Monday, March 29, 2010

Monday Mashup...

A light news day and rainy weather has led me to the conclusion its time for a grab bag post.

The saving grace of this rainy weather nonsense is that since it is rain (and not snow), I can be grateful it's spring and no longer winter. Flowers are starting to bloom; the daffodils at the MSPCA are abundant despite the constant visits from dogs' lifted legs. And it's always this time of year I wish I had some green space of my own. I want a garden. Badly.

I grew up in the country and got to see the wonders of plants shooting out of the ground and bearing either blooms or something yummy to eat. A lot of kids don't get that experience nowadays, which is sad. What is cool is kids at Princeton Public High School are now getting physical education credits for gardening. According to the Green Inc. blog on the New York Times, students have the choice between gardening in one of the 16 raised beds built last fall or participating in a traditional P.E. activity. The departments of the school have gotten into the act, each taking a bed and planting seeds that relate to their subject. The science department is planning to study which plants prevent erosion, while, get this, the guidance office is planting aromatics known for their calming powers...

The encouragement of gardening in schools would probably be something that would factor into the next story from The Walrus. Bhutan's king declared in 1987 that "gross national happiness is more important that gross national product." He has since abdicated in favor of a constitutional monarchy, and Prime Minister Jigmi Y. Thinley has taken up the mantle of promoting national happiness. Thinley enlisted two dozen holistic educators from around the world to design a Gross National Happiness (GNH)-based curriculum for the school system. Thinley hopes this new system turns out graduates who are “more human beings, with human values, that give importance to relationships, that are eco-literate, contemplative, analytical" who know that their happiness is tied up with the happiness of the rest of the world.

The reason Thinley convened the workshop of educators was to ground the curriculum without the use of partisan politics. Now I usually avoid politics and religion with a passion on this site since they the capacity to make people very unhappy. But I wanted to post this last story, from the New York Times, about the Seder in the White House since Passover starts tonight at sundown.

I liked that the White House Seder tradition started with Jewish men on the campaign trail but has expanded to include members of the staff who are not Jewish. I think this is a nice story of people of different faiths coming together to both celebrate and learn more about religion.

(My apologies on the lack of photo; Blogger simply was not cooperating.)

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