There is a quality, a presence, an attitude; it engenders a kind of magnified understanding and sensitivity; it is a rare quality in our world by and large and yet it speaks to the heart of nearly every human being; it has inspired great acts and great art throughout history; it is the mother of kindness itself; we call it simply – humanity.
Now, if your charge as an educator was to encourage and foster one single quality in the young, what would it be?
The word humanity seems to hold so many of the qualities we attribute to our essential humanness. In its presence, the presence of true humanity, certain things simply do not, cannot thrive such as cruelty, hatred and bigotry. And yet one of the actions of the quality of humanity is to offer remedy and a path of forgiveness to such things.
It is a compassion, consideration and care which offers a means to rise up out of self-centered apathy and narrow mindedness.
It is gratitude and generosity, a being truly thankful for the gifts and challenges of this life with a strident will to pay back and give tribute in return to all that supports one’s existence. The spirit of generosity is remedial upon so many things that seem intent on bringing the human race down. Gratitude and generosity are a natural out-pouring in response to the gift of life. Arrogant greed and self entitlement are clearly antithetical to the nature of humanity. And yet it is the very essence of humanity to appeal to the ‘better angels of our nature’ rather than to punish and therefore reinforce unjust, inhuman, ignorant or misguided behavior.
There is a magnanimity and unstoppable spirit of service in the quality of humanity. It is the unbiased and unconditional wish to see the human experiment succeed! It is a transparent fierce benevolence that defies deception and hypocrisy.
How do we engender this quality of humanity in the young? It begins, of course, in us, in what we do with ourselves, with each other! How do you recognize it? Humor and Humility are brother and sister to it. HUM!!!
To bring the light of humanity into what you teach is a service to humanity itself. What could be more important? After all, it is not what we see, but the light by which we see – that determines the quality of a life.
“One way or another, we all have to find what best fosters the flowering of our humanity in this contemporary life, and dedicate ourselves to that.” ~Joseph Campbell
“An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.” ~ Martin Luther King