Skype-With-Webcam Session and
From my perspective, and Alan's, it worked. But how did the students feel about our online session and the book? Alan's next assignment to the class was this:
Having read Cop's Getting a Life: Strategies for Joyful and Effective Living, having perused his WisdomPage.com, having conversed with him via Skype in class, as well as having written an essay and some talking points on wisdomnow please share with Cop something you make of what you've learned or are still learning. Write to give him some feedback from your perspective regarding his project of helping humanity to wise up.
Reading the letters from these bright and articulate young people was a delight. Whether the student brought up points of agreement or points of difference, every letter was a sincere, personal expression from the heart. I responded, both to the class as a whole and to each student individually. The students agreed to have their letters and my responses posted on The Wisdom Page, and they all appear below. The students and I hope that you enjoy the letters and our exchange of thoughts about life and wisdom.
Copthorne "Cop" Macdonald
April 11, 2010
In response to your †thoughtful and heartfelt letters I will be writing to each of you individually.† But I also want to express my appreciation to the class as a whole, both for your attention to the material as the course progressed and for those amazing letters.†
Whether you and I were in agreement or disagreement didnít matter.† What did matter to me is that each of you is alive, aware, and deeply engaged with life.† Your letters made that clear.† It is difficult being on the threshold of your 20s decade.† So many immediate challenges.† So many unknowns. Iíve been there too, of course, and the memories of that time of my life are fresh.†
As some of you pointed out, you canít expect 20-year-olds to find themselves at the far end of the wisdom spectrum.† I certainly donít expect it.† As the research of University of Florida wisdom scholar Monika Ardelt has pointed out, the wisest old people tend to be those who have had major life challenges and have managed to work through or around them.† Out of a challenge resolved comes a broadened view of how things work, a greater sense of personal empowerment, and increased confidence in oneís ability to face future challenges.† The 20s are a time of exploration, experimentation, and perhaps at some point, commitment to a passion.† Each of you shows every sign that you will be living this time intensely.† And to the extent that you live it attentively, in the learning mode, you will grow in wisdom, challenge by challenge.
Mary Oliver was a Pulitzer Prize winning American poet.† She ends her poem ďThe Summer DayĒ with a profound question.† I donít expect that you will be able to answer it today, but itís one of those questions, as Rilke suggested, that is worth living until the answer eventually comes.†
made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean--
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down,
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
All the best,