Is there a ‘right way’ to think and live?

Although China has had many violent periods in its history, there have not been wars fought in the names of the different belief systems that we have studied. The different ways of living (Buddhist, Daoist, Confucian) have coexisted peacefully and complemented one another.

Following from this, we discussed whether there is a ‘right way’ to think and live, which feels like an important question to ask at a time when London and many other parts of the world are subject to terrorist violence.

Here’s a selection of thoughts from the class. The general feeling seems to be ‘yes,’ there is a right and a wrong way, but not just one right way, an infinite number of possibilities – and the world is better for this diversity. As Faith says, difference is a good thing not bad.

Kaliyah. There are definitely right and wrong ways of thinking and some people have definitely passed the limit; they have started to do things that are totally unnecessary: terrorist attacks and killing. There is definitely not just one right and wrong way of living because everybody is different and their brain has developed differently. If we tried to make everyone the same we would fail because we aren’t all the same.

Sylvie. Different people have different backgrounds and different experiences and no-one is the same so why should we try to force people into thinking one idea, to one peephole on the world. Life is much richer if there are more possibilities. There is a line – you cannot accept racism, sexism, violence etc. – but the world is complex and one plane of understanding would be strange, almost inhuman as everyone’s different.

Jim. I believe there kind of is a right and a wrong way of thinking and living but I feel there should be more than one right way. But you should be free to think what you want to an extent. As long as you follow the basic rules of law and rights I feel that is the right way. No one is the same so everyone has a different interpretation of life. Jacob picks up the point about the role law, saying ‘Maybe in some ways all people are the same because of laws but if it wasn’t for laws there would be war at least once a year.’

Emily. There is no right way to understand the world. Everyone has different experiences, so everyone will believe different things because no two people are exactly the same. So if you take an extremist/terrorist and ask why are they like that, because people are not born wanting to kill, it is the people around them and their experiences who shape who they are.

Olivia. We all have different experiences, so having one right way of thinking and living is basically impossible, and it would make our world boring, and no-one would learn from their mistakes, making us unintelligent creatures who do only one thing.

Myah. I think that the wrong way is saying things like everyone should be the same and no-one should be individual, and the right way is persuading people to think for themselves.

Faith. There are 100,000,000,000 ways of thinking. Some people believe in monsters and spirits, some don’t. Different people believe in different things. It would be weird if everyone was alike in the world – our memories are different. Difference is a good thing not bad.

We’d normally stay away from politics on this blog, and President Trump does not get a good press from many in 6CM, but a post today from daughter and adviser Ivanka Trump, in response to the latest violence in London, feels helpful to our discussion.  She wrote: “Even if my neighbor doesn’t understand my religion or understand my politics, he can understand my story. If he can understand my story, then he’s never too far from me. It is always within my power to build a bridge. There is always a chance for reconciliation, a chance that one day he and I will sit around a table together and put an end to our history of clashes. And on this day, he will tell me his story and I will tell him mine.”

 

 

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Art in the summer sunshine

Year 6 spread themselves, in the summer sunshine, along the length of the school’s bamboo hedge and made beautiful monoprints of the bamboo, using the handle end of paint brushes and palette knives to scrape images of the stems and leaves onto an inky surface and then print onto white paper.  Here are  prints from Rayyan, Reaiah, Patrick, Faisal, Sonny, Sarafina, Nina, Olivia, Emily, Nathan and Sylvie.

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Ancient Chinese wisdom

We’ve been continuing learning about ways of thinking and living in China.  Here are some of 6CM’s interpretations of ancient proverbs from the Dao De Jing.

Dao de jing

The wise man is one who knows what he does not know

  • No-one knows everything in the world so we should learn. (Nathan)
  • If you think you know everything and don’t listen, you won’t know everything, because everyone has their own talents and life experiences, so everyone is worth listening to and an intelligent person will know that. (Emily)
  • It means that you might think you know a lot but there is more you need to know. (Reaiah)

The truth is not always beautiful nor beautiful words the truth.

  • It means the truth can be horrible.  And not everything is good.  It also means that just because something sounds the way you want it to sound, it does not mean it is true. (Jim)
  • I think that it means that the truth can be anything; maybe you won’t like the truth, but you have to accept it.  You can’t change it or shape it how you want it – it doesn’t have to be beautiful, but it’s still the only truth. (Sarafina)
  • When someone tells you something, it won’t always come out how you want it. (Nathan)

Do you have the patience to wait until the mud settles and the water is clear?

  • Sometimes your mind gets clouded up with things and feelings, which can be confusing, but if you wait, eventually things will settle and come clear and show you what to do.  (Ellie)

A journey of 1000 miles begins where you stand

  • Every journey has a beginning – no matter how far or how big it may seem, there is always a first step. (Nina)

Fill your bowl to the brim and it will spill.  Keep sharpening your knife and it will blunt

  • You can only do so much.  If you keep trying so hard to make it good, it will turn bad.  When you strive for perfection, it will never be perfect.   Everything has balance. You do this; this will happen. (Sarafina)
  • I think this means you should never have too much of anything, you should have the right amount of it and your life will be good.  Also, if you try too hard to find perfection your attempts might turn against you, making your life worse. (Olivia)

When you are content to be simply yourself and don’t compare or compete, everyone will respect you.

  • Just be yourself around other people and then they will like you because you don’t try to change who you are. (Faisal)

The Dao

In our project on ways of thinking and living in China, we are trying to open our minds to new ideas and ways of understanding the world.

Is this a good or a bad place for a tree to grow?  Ask your children to give you the Daoist perspective!
tree on rock

Here are some of the class’s thoughts on the unfathomable “Dao” and the yin and yang.   They said the Dao is

– how we are all connected to nature and everything around us (Olivia)
– the rhythm of nature and Earth (Sarafina)
– the way of life and nature (Kaliyah)
– a big world, small people (Reaiah).

On Yin and Yang, that they
– show how even opposite things need each other…. how everything in life is linked (Olivia)
– are opposites but need to be in balance to be right (Ignas)
– are the balance in the world (Ellie)
– show how opposites cannot live without one another (Kyrell).

 

Somebody or nobody

6CM performed a class poem entitled Somebody or nobody at this morning’s Rosendale ‘poetry slam’ hosted by poet and rapper Breis.

 

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We used Emily Dickinson’s I’m Nobody! and Muhammad Ali’s Last night I had a dream as inspiration and wrote poems about being a ‘somebody’ or a ‘nobody’.  There are a series of poems that respond to one another.  Breis gave special mention to Myah (for her performance) and Jim, Archie and Nathan (for their words).  Later, Breis came into the classroom and read the children’s poems back to them – which was exciting to listen to.

Here are the poems in the order they were performed.

Somebody or nobody?

Why be somebody
When you can be nobody.
Why have fame
And have many know your name.
Why not be backstage –
Instead of in spotlight’s cage.
So why be somebody,
When you can be nobody?

Nina, Olivia and Sylvie

I love to be in the spotlight
I love to have fortune and fame
I love to be up on stage in sight
So people can call out my name.
I love luxury and riches
No matter the cost or price
Sometimes it lands me in stiches
But I don’t mind rolling the dice.

Nell and Sarafina

Sometimes it’s nice to be simple
Who needs fame and fortune
Just to live a simple life
And one you won’t regret.
Who needs to be in the newspaper
Who needs to be on TV
Just live a life – a simple life
And that’s the one for me.

Ellie

I’m great, unlike you!

You crumble like cake
You got jealous of my hair
Whilst you wear a wig
Like Donald Trump
You think you’re so big
I’ll get you a grave to dig
And your wallet’s getting thinner
Mine’s bigger
Like my lyrics

Archie and Jim

We are cool
We left school
We lurk late
We strike straight
We sing sin
We drink gin
We jazz in June
We will die soon.

Caspar and Mohammed

My name’s Nathan
My cut stings
Like a bee
I’m just a wannabee
Stop trying to steal my sweets!
You can’t see me
In my lambourghini
Which is black
I’m black
I’m invisible
So you can’t see me
So stop trying
I’m perfect
So crown me.

Nathan

The spotlight shines on you
For you crave it.
You are a somebody
You hate the gloom
And I’m a nobody
At the back of the room
Watching you walk
Listening to you croak your name.

Ignas

I’m angry, I’m angry
And I just can’t keep it in
I wanna scream and shout
I really wanted to win
Then rain falls down
Filling my shoes to the brim.
How lonely I am
As the anger kicks in.

I’m angry, I’m angry
My life is a lie
My brain keeps teasing me
I wish I could die!
I am so weary
I sleep in day
And wake up to the sound of a light.

I’m happy, I’m happy
I’ve just had an idea
How about I make some friends
And do it with cheer.
Little did I know,
There was someone at the door,
And I didn’t hear.

Myah

Last week’s writing – Olivia, Myah and Meshach

Here are extracts from Olivia, Myah and Meshach’s ‘warning stories’.  Have a read and comment during independent learning next week.  What do you think of these pieces of writing?  What are some of the writing skills your classmates are demonstrating?  Perhaps go back and have another look at your own story and reflect on whether there’s anything you might add or change if you wrote it again.

Here’s Olivia starting the story off:

“Don’t go near the river,” said my mother as she put juicy, delicious-looking strawberries inside my picnic basket.  “Don’t worry, I won’t,” I said solemnly, as she held out the basket.  “Good,” she said.  “It’s too dangerous.”  I nodded and looked out of the window – it was a hot, sunny summer’s day.

Half an hour later, I was walking excitedly through the woods.  The sun was very hot; the sunlight touched every single tree-top, making the bushy foliage even more green.  I could hear birds chirping and insects buzzing as if they were having a party – I was in paradise.

A refreshing breeze danced around the tree, making the leaves rattle.  I looked around.  The massive oaks were like giants standing in the humid ground; they looked as if they were 500 years old because of their strong, ancient-looking trunks and boughs.  I imagined one of the trees telling stories about the past and all of the things it might have seen: knights, horses, carriages, princes and princesses, other trees being burnt in the Great Fire of London or felled to make enormous ships for Nelson’s navy; it might have seen planes and bombs flying ahead in World War II, or even the 100 years war!  So much history in just one of these majestic trees!   How marvelous it might be to live for so long, I thought.  Before I carried on with my adventure, I hugged the tree; its warm bark pressed against my skin, making me smile.  I wished I could live in the woods…

Myah moving the story on:

Giving the tree a big hug to say goodbye, I set off to go and explore more.  As I ran through the meadow, it seemed like there was a ripple-effect of dandelions springing to life. Every time butterflies were nearby, it was as if the wind was creating a path for them.  As I made my way to the river, I found a rare white albino squirrel leaping from tree to tree with its young.  

There was something about the river that made it seem so inviting – maybe it was the reflection of the sun shining on the surface.  I felt like dipping my toes into the water, just to feel what it was like, but then I could hear Nzinga’s voice dancing around, saying not to go in.  Yet it looked safe where I was.  What could go wrong?

As I flung off my plimsolls, I couldn’t help but feel guilty for what I was doing – sneaking into the river.  When I jumped in, there was a sensation sliding down my back, making me shiver with fear.  I waded in deeper and deeper.  The further I got, the faster the current went.

 

And Meshach bringing it to a conclusion.  Do you think there is a final sentence or short paragraph that Meshach could add to round the story off?

I stepped on something hard and sharp.  I yelled for help but nobody was around so I fell.  I really wished I had listened to my Auntie because the water got deeper and deeper until I couldn’t touch the bottom.  My mouth was full of water so I couldn’t shout – I was going so fast it felt like I was going at 60 miles per hour.  When I opened my eyes, I could see fish, rocks and junk.  Then I had a vision that I was being saved by the tree.  I suddenly opened my eyes – I couldn’t remain any longer under water or I would drown…

 

Macbeth’s sililoquy – the girls

We’ve really enjoyed studying Macbeth.  Here are some of the sililoquies that Shakespeare might have written… look out for Temmyyaa’s BRILLIANT AND HILARIOUS Scottish accent and some wonderful dramatic performances

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