2013 Jean Vanier video clips for Catholic and Faith-Based Schools
Jean Vanier - A Message to Educators in Catholic and Faith-based Schools
Jean Vanier sends a message to educators in Catholic and faith-based schools: The work you are doing is very important and is a real call from God. The children need you. The important thing is to bring life, to love the children, to respect them. Love is the heart of the Christian message. The Christian message is not about a lot of rules. It’s about revealing Jesus. His message was about love. Essentially, a teacher is someone who loves. Your role is about creating a community where each one is important. Of course there will those who are going through turmoil who appear to be difficult. They especially are crying out, “Does somebody love and understand me?” For you it is to be attentive to each one and thus to reveal to each one they are loved, so they also begin to love.
Damien Pot, a Canadian Grade 9 student, asks Jean Vanier about wisdom. Jean says that wisdom comes gradually by listening to people, especially people who have a different reality from us, and accepting reality--the reality of our world and our planet, and becoming conscious that this reality depends on us, that there are people who are destroying our planet through pride or greed. So, wisdom is being conscious of what is going on and understanding that we cannot do everything ourselves, but we can work together to bring change. Wisdom does not just belong to one person. It comes through being together.
Download PDF: Questions for “Jean Vanier & Damien on Wisdom”
Damien Pot, a Canadian Grade 9 student, asks Jean Vanier how he can become a good student leader. Jean says, first discover how beautiful you are--that you have capacities and gifts, and to develop these. Then you can help others see they their gifts and capacities, and to move from the ME to the WE. The danger for many young people is that they have no trust in themselves. Gradually, discover the trust you can have in yourself and then help others to discover this trust. Then it is possible to build a better classroom, school and world because, we are becoming sensitive to each other. Whatever the differences, we can build something together.
Canadian teacher Greg Rogers opens this video by mentioning a program the Toronto Catholic School Board runs for student leaders with disabilities (such as autism). Jean Vanier speaks about people with disabilities as having particular abilities--capacities to relate, and for goodness. They can become teachers and leaders. We need first to help these people see that they have real abilities, and then help others to accept people as they are. Those who think they have no disabilities in fact have many disabilities in their capacity to love and relate and be open. The world will become more beautiful as people come to accept each one as they are.
Canadian teacher Greg Rogers asks how can students build a school community where everyone belongs? Jean points out that we do not live all alone and that the whole vision of Jesus is to build a community, to love one another and create a unity and peace. This means accepting one another as different—men and women, people of different ethnic origins, religions, sexual orientations. Hitler wanted to kill people with different homosexual orientations, with handicaps, with mental illness, Jews, and Roma. This was the greatest tyranny of the 20th century. We are called to build democracy, to build places of unity and sharing. Each person is different but each has gifts, so to help each person to grow with their gifts so that we create a better world. In all of us there is violence, but violence comes when we are weak—too weak to speak. The opposite of violence is building, is acceptance, and discovering that there is violence in us but that it can be transformed into tenderness and love, which is a greater acceptance of every person as they are.
Greg Rogers of the Toronto Catholic board asks Jean Vanier what student leaders can do to open doors of faith for themselves and for others. Jean suggests first that students discover who they are--that they are more beautiful and capable than they believe, and that they have gifts, especially the gift of love, of accepting each person, and to let the gift of Jesus rise up in them so that they can love people and reveal to them how precious they are, and to call them also to be leaders, to share their gifts with others.
Jean Vanier says he finds it wonderful when people stand up and become leaders because they want to speak for truth and struggle for justice. He prays you will discover the life of Jesus in you and, like Jesus, go out to bring justice to our world, to help liberty to grow. There are so many who who have been pushed down, who are oppressed or suffer injustice. Help people to become free to grow, to love, free to live their faith, and then to help others to grow.
Jean Vanier addressed the 20,000 students at WE Day in Toronto on September 20, 2013. He says that we are each called to be peacemakers and to move beyond our own needs and wants to be concerned for others, to help others stand up. The greatness of a human being, he says, is to move from Me to We.
Download PDF: Questions on “Jean Vanier’s WE Day message (2013)”