If Being A Catholic Worker Farm Is Not About Educating Character, Then It Is Not About Anything At All

Passing on information about certain definite things, or the possibility of things, does not educate anyone.  Education illuminates the consequences of people’s actions.

It is incredibly easier to pass information on to people.  This is a 2.  This is a 2.  Set both 2’s side-by-side and you have a 4.  But it does not work that way when teaching consequences.  Explaining why war is wicked only makes smirks spread on the lips of the aggressors in the audience.

Being a Catholic Worker farm is about being fully alive.  It is not about harkening back to a notion, nor ahead.  On this farm we endeavour to live in an integrated way.  Soil.  Animals.  Air.  Plants.  Water.  People.  The manner in which we work with these elicits consequences for sustainability, community, compassion, justice, God.  By teasing these out of life at its roots, we come to be better skilled in responding to a larger system in a more life-giving, sustained, non-isolated manner.  Educating character on the farm teaches us better how to educate character at a more complex level off the farm, and gets beyond the isolating and individualistic explanation of things and reactions to things and the possibilities of things as things.

P1010562A house may be a home.  A business may be a way to generate a salary.  But there is a marketed difference between painting the bathroom floor in a home, and painting the bathroom floor of a business, and painting the bathroom floor on this farm, even though the tools and the paint and the mechanics of doing so for all intents and purposes look the same to the casual observer because doing so here is related to everything else here and so is anything but mundane or tedious or perfunctory.

 

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Regard For The Soil (Maurin)

1. Andrew Nelson Lytle says:
The escape from industrialism
is not in socialism
or in sovietism.

2. The answer lies
in a return to a society
where agriculture is practised
by most of the people.

3. It is in fact impossible
for any culture
to be sound and healthy
without a proper regard
for the soil,
no matter
how many urban dwellers
think that their food
comes from groceries
and delicatessens
or their milk from tin cans.

4. This ignorance
does not release them
from a final dependence
upon the farm.

Professors Of A Farming Commune (Maurin)

1. Professors of a Farming Commune
do not look for endowments;
they look for manual labor.

2. Professors of a Farming Commune
do not tell their students
what to do;
they show them
how to do it.

3. Professors of a Farming Commune
do not enable their students
to master subjects;
they enable them
to master situations.

4. Professors of a Farming Commune
do not teach their students
how to make
profitable deals;
they teach them
how to realize
worthy ideals.