Today we turn from truth and beauty to goodness, beautiful goodness, living the truth in love. Today we begin a series on morally active living. Please allow goodness to fill your soul and your mind, to direct your path, to reward your striving.
What can you see in this small picture? What calm and dignity? What seasoned character of compassion and leadership? What beauty of goodness? Please take the time needed to discover Jane Addams (1860-1935), a gifted, accomplished, and balanced servant of humankind. Our first three blogposts are centered on quotations from her writing.
From her childhood, Jane Addams felt sensitive concern for the poor; her father would not let her enjoy what her classmates could not afford. She received a classical education, was an independent thinker, established Hull-House in Chicago to serve the poor, wrote prolifically showing extraordinary learning and original observation, and won the Nobel Peace Prize.
It was in England that she discovered the settlement movement, which she adapted to her circumstances in Chicago:
The Settlement . . . is an experimental effort to aid in the solution of the social and industrial problems which are engendered by the modern conditions of life in a great city. It insists that these problems are not confined to any one portion of a city. It is an attempt to relieve, at the same time, the overaccumulation at one end of society and the destitution at the other; but it assumes that this overaccumulation and destitution is most sorely felt in the things that pertain to social and educational advantages. For its very nature it can stand for no political or social propaganda. . . . The one thing to be dreaded in the Settlement is that it lose its flexibility, its power of quick adaptation, its readiness to change its methods as its environment may demand. It must be open to conviction and must have a deep and abiding sense of tolerance. It must be hospitable and ready for experiment. It should demand from its residents a scientific patience in the accumulation of facts and the steady holding of their sympathies as one of the best instruments for that accumulation. It must be grounded in a philosophy whose foundation is on the solidarity of the human race . . . . Its residents must be emptied of all conceit of opinion and all self-assertion, and be ready to arouse and interpret the public opinion of their neighborhood. They must be content to live quietly side by side with their neighbors, until they grow into a sense of relationship and mutual interests. Their neighbors are held apart by differences of race and language which the residents can more easily overcome. They are bound to see the needs of their neighborhood as a whole, to furnish data for legislation, and to use their influence to secure it. In short, residents are pledged to devote themselves to the duties of good citizenship and to the arousing of the social energies which too largely lie dormant in every neighborhood given over to industrialism. They are bound to regard the entire life of their city as organic, to make an effort to unify it, and to protest against its over-differentiation.
What do you find here that enhances your ideals? Is there something you might apply this very day? What here resonates with stories you already can share? Please walk with the great today.
Jane Addams, Twenty Years at Hull-House, 125-27.