4/05/2009

Sugar. It ain't good for you.


For me the 2009 Spring began when I was admonished by Sylvia Keesmaat & Brian Walsh, two "subversive theologians" from Canada. Invited by Zack Plantak from Columbia Union College in Takoma Park, Maryland, they graced the 2009 Keough Lectures. They woke me up to the fact that I have been asleep while the Creation is abused. Their treatment of the Pauline Letter to the Romans [chapter 8] requires of me a dose of radical thinking and action about my Mother Earth, together with its environment, fauna and flora, its animal kingdom, and its human guardians.

Here is my contribution for this early April evening. 

Dr Janusz Korczak was a pedagogue, and a guardian of the homeless, neglected and the often abandoned children. He refused to leave the Warsaw Ghetto because of his adopted children. Korczak, like thousands of others met his fate in a gas chamber of Treblinka concentration camp. Korczak’s forte was “ethical sensitivity” in education and a belief that one should place physical development of a child on the same level as his or her culture of feelings and emotional life. In his journal he wrote this little memoir about sparrows:

            During the summer, the windows were usually open and they would come into the room and sit on a flower pot. If I was also sitting still, they were not afraid. But once, when I entered the room unexpectedly, a sparrow flew away and being scared off, it could not find a way out and hit the window glass. It was stunned. Maybe hurt, even. Later, before I entered my room, I would knock on the door. But now, it’s winter time and I have once again asked the glass-fitter to come and cut out a small piece of the window so that sparrows could come in and eat. It would be warmer for them inside.

This little gem of a story reveals the secret of Korczak’s educational success. When from time to time he received psychologically crippled children into his new homes for orphans, he treated them the same way he would treat the sparrows. All he wanted was that the boys and girls would not be afraid any more.

Thank you, Janusz Korczak, for your example, kindness and generosity of the human spirit. 

So, do you care to do something for yourself and for ... all of us? Take care of the Creation. This may even lead you to forgive the odd sparrow indulging on a sugar bow just a few yards away! It's you for whom sugar is not good. And that's my Creation moment on this Spring April evening.