edu180atl: billy peebles 9.2.11
We have begun “People of the Book,” with readings about Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mohandas Gandhi. Gandhi’s concept of “soul force” and his commitment to nonviolent protest and civil disobedience profoundly influenced Dr. King in his leadership of the Civil Rights movement.
Recently, though, our discussion has focused on what King and Gandhi saw as the fundamental purpose of life. For Dr. King, “the end of life is to do the will of God, come what may” and for Gandhi, the ultimate goal of life is to know one’s self, to discover truth, to seek “the all pervading Spirit of Truth that is in us all.”
I was blown away by the insights offered by our students as they discussed these two transformational leaders. In their oral comments and in their writing, students articulated penetrating thoughts about the inextricable relationship King and Gandhi saw between truth, God, and love. They inspired one another and my co-teacher and me with their grasp of the idea—an idea passionately embraced by King and Gandhi—that suffering and service to the enduring principles of truth and love will ultimately redeem us. As one student put it, these two leaders show us that hatred and injustice can be defeated and redeemed “with love.”
In these last couple of days, my students have lifted me through their deep understanding of the power of lives lived in service to ceaseless searching for what is right and true.
Billy Peebles is in his 9th year as Headmaster and religion teacher at the Lovett School in Atlanta, Georgia.