In Puerto Rico the Slavery Abolition Day is celebrated today, so I chose this day to write about… freedom. The theme of freedom can be talked in the classroom from many perspectives. I would like to talk about it now from a very particular perspective: the perspective of public service.
All true public servers ––as all teachers are called to be–– share a passionate call to making possible a free society for everyone: an open society where everyone can grow free, with dignity and fraternally, according to the best human growth possible…
This is very easy to say in ideal situations, I know… But what I ––as public server–– could say if I witness how people are constantly exploited, how children are constantly exploited in order to impose certain ideologies, how students are constantly manipulated in order to make them act in certain ways just to terrorize or cause stress or a distorted reality to someone else? This is an example of a non-ideal situation. What I am talking about is a modern slavery: students are recruited, taking advantage of a vulnerable position ––for example: having a disability, not having money to pay for other school, the parents being coerced to lose their jobs if they do not comply with the explotation, or just being a minor–– for the sole purpose of “ideological explotation”. This means: using children to create specific circumstances for projecting a reality that allows to promote certain ideologies. That may imply many things: creating circumstances that cause stress to people that do not live according to the ideologies that are being promoted, creating circumstances in which those that do not live according to the ideologies that are being promoted can’t function normally or even in a healthy way (this means, for example: creating circumstances that may make the impression that a person has mental health problems ––just for the purpose of creating the impression that that person is a non-credible person–– through creating an unhealthy environment around the person), create circumstances in which only those that live according the ideologies that are being promoted can function normally and even excel…
There is another name for this: human trafficking, the use of human beings for controlling ideas, the use of children for ideological exploitation. This could happen to anyone, but it is not the same ––not the same at all–– when an adult is used for ideological exploitation than when a child is used for ideological exploitation. Both are a human trafficking situation, but children are more vulnerable, especially if they are not even old enough to being conscious of the ideological exploitation they are being part of, or if they have a disability that makes impossible to being conscious of what is going on, no matter how old they are.
What would I say to children in those circumstances?
Actually, this could apply to any person that is ideologically exploited…
Now I can’t just talk as a teacher or as a public server. The only way I can talk about this also includes my vocation as Christian to radiate God’s Love.
The first thing I would say to children and persons in these circumstances is: I am sorry you are through this. I am really sorry that you are being used the way you are used, because you are not a tool to be used: you are a beautiful human being who deserves to be cherished and loved unconditionally. You don’t deserve to be a slave of an ideology. You don’t deserve to be educated only according to what is convenient to promote certain ideologies and in the way that is convenient to promote certain ideologies. You don’t deserve to be reduced to what is convenient to some other else. You deserve to be happy, free and educated in an environment where you are allowed to grow according to your best human growth possible. You deserve to receive all the resources you need to thrive just because who you are, not only because how useful you could be for an ideological agenda. You are citizens that deserve to be defended and respected as human beings, with human rights that should be respected unconditionally by everyone, especially by those who have the duty to protect you and to affirm those rights, and instead use you to promote ideological agendas. Above all, you are a beloved sons or daughters of God that are called to be the best persons you can be, not called to only being allowed to behave in whatever way is convenient to any ideological agenda.
I am sorry. I am truly, deeply sorry that you are being ideologically exploited…
But in a circumstance like that one, being sorry would not be enough. In the face of a human rights violation being sorry is not enough: action is needed… but what kind of action?
The needed action in a circumstance like this one is clear: making possible a free society in which those children can grow as human beings, citizens and sons and daughters of God, not as victims of ideological exploitation. This kind of action is affirmative ––it does not answer violence with violence, or dehumanization with dehumanization…––, and it can be done even if the own students deny the exploitation they are being subject of because it simply affirms their humanity unconditionally, it doesn’t depend on their behavior.
As a matter of fact, I think that every public server and every Christian is called to serve the common good in this way: through making possible a free society in which everyone can grow as a human being, as a citizen and as a son or daughter of God. John F. Kennedy said: “And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.” I say: And so, my fellow brothers and sisters, ask not what your society can do for you, but what you can do for your society”. I know what I can do for my society, for my culture and for my nation: making possible an open and free society in which everyone can grow as a human being, as a fellow citizen and as a son or daughter of God.
As a Christian, my way of doing is through radiating God’s Love in every concrete circumstance. I believe that God’s Love is the only force that can be able to abolish any kind of slavery. I believe that when we incarnate God’s Love we can be able to abolish all kind of slaveries, including ideological dictatorship. I believe that is my duty, both as public server and as Christian, to make that happen, to never conform with evilness, corruption, abuse of power, coercion; to seek how to serve God, the family I am called to create and the common good in every circumstance… no matter what. I mean: no matter what it may cost, is my duty to make possible a free society where everyone can grow as a brother and a sister, a society where I can adore God “with the whole growth”. This requires further explication to be understood.
I have prayed many times that God ––imagined as “Jesus Charity”–– asks to be adored “with the whole growth”. This means, of course, that I am called to adore him with my own whole growth: through creating with my own whole personal formation a living icon of God’s Love and becoming who He calls me to be. However, adoring God with the whole growth does not only refers to my own growth. It also includes all my brothers and sister’s growth, it also means the whole society’s growth: adoring God with the whole growth also means to adore Him through making possible that everyone can grow as a son and a daughter of God, according to the dignity He had given unconditionally to every human being.
So, no matter what I am doing, where I am doing what I am doing, how I am doing what I am doing… the focus is the same: adoring God with the whole growth and radiating His Love in a way that all the light and all the freedom He gives so generously and so tenderly is radiated as a gift of life, truth and plenitude, not only to me, but for all, creating a growth society, a life culture, a nation of Love that grows in communion… for everyone, not matter what. It doesn’t matter if some don’t like me. It doesn’t matter if some don’t think like me. It doesn’t matter if some don’t agree with me. It doesn’t matter even if some are complicit and promote torture tactics against me because they are told or forced to do so… We are all brothers and sisters, and we are all called to grow in communion, and only through radiating God’s Love unconditionally that can be possible, no matter what.
Today, the day we celebrate the abolition of slavery, is a great day to affirm this truth: we are all called to make this possible. We are all called to make possible a society where everyone can grow as a brother and a sister, as a human being with equal human rights and as a citizen that is not slaved by the ideological agendas of some. We are all called to make visible the light of God’s Love with all the consequences it may imply, to live God’s charity in a radical way, in a way that liberates everyone, that illuminates the whole society and brings a better future for everyone, especially for all children, who deserve it most. We, as adults, owe them a better world, a society full of life, truth, justice, peace, fraternity, beauty, joy, compassion and values that shape a freedom full of meaning; a freedom that does not only seek the sake of the own interests and benefits; a freedom that is capable of giving free life to others and of giving the life for others as Jesus did, as a service to God, to the Church ––His Bride–– and to the common good; a freedom that is capable of always choose to love as God love us, to illuminate as God illuminate us, to liberate as God liberate us… Values that shape a “growth freedom”: a freedom that creates the best growth possible for everyone, a freedom that assumes all the duties and responsibilities that is called to assume in order to make possible a society where everyone can grow according to his or her God-given human dignity. This is the freedom that I believe in: a growth freedom, a freedom that helps to grow, not a “freedom” where anything can be done and controlled according to the law of the strongest, where only some ––those who are useful according to the ideological agenda–– are allowed to grow, and even when allowed to grow, they are allowed to do it only in the way that is convenient to the ideological agenda. We are all called to eradicate all kinds of ideological dictatorships, along all kinds of modern slaveries that impede the best growth possible for everyone, with a public service that radiates growth freedom to the whole society, with all the consequences it may imply.
Let’s make that possible. Let’s ask ourselves: how I am called, in this here and in this now, to let the light of God’s Love radiate my own heart, and so everything around me? How I am called, right now, to share all the life, all the fullness and all the freedom that God’s Love brings, breaking all slaveries and all oppressions that corrupt my society and inhibit a growth freedom? How I am called, exactly where I am, to share the consecration of charity ––the consecration to adore God with the whole growth–– that makes possible the fullest growth possible for everyone?
Let’s keep growing!