Thursday, November 24, 2016

bell hooks, Philosopher

Our current Philosophy topic is "Friendship" and our philosopher is bell hooks. On Friday, I introduced the work of this wonderful woman. Students were fascinated by her perspective on love, friendship, and community. bell hooks comes to us at a perfect time, given that it is Thanksgiving. And Friendship is an important lifelong skill for all ages... and Philosophy is more key to daily life than some people think! We recently had a schism in our homeschool co-op over whether or not there is inherent human worth in all people. One family chose to leave, to say that all people should treat THEM with compassion and respect, but to refuse to treat others with compassion and respect if they decide that a person is undeserving.

Personally, I think that every child is born with a golden heart. I also think that everyone deserves compassion and respect, that everyone can be redeemed, and that it is our responsibility to not give up on others. Happily, the co-op is voluntary on my part and also on theirs, and everyone can feel completely free to make their own decisions. Besides the $250.00 materials fee due at the start of the school year, the co-op tuition is week to week.

Little Big Minds: Sharing Philosophy with Kids

Here are my favorite bell hoooks quotes from All About Love: New Visions:

    "When we face pain in relationships our first response is often to sever bonds rather than to maintain commitment."

    "True love does have the power to redeem but only if we are ready for redemption. Love saves us only if we want to be saved."

    "All too often women believe it is a sign of commitment, an expression of love, to endure unkindness or cruelty, to forgive and forget. In actuality, when we love rightly we know that the healthy, loving response to cruelty and abuse is putting ourselves out of harm's way."

    "Our hearts connect with lots of folks in a lifetime but most of us will go to our graves with no experience of true love."

    "Individuals who want to believe that there is no fulfillment in love, that true love does not exist, cling to these assumptions because this despair is actually easier to face than the reality that love is a real fact of life but is absent from their lives."

    "The wounded child inside many males is a boy who, when he first spoke his truths, was silenced by paternal sadism, by a patriarchal world that did not want him to claim his true feelings. The wounded child inside many females is a girl who was taught from early childhood that she must become something other than herself, deny her true feelings, in order to attract and please others. When men and women punish each other for truth telling, we reinforce the notion that lies are better. To be loving we willingly hear the other’s truth, and most important, we affirm the value of truth telling. Lies may make people feel better, but they do not help them to know love."

    "Contrary to what we may have been taught to think, unnecessary and unchosen suffering wounds us but need not scar us for life. It does mark us. What we allow the mark of our suffering to become is in our own hands."

    "Relationships are treated like Dixie cups. They are the same. They are disposable. If it does not work, drop it, throw it away, get another. Committed bonds (including marriage) cannot last when this is the prevailing logic."

    "Many of us seek community solely to escape the fear of being alone. Knowing how to be solitary is central to the art of loving. When we can be alone, we can be with others without using them as a means of escape."

    "One of the best guides to how to be self-loving is to give ourselves the love we are often dreaming about receiving from others. There was a time when I felt lousy about my over-forty body, saw myself as too fat, too this, or too that. Yet I fantasized about finding a lover who would give me the gift of being loved as I am. It is silly, isn't it, that I would dream of someone else offering to me the acceptance and affirmation I was withholding from myself. This was a moment when the maxim 'You can never love anybody if you are unable to love yourself' made clear sense. And I add, 'Do not expect to receive the love from someone else you do not give yourself.' "

    "We fear that evaluating our needs and then carefully choosing partners will reveal that there is no one for us to love. Most of us prefer to have a partner who is lacking than no partner at all. What becomes apparent is that we may be more interested in finding a partner than in knowing love."

    "To love well is the task in all meaningful relationships, not just romantic bonds."

    "Giving generously in romantic relationships, and in all other bonds, means recognizing when the other person needs our attention. Attention is an important resource."

    "It still took years for me to let go of learned pattern's of behavior that negated my capacity to give and receive love. One pattern that made the practice of love especially difficult was my constantly choosing to be with men who were emotionally wounded, who were not that interested in loving, even though they desired to be loved. I wanted to know love but was afraid to be intimate. By choosing men who were not interested in being loving, I was able to practice giving love but always within an unfufilling context. Naturally, my need to receive love was not met. I got what I was accustomed to getting. Care and affection, usually mingled with a degree of unkindness, neglect, and on some occasions, out right cruelty."

    "A generous heart is always open, always ready to receive our going and coming. In the midst of such love we need never fear abandonment. This is the most precious gift true love offers - the experience of knowing we always belong."

    "Choosing to be honest is the first step in the process of love. There is no practitioner of love who deceives. Once the choice has been made to be honest, then the next step on love's path is communication."

    "In patriarchal culture men are especially inclined to see love as something they should receive without expending effort. More often than not they do not want to do the work that love demands. When the practice of love invites us to enter a place of potential bliss that is at the same time a place of critical awakening and pain, many of us turn our backs on love."

    "Abuse and neglect negate love. Care and affirmation, the opposite of abuse and humiliation, are the foundation of love. No one can rightfully claim to be loving when behaving abusively."

    "Women are often belittled for trying to resurrect these men and bring them back to life and to love. They are in a world that would be even more alienated and violent if caring women did not do the work of teaching men who have lost touch with themselves how to love again. This labor of love is futile only when the men in question refuse to awaken, refuse growth. At this point it is a gesture of self-love for women to break their commitment and move on."

Yesterday evening we had a little girl over to spend the night, and she and my children had a very happy time. They played Skippity and Clue. They played dress up with play silks and costume jewelry. They helped me cook!

Dinner was Cajun Kidney Bean Chili & toppings (avocado, tomato, green onions, cheddar cheese, sour cream), Cornbread Squares, and dessert.

Breakfast was almond flour pancakes, Cranberry Muffins, and fresh fruit.

We adapted this Cajun Kidney Bean Chili recipe slightly, by doubling the vegetables and beans but keeping the spices the same. And adding beef.

    Cajun Kidney Bean Chili

    Put 1 lb. ground beef in a large cast iron Dutch oven. Break it up and let it begin to brown. Add fresh veggies:

      2 medium yellow onions, chopped
      2 medium red bell peppers, chopped
      3 cloves garlic, diced finely

    When the beef is browned and the veggies are tender, add the beans, tomatoes and spices:

      2 15 oz. cans light red kidney beans
      2 15 oz. cans diced tomatoes with juice, plus 1 can of water
      1 T chili powder
      1 tsp smoked paprika
      1 tsp ground cumin
      1/2 tsp dried thyme
      1/2 tsp dried oregano
      1/2 tsp fennel seeds
      1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

    Simmer for 20 minutes or until cornbread is done.

    Cornbread Squares
    I searched all over and cannot find this recipe anywhere online, so I am including it here. It is incredibly moist and will be very wet when you put it in the pan. But it bakes up deliciously!

    In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients:

      1 cup yellow cornmeal
      1/4 cup whole wheat flour
      2 tsp baking powder
      1/2 tsp salt
      1/4 tsp baking soda

    In a small bowl, combine the wet ingredients:

      1 egg, lightly beaten
      8 oz plain yogurt
      1/2 cup milk or cream
      1/4 cup vegetable oil
      1/4 cup honey

    Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients until just moistened. Do not overmix. Pour into 8 inch square greased baking dish. Bake at 425 degrees for 16-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

No comments: