Habits of the Heart

In his most recent book, Healing the Heart of Democracy, Parker Palmer writes, “We can take a big step toward freeing teachers to help students with their ‘inner search’ by shaking off the mistaken notion that this is code language for the search for God.  Inner-life questions are the kind that our students (and their teachers and parents) ask regularly, with or without God talk…Creating conditions under which students can conduct an inner search does not mean dictating answers to inner-life questions, which by definition do not have answers in any conventional sense.  It means helping students learn how to ask questions that are worth asking because they are worth living, questions one can fruitfully hold at the center of one’s life.”

I put together a list of picture books for our church Sunday school that I think support discussion and exploration of the 5 habits of the heart Palmer describes.  A friend of mine who is a school librarian is looking to use them so I thought others might like to look at the list.  Many titles came to mind when I was working on this, I hope all of you will share your ideas as well.

First habit:  An understanding that we are all in this together or “I am a citizen of the world.  I can show care for people all around the world.”  Book idea:  Immi’s Gift by Karin Littlewood

Second habit: An appreciation of the value of “otherness” or “I can be friends with all kinds of people. Friendship is an amazing gift.”  Book idea:  Wave by Suzy Lee

Third habit: An ability to hold tension in life-giving ways or “I am unique, so are you.  I can learn something from our differences.”   Book idea: C.R. Mudgeon by Leslie Muir

Fourth habit: A sense of personal voice and agency or “I can make change happen.”  Book idea: The Curious Garden by Peter Brown

Fifth habit: A capacity to create community or “I can create a feeling of family with others.”  Book idea: The Old Woman Who Named Things by Cynthia Rylant

I have put together activities and creative projects for each title and am really excited to carry out this project.

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