precarious and sometimes tragic world. Justice is basic to their identity. It is the essential process and intention that structures and shapes their culture.
• A Justice Culture is the opposite of anarchy or an individualism where people are always looking out for “number one” and “doing their own thing.” It is the opposite of terrorism where each does to others what he or she pleases. It is the opposite of authoritarianism where the power of a few is used to force others into obedience and unquestioning conformity.
• A Justice Culture is a culture of meanings. Each person’s behavior is understood in the light of their own meanings and Life World. Change and growth are enabled by the interiorization and formation of meaning, not by mechanically rewarding and punishing responses. As people begin to operate out of a fullness of personal meanings the need for external direction and control diminishes.
• A Justice Culture is guided by what is known to be the meaning of the “Highest and the Best.” Basic standards of excellence and rightness are recognized which are above individual whims and tastes. There is a transcendence over what happens to which all can appeal and by which power is governed. Life-giving structures challenge us and make selfcorrection possible.
• Culture is the meanings which generations of people have wrested out of life, and those they are now manufacturing. Corporateness is not merely a social organization but a society made possible by shared meanings and interpretations. The culturing of meanings is always going on. Each member must have access to the process, be understood and taken account of. Shared experiences and their mutually arrived at interpretations become “significant symbols” that organize life and call forth creative energies.
Conscience is deeply caring for self and others, and the competencies and meanings that empower this caring.
• Conscience is -the thrust to become a significant and full-functioning person. The push toward incarnation. To be a truth, rather than merely to know or talk about it. -the hunger to be in relationship. That which moves us to reconcile with those whom we have alienated or let down. -the continuing search for rightness with the “Highest and Best, “ combined with a fidelity to what we believe in. -the move to transcend what is, and what we have been. We are dissatisfied with shortcomings and mediocrities. We are not neutral in respect to justice and injustice, honesty and phoniness, truth and monstrous lies.
• Conscience is “the call of possibility.” (Heidegger) Also the “yes” we give to a chance to enable something better become real. • With conscience, all dimensions of time (future-past-present) can be in a new way. We fashion a preferred style of Life World.
• Much of conscience is the significant adults and respected companions whom we have interiorized. Conscience is largely learned by “modeling” and participation.
• Conscience is an internal governance system. Understandings of self and the outside world are integrated into a self-in-world. An essential centered self is maintained.
• Conscience always works with and image of what kind of world this is. It sizes up who is to e dealt with. Within a person’s conscience is a somewhat enduring frame of orientation which determines perceptions, interpersonal strategies, and world building. It awakens or deadens the energies of joyous self-giving.
• Conscience power comes from the experiences of being cared for, the sensing of other persons as struggling, suffering, exulting selves trying for Life World, and the development of interpersonal competencies.
• Healthy conscience requires competencies in understanding, processing and communicating feelings, and constructive activity with other.
• Conscience is integrity work. Trueing-up the self, choosing between better and worse, moving toward dependable identity, resisting invasion and disintegration.
• Going for wholeness rather than remaining fragmented and unstoried. Being genuine rather than inauthentic. **** With healthy conscience, we exist as a center of love and freedom, within warm membership in a group of respected compatriots.
We believe in each other and in something together. We can count on each other.
• In a true community of life something of each of us dwells in the other. We have interiorized, in a respecting way, the self-in-world that others are. Our own Life World is created, in part, from these interiorizations. We interiorize into the deepest regions of the self the valuings of ourselves by significant adults as well as their manner of relating to others. Interiorizing is a concept derived for George Herbert Mead. It is not the same as copying behavior or internalizing something – which can be done without integrating it within the central self. Without this process of interiorizing there is no intersubjectivity. (Merleau-Ponty)
• Some of the words and phrases the group uses are understood in about the same way by all. They dependably call forth congruent action and we all know that they will. They come out of common, and sometimes intense, experiences. Some become “significant symbols” that organize our meanings and call forth our energies. (Mead) *** We are not alone. We can give and receive communication since we share each other’s memories and pictures in our minds. We can get things done and grow.
A child goes forth … and the persons, things, pulsings of earth life become part of this child for that day and for all days. He interiorizes and symbolizes them . He reorganizes them into the project of his being-in-the-world.
• The human mind is intentionality. It forms gestalts, the most basic being the Life World. Bits and pieces of “earth” and ourselves are put into a workable pattern. The self is a worlding process.
• A Life World is lived. It is not just and intellectual world view to which the self is uncommitted.
• A Lived Life World is formed out of the interaction of our energies and the energies of our environment.
• A Preferred Life World, that has a rightness to it, also exists as a picture in our mind. We try to bring it off. If we cannot, we feel we have been denied being. This Life World has become our life story and identity. When the stable organization of a meaningful Life World comes apart, we, too, become disintegrated.
• Always, to some degree, the lived and preferred Life Worlds are a joint creation of ourselves and the outside world. The world around us is also forming energies! (It is a bit hard on us to learn this.)
• A Life World is an accessible network of significant memories and symbols with which to recognize, interpret, and invent moments of worlding. Unless we understand the worlding going on in a child’s mind, at best we are clumsy.
• A Life World is unique to that person and a variation of the corporate Life World contemporaries are creating. Worlding takes place in the midst of Life Worlds.
• To be human is to have a project. For the moment everything has meaning within that project. (A tricycle is not an object but is part of a project in an arena of action on its way of becoming meaningful Life World for the child.)
• A person is strategies for bringing off a preferred Life World … a world fit for hiding and flight … or a world for fighting and looking out for “number one” … or fit for pleasuring … or a world fit for creating together … *** As teachers we are developing Life Worlds and competencies in worlding.
Being is spirited existence. “I am. I am able. I am a member.” “The world is an exciting place. It’s fun to be with people. Thinking together makes it more fun.”
• Being means being person; a caring, struggling, feeling, interpreting, inventing, participating, and worlding self. A self that is becoming something in particular, that lives knowing what to be true to. In touch with self and the being of other people.
• Being is unique. “And there is nobody else in the whole world exactly like you.” “I am for your growth as a person.” The species “humankind” becomes incarnate.
• The language of being is active and participatory, not frozen or possessive. Being rather than having. “Being something” rather than “having something,” “being in relationship” rather than “having relationship,” “being integrity” rather than “having integrity,” as if integrity were a package you carry around and occasionally exhibit, a trait rather than a state of existence.
• Being is “living form.” Not just a structure, but a forming form that creates many structures and events.
• Being is a duration of time. “Up bubbles the stream of time,” bringing up to date the heritage of the past. The self projects futures, venturing beyond already established satisfactions. *** “Only he knows the truth who participates in the truth.” (Kierkegaard)
Unmistakably here. Through the rush and things of the world, a voice and a face from the realm of the personal … appears. A “Thou” is here to be taken account of.
• Fully here. Not meandering around, playing games with others, at war with itself. An integrity.
• A “Holy” – not to be violated, profaned, ignored, treated as a thing – is developing its true nature in my presence. I do not control it. Nor would I want to.
• A bearer of destiny is present. Help is here, able to set in motion a transformation of the situation. There is an invitation to create together.
• A Depth … a fascinating moreness yet to become unhidden … is addressing me-in-particular, in my uniqueness at this moment. The relationship is starkly I-Thou. *** “The world comes to me in the form of a person.” (Martin Buber)
Pages 170-175 from book “Young Child As Person”.
by Martha Snyder, Ross Snyder, and Ross Snyder, Jr. Edited by Maryhelen Snyder, Ph.D. with a new Forward by Jean Baker Miller, M.D. and Judith Jordan, Ph.D. For an entire copy of “The Young Child as Person” in PDF format, click here.
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