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On the Pedagogy of Suffering

Hermeneutic and Buddhist Meditations


David W. Jardine, Christopher Gilham and Graham McCaffrey

This text articulates how and why suffering can be pedagogical in character and how it is often key to authentic and meaningful acts of teaching and learning. This is an ancient idea from the Greek tragedies of Aeschylus (c. 525 BCE) – pathei mathos or «learning through suffering». In our understandable rush to ameliorate suffering at every turn and to consider every instance of it as an error to be avoided at all costs, we explore how the pedagogy that can come from suffering becomes obscured and something vital to a rich and vibrant pedagogy can be lost. This collection threads through education, nursing, psychiatry, ecology, and medicine, through scholarship and intimate breaths, and blends together affinities between hermeneutic conceptions of the cultivation of character and Buddhist meditations on suffering and its locale in our lives. This book will be useful for graduate courses on hermeneutic research in education, educational psychology, counseling, and nursing/medicine.
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Chapter Nine: My Treasured Relation



My Treasured Relation


I have always wanted to write about my cousin Shelby, but whenever I try, the words just don’t seem to do justice to my cousin who never grew up. I want to make him live again in this story. But mostly, I would just really like to not cry today.

Shelby was born to my aunt, with too much life ahead of her, and so he was raised by my silent-stoic, gentle grandfather, Dave, and Leona, the asthmatic, arthritic heart-young grandmother, with more love in her than those sick lungs could handle.

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