August Films for Tough Times

The Mental Health Committee suggests the viewing of these selected “Films for Tough Times,” in order to encourage the spiritual practice of compassion-building. August is when both teachers and pupils begin to prepare for the beginning of the academic school year.

​Before there can be compassion, there must be interest shown in the subject at hand. These films portray the challenges of both children and teachers, around the globe, in order to build understanding for treating everyone’s needs and feelings with respect.

​Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom (2022)… Lunana School is located in the remote mountains of Bhutan, as part of the government’s pursuit of Gross National Happiness for every child. Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan, has a population of 101,000, at an altitude of 6,000 feet.

​Ugyen Dorji, a 20-something city boy with cell phone and electric guitar, has a government job with a 5-year contract. He is assigned to become the teacher at Lunana School, speaking in the Dzongkha language. This requires an 8-day hike, and living with primitive conditions and no electricity.

​The village of Lunana has a population of 56, at an altitude of 14,400 feet. Ugyendoesn’t want to go, but when he arrives, he is charmed by the villagers’ hospitality and the hopes and dreams of his students: “A teacher touches the future.”

​He becomes receptive to what it means to live in harmony with the land and to embrace a simpler life-style, as he comes to realize what true happiness means.

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​The Quiet Girl (2022)… Cait is a quiet and introverted 9-year-old girl living in Ireland, speaking Gaelic and listening to Irish folk music. She is one of several children living with her dysfunctional family, and she keeps running away from home and school. She is called “the wanderer” by her dad.

​When another baby is due to arrive, Cait is sent away for the summer to live with her mother’s distant cousin: “Mom says you can keep me as long as you like.”

​Living with a kind middle-aged farm family, Cait discovers a deep secret held by her host family. She also discovers a new way of living, after being cheated out of any of the unconditional love that a parent owes their child.

​Jesus spoke to the crowds and to his disciples: “You are not to be called teacher for you have one teacher and you are all students.” …..Matthew 23:8.

​Daily prayer: May God be my teacher today and may I have the open ears of a student.

​​…..taken from Wisdom of the Carpenter by Dr. Ron Miller (2003, p. 190)