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Practical Humanism—A Core Curriculum

posted Feb 2, 2017, 1:00 PM by Kristin Snell

by Reverend Lewie Pell, Lifetime Youth Worker, Yogi, Spoken Word Activist

“We cannot solve the problems of our time with the same mind that has created them.”                                                                                     - A. Einstein

As a parent, teacher, and pastoral minister to homeless and runaway youth – now retired – I have been envisioning the following proposal to help our education system produce a ‘new mind’ among us for the transformation of our world.

At every level of youth education – K through l2 – there might be a core curriculum devoted to the study of what it is to be truly human,  to learn to embrace the deepest and most valuable aspects of the human reality – on an experiential level.  Therefore the approach to this multidimensional project should take primarily a practicum approach – encouraging with each subject offered student participation, inter-active activities such as role-playing; sharing circles that encourage active listening; journaling etc.

Subjects would include but not be limited to : developing a loving, affirming relationship with oneself;  the vital role of compassion and acceptance in human life;  how to communicate skillfully;  how to make choices that are inclusive of others’ desires and needs – to focus on the highest good for all people, nature, creation;  in problem-solving how to be solution-oriented;  how to develop and live by universal ethical standards common to all the highest and most profound teachings from all traditions of humanisticly oriented thought (including all religions’ ethical teachings);  how to focus on similarities rather than differences;  how to find the good and positive in all situations – finding seeds for deepening awareness and growth in any challenge one meets; appropriate and inappropriate uses of power – individual and collective / power with vs. power over;  how to live ones life in perpetual awe and appreciation of the wondrous creation we are so intimately a part of;  how to develop a sense of ‘giving back,’ of loving service to others as an integral part of living a happy, meaningful life;  how to develop and nurture one’s one creativity in response to any and all of life’s situations;  how to differentiate between healthy pride and self-deluding ego;  how to learn to forgive . . .

Each class might begin with a sharing circle emphasizing openness, non-judgment ,acceptance – and confidentiality.  Readings could include stories like Aesop’s fables, the Jakarta/sufi tales; inspirational favorites chosen from the facilitator’s own library of great poetry, art, humanistic wisdom teachings, etc; the learning and practice of using positive life-affirming affirmations; the offering of the facilitator of a particular ‘problem/challenge in story form with invitation to students to come up with their solution – maybe in dyads, then shared with all,

(For available curricula ideas and materials:; www.instituteofnoeticsciences/Education-Worldwide Explorations Program.)

Please contact Rev. Lewie Pell, lifetime youth worker, yogi, spoken word activist at for any reactions, suggestions.