Tag Archives: Religion and Spirituality

Are you there God? It’s me, Alicia.

Cults and new religious movements in literatur...

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A priest visited our class last night as a guest speaker.  He had an open dialogue with us.  Prior to class, I had ideas of how he would behave.  I expected this to be a lot like Sunday Mass; a lot of preaching and pontificating.  I was wrong.

This conversation felt enlightening and uplifting.  I walked away tranquil and enveloped in the comfort of my own deep thoughts. 

The concept of religion is unique to the individual.  My ideas about religion and spirituality will differ from yours and I may think differently about the entire thing tomorrow.  It is very fluid for me.

Organized religion in a church is a dying fad in our American culture as we see more and more churches closing.  I wonder if people are truly less religious or are they just finding their spirituality elsewhere.  Maybe people feel more connected to God in the forest or by the sea-shore. 

Imagine if people traded their Hail Mary’s for charitable volunteerism or a random act of kindness when seeking universal redemption. 

Our guest speaker told us that our generation has not yet thought much about God or religion because we may not have had to yet.  He believes that this comes when we are faced with our own immortality; when all that we know, feel and value is about to vanish. 

Profound.

I found myself contemplating more of my spirituality in recent months.  Difficult times have led me there.  It also led me through them.

He said one thing that I hope to never forget:  “This life will hurt you and then it will kill you.”

We each feel the pain and perhaps that is what makes us all connected. Paradoxically, there is a beauty in that, yes?  We are not alone when we have problems or feel despair.  Those emotions are ones that we all succumb to.  Life is beautiful and it is fragile.  In the end, don’t we all seek a higher power when it is all we have left?

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Filed under adult education, Alicia Legg, Continuing Education, No Adult Left Behind

1st Grade

Here is what I’d like to know:  I’d like to know when I will be able to drop my son off for the first day of school and not come home in tears.  All of the other parents are happy and care free and I am sad that my boy is now away from me for the better part of the day until next June. 

YUCK.

I like my kid.  He is really cool.  I miss him when he is gone. ~~sniff, sniff~~

I know that makes me sad and pathetic. 

Tomorrow will be better.

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Filed under adult education, No Adult Left Behind, Summer vacation

Kindergarten Graduation – Part I

Years ago I had a conversation with a friend to whom I told I would not change much after having a child.  She reminds me of this from time to time.

I used to think that scholastic celebrations are completely redundant and unnecessary.  I felt that you celebrated one “graduation” – the real one when you completed 12th grade and MAYBE an 8th grade graduation.  

So we entered September 2009 by placing my son into Kindergarten in one of the finest schools I have the privilege of being associated with.  This adjustment was no small one for us.  I was quite used to having my son all to myself for all hours of the day and I was quite reluctant to share him with the school.  I also did not like the fact that it was an all day Kindergarten.

Let me stop right here and say that I am certified to teach grades 1-9 in the State of New York.  As an educator, I believe that all day Kindergarten helps the children acclimate to the demands of their future years.  I like the staggered approach best, where the pupils attend half day until Christmas break and upon their return they ease into a full day.  However with the school we selected had an all day Kindergarten.  For the first week my heart felt empty due to his absence immediately after I dropped him off.  I have a cool kid and I love him and I missed him something awful.

It turns out that we really weren’t prepared for the demands of Kindergarten.

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Asra Nomani – Part One

This semester I had the privilege of meeting Asra Nomani. In my Media Ethics class, all students were required to attend a speech hosted by Asra Nomani. I had not heard of her, but she was a friend of someone I had heard of – Daniel Pearl. If you remember, Daniel Pearl was the American man that had been kidnapped and murdered during his visit to Pakistan. Daniel and his wife were staying with Asra when he was kidnapped.

Asra Nomani came to our college to speak to us about her life and her mission. She is rebelling against the gender discrimination that dominates her religion as a Muslim. Our professor indicated that because her beliefs are widely unacceptable among Muslims she is unpopular in some circles and has created some enemies. Because she has had several threats against her life, our professor was going to see that our college provided increased security on the night that she arrived.

Well alrighty then. Sounds great! Sign me up for that speech.

On the night of Asra Nomani’s speech, despite arriving 50 minutes early, it was difficult to find parking and I had to hike in a considerable distance in the rain to the auditorium. I observed a paid guard who did not see me approach because he had his back to me while he was texting. Once I reached him, he was startled and opened the door for me only to abruptly return to his previous preoccupation.

Once inside, I found a seat and settled in. It was prudent to arrive so early because it was already crowded and eventually each crevasse of the auditorium was filled in a “standing room only” fashion.

Asra was an amazing speaker. She spoke in a soft distinction that demanded silence from her audience because we did not wish to miss a word. She was as honest and pure as a summer rain. I sat mesmerized hanging on each word as she spoke of her friendship with Daniel Pearl, his tragic murder and the events of her life that has led her to be a passionate pioneer seeking gender equality in her Mosque and in all aspects of her Muslim religion.

As a Catholic, I have all I can do to practice my religion and provide a religious framework for my son. Unless I am on my own terms speaking to God in the comfort of my own environment, I see religion as a bit of an obligation. What fascinated me is that Asra Nomani was in love with her religion. It was this love that was a motivating factor for her to explore deeper and take out the gender segregation that was against the core of the Muslim beliefs. She spoke of her protests and her following with a sparkle in her eye because she believes that one day she will find a peaceful coexistence in prayer with all members of her mosque that will show love and acceptance without distinction for gender.

I admire Asra Nomani because she has a courage that awes me. At the conclusion of her speech she received lavish, sincere applause from most of the audience. It was a wonderful experience. At the conclusion of the speech she hosted question and answer session.

That is when the magic ended for me.

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