with Sally Zeiner
For the final philosophy class of the semester, each student shared his or her own written reflection on the virtue of their choosing. We asked one another questions to clarify, and sometimes we changed our minds. This exercise encapsulated the most valuable things we have learned this semester: define your terms carefully, listen to one another, ask questions, give examples, and be willing to change your mind. The students have begun to develop these very important skills. I hope they will have the opportunity to continue to develop them in P4C in the future!
Here are two of the reflection pieces submitted for publication:
Courage is not something that goes when you’re scared and comes back again. It's always there, you just don’t always use it. There are two kinds of courage within courage: bad courage and dumb courage. Good courage is courage itself, doing something without a really big risk, but still a risk all the same. Sometimes good courage can be doing something you’re scared to do, and overcoming a fear, and sometimes good courage doesn’t have a risk at all. Bad courage is doing a courageous thing, for an evil deed. Other than that it is just the same as good courage. Dumb courage, on the other hand, isn’t courage at all. Dumb courage is doing something that’s so dangerous, it’s stupid, like climbing Mt. Everest when you know you won’t survive. My example is that Violet is courageous when she takes charge of leading her people to a different land. She shows leadership and believes that she will someday find a new home. Anger can sometimes cause courage, but so can love. In Iron hearted Violet, most of the courage was caused by love. Violet had it, Demetrius had it, and Dragon had it, and they couldn’t have done anything without this courageous love.
Last week we talked about all the different virtues we have: love, strength, honesty, etc. Well, I’m here to tell you there is only one, and that is love. Dragons had been treated with cruelty for millennia. One dragon was willing to throw it all away, forget all the cruelty, because Violet loved and trusted him. He repaid her with love and trust. This love and trust developed everything. This love and trust between Violet and the dragon saved humanity - the willingness to fly into the mirrored rim of the sky and sacrifice himself to save Violet. Love fits under every virtue because strength takes love, honesty takes love. That is all love. That’s what this whole story is about, isn’t it? One creature overcoming a mountain of hatred with a strong love for a small girl.