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A New Way to Look at Grieving

What if we viewed all of life’s hardships as natural, and took it as normal that our struggles with them should be tackled in full view of and with open support from our friends, family, neighbors and co-workers?

passengers pull together to hoist a sail

Just as a sail is too heavy to hoist alone, grief is too heavy to bear alone.

I got to thinking about this after I heard Alix Spiegel on NPR report on how differently Japanese and Americans tackle classroom education. In America, the brightest student is held up for peer praise and respect, while the one struggling to learn is left alone, nearly shamed and shunned. In Japan, the student who is having the most difficulty is brought before the class and learns in front of his peers, with their encouragement. They all share in the student’s accomplishment of conquering the difficult lesson. Struggling to learn is seen as a natural part of the journey to become educated.

I am struck by two facts. One is the open acceptance of the struggle. The teacher and peers openly give their support and it is openly received by the student. The other is the recognition that learning is a journey and eventual success is expected and perhaps inevitable.  Continue reading

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