There’s an old saying originating somewhere that goes, “Educate a devil and you don’t get a saint; you get a clever devil”.
At Staff Chapel to commence Term 2 Jane Edwards, as Preparatory School RAVE Teacher, led reflections noting the outcomes of the 1942 Berlin Wannsee Conference. Sitting at the table were 15 men, more than half of whom held PhDs and a further eight participants had the highest university degree attainable. Several others held masters and undergraduate degrees. Their combined effort was to discuss the implementation of ‘The Final Solution’ by Nazi Germany, the Reich’s plan for the extermination of more than six million Jewish people.
The purpose of Jane's reflections was to highlight that education without care, education without compassion, education without love is lacking. An excerpt of a letter written by a Holocaust survivor to educators, published in “Teacher and Child” by Dr. Haim Ginott, child psychologist and author says:
“I am a survivor of a concentration camp. My eyes saw what no person should witness. So, I am suspicious of education. My request is: Help your children become human. Your efforts must never produce learned monsters, skilled psychopaths or educated Eichmanns. Reading, writing, and arithmetic are important only if they serve to make our children more human.”
Our purpose here at Westminster must always be greater than generating a knowledge base or the skills to find employment and make money. It has to include the formation of rounded, balanced individuals, to help our young people towards a “good life”. This is why we do Chapel each week, why we teach Religious and Values Education, and why faith is acknowledged in our midst. It is necessary to be fully human.
Rev Phil Hoffmann