Joy to the world: Priscilla Alderson on how to protect children from mental distress

‘Quaker silence helps them to care for their inner and outer worlds.’

‘Restorative principles could be among the most important lessons schools provide.’ | Photo: by Artem Kniaz on Unsplash

Years ago, a residential Quaker event I attended seemed to contradict itself. Some sessions were on nurturing peaceful inner spirituality. Other sessions, on vital problems from international injustice to the climate crisis, stirred up anxiety and distress. I asked a group of older Quakers: what should we do first? Work on our own inner being, or help to sort out the world? ‘They both have to go together,’ the Friends wisely replied. This double process recognises how our thoughts and feelings are integral to three other aspects of daily life: bodies and nature; relationships; and social systems.

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