lettersLET THEM PLAY
How wonderfully refreshing it is to read the words of the eminent professor of child development David Elkind (“Age of Discovery,” Winter 2007). As a retired kindergarten teacher, I wish that many of today’s competitive parents would heed them. More and more precious play time is being denied. The children are pushed to read and write at an early age and to have lessons in everything, from ballet to karate. What is the hurry?
ELEANOR JOSSELYN ANDREWS, J42
Thank you so much for the redesigned Tufts Magazine. It finally does the school justice.
What an outstanding issue of Tufts Magazine, Winter 2007. This is a publication worth reading from cover to cover—broadly interesting, attractively presented. This particular issue, with its fine material about music, and music at Tufts, is a truly special one for me. I am anxious to pass it on to so many people, especially my grandchildren and those who touch their lives. The enthusiasm in those pages is contagious. With my Tufts
Magazine in hand, I am heading out to my granddaughters’ schools with new and vibrant enthusiasm. Now see what you’ve done!
Congratulations on a tremendous alumni magazine. My wife and I get a total of five publications from our undergraduate/professional alma maters, and the Tufts publication is the only one that has value to me. The balance of articles by and about Tufts students, professors, and graduates, university news, and announcements is ideal. In particular, I appreciate the shorter pieces by Tufts faculty (“Make Peace with War Play” and “Outside the Box” in the Winter 2007 issue). These are intriguing and provocative, and if I want to learn more, I can “read the book.” I also appreciated “The Good Worms.” I’ve read about this idea for a while now, and I’m gratified to hear that such innovative thinking came from Tufts. Keep up the good work.
BAND OF BROTHERS
ram dass, pro and con
It must have resonated in some inner core. Soon I started transcendental meditation, and then, a few years later, as a junior and senior at Tufts, I found myself the president of the Tufts chapter of the Students International Meditation Society, better known as the Tufts TM Club, organizing lectures, group meditations, and seminars. (One in particular was with Athletics Director Rocky Carzo, who talked about meditation and athletics. I was on the Tufts football team then. But no chanting or swaying!) In the seventies, there were hundreds of meditators at Tufts practicing our “20 minutes morning and evening.”
After graduation, most students found it was time to join society, get a job, and raise a family. But a few kept the fire for “enlightenment” burning and continued to meditate for world peace, teach yoga, read Eastern philosophy, and make it our full-time occupation.
In the late 1990s, I got serious about self-realization, and have
been living in a very remote ashram in the Himalayas for the past seven years,
spending my time meditating, practicing yoga, and studying Vedic scriptures.
I know there are other Tufts grads doing similar things in their own way in
other places. So Tufts has done well in nurturing a strong spiritual sense
in many of us. Ram Dass can feel satisfied that his alma mater has given rise
to some pretty strong yogis like himself.
I was embarrassed to read about Ram Dass in your magazine. I normally enjoy reading about notable alumni and professors who have benefited from their experience at Tufts. I find such stories to be inspiring and a positive reflection on the Tufts community. For example, I was pleased to read about Jeffrey Griffiths and his contributions to disease control (“Man on the Move,” Spring 2006).
In stark contrast to Dr. Griffiths, Ram Dass is a poor role model for current
and former students. Although he managed to publish, it is clear from your
article that Ram Dass has accomplished little in his life besides having wasted
countless opportunities afforded him by his wealthy father. It is saddening
that you have chosen to celebrate a man who glorifies his drug abuse and who
has used his privilege to live a life of complete excess. It seems inconsistent
with Tufts’ stated vision of contributing to “global intellectual capital, harmony, and well-being.”
EXPOSING THE TABOO
Taboo. Forbidden. Unmentionable. Unthinkable. Sad to say, these are all words too often chosen to describe my family: a Korean American (myself) married to a Caucasian, both of us parents to a mixed-race child. A triple threat.
People continue to hold a preset notion of what pushes the boundaries of the societal norm. I’ve been made painfully aware that people would prefer if I had married another Asian and reproduced within my own race, thereby creating a more acceptable family composition. But I chose the path less taken.
I see beauty in crossing paths and sharing your heart with someone who comes from a different world. I see blending two distinct cultural beings and creating life in the form of a mixed child as the ultimate gift to society.
My hope is that by the time my child has his own children, the world will be a little less discriminatory, a little more celebratory of diversity. Then again, that’s what my parents hoped for when I was a child.
“The Big Taboo” was an eye-opener for me. It is so true that unconscious stereotypes exist. For some it can’t be helped, no thanks to the media and to parents who drop racially biased comments in front of their children. But it also stems from the way we live. We compare and distinguish differences over everything.
For example, certain cultures are known for excelling in particular fields like sports, technology, arts, music, and martial arts. We make quick judgments about people as a part of living. As a black British woman, I’ve even encountered racism from the Nigerian mothers of my ex-boyfriends—twice. They didn’t want their sons with anyone other than a Nigerian.
Until stereotyping stops, I don’t think race as a problem will come to an end.
Both Amanda Charr Englund and Sabrina Hunter were photographic models for “The Big Taboo” (Amanda in the article, Sabrina on the cover). —EDITOR