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Living Lives of Meaning, Without Regret

October 25, 2013

MarkellStAndrews1

The St. Andrew’s community was privileged to hear two speakers this week reminding us of our connection to Delaware and the larger world around us.  Both individuals gave a relevance to our classes, relationships and community service; they challenged us to work hard and listen empathetically.

On Wednesday night, University of Delaware professor Dr. Muqtadar Kahn returned for the third time to speak in Chapel.  A national and international expert on the Middle East, Dr. Kahn’s message of integrity and hope resonated powerfully with our students. He reminded us that all visionaries had a rebellious faith within them, and that we must marshal that energy and commitment for the betterment of others.  At one point this summer, Dr. Kahn and another scholar were engaged in a serious debate through social media about who was to blame for the violence in Egypt after President Morsi’s departure. Dr. Kahn admitted to us that when he discovered that this other scholar’s son was killed in the violence, he realized his thinking about this national situation had to be refocused to this man’s personal tragedy.  He urged us to remember the people involved in these conflicts, and to try to find ways to communicate more effectively with those we oppose.

On Thursday at School Meeting, Gov. Jack Markell of Delaware spoke to the community. His basic message to the students — that they must work hard to seize their chance in this global world — exemplified why determination and grit are crucial to the work of our classrooms. Gov. Markell also made reference to Martin Luther King’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” to illustrate the necessity for engaged, positive action.

In the aftermath of Parents Weekend, a time naturally devoted to families and individual student work, these two speakers trained our eyes and minds outward.  They helped us see the relevance of our religion classes and history classes like “Middle East”; they affirmed the students’ commitment to community service; they showed us the necessity of a diverse student body living in a residential community; they encouraged us to wrestle vigorously with the core questions of our classes; they reminded us to live lives of meaning, without regret.

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