Civil Discourse, Democracy, and Schoolchildren

Maira Kalman Image

Please visit this beautiful piece by Maira Kalman called "So Moved" that appeared in the New York Times last week.  Notice comment #117 from Parker Palmer!

"Thank you, Maira Kalman, for connecting the town meeting in Vermont with the student council at P.S. 47 via images and insights that make me smile, get a little damp-eyed, remember and think. 'So moved,' indeed! Alexis de Tocqueville was 'the man' not only because he praised America’s women for the way they help knit democracy together, but because he said that democracy would rise or fall depending on the ”habits of the heart“ we cultivate in ourselves and our relationships. Alexis would be heartened, as I am, by the youngsters in the Bronx and the elders in Newfane who 'speak their mind with grace and civility' and 'listen with respect.' If more of us would cultivate those habits of the heart at home, in the workplace and in the public arena, we could contribute to reknitting the tattered fabric of democracy. Absent grace, civility and respect, the public conversation on which democracy depends dies out as we retreat to our bunkers. Thanks to you, the Vermonters and the schoolchildren for reminding us that there is a better way."

— Parker J. Palmer

If you are interested in cultivating the "habits of the heart" Parker mentions in your own life and your own community, please check out our retreat calendar for an event near you.


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