Robert Coles and the Moral Life

just wow.

So much talk of morality today is marked by aggression and self-righteousness, but Robert Coles speaks in a gentler and deeper moral voice.

When six-year-old Ruby Bridges was jeered, threatened, and hated—for wanting to go to school in segregated New Orleans in the early sixties—she received a request from a young child psychiatrist named Robert Coles. He wanted to know what the little girl was thinking and feeling. They talked to each other over several months, and the deeper their conversation went, the more Coles was surprised.

“She once told me she felt sorry for those people who were trying to kill her,” Coles says. “I asked her, ‘You feel sorry for them?’ And she looked at me and said, ‘Well, don’t you think they need feeling sorry for?’ Talk about wisdom! And talk about moral intuition. I sat there stunned. I was applying standard psychology, trying to help her realize that she was maybe angry at these people, and bitter and anxious, and she was telling me that she prayed for them. I was struck dumb and I was silent, because I had to reflect upon this child’s wisdom. She was smart enough to understand, without taking courses in the social sciences or other fields of inquiry, what happens to people.”

full article here! :) incredibly interesting– doesn’t just talk about the incident above (in fact that’s only the intro), it delves into the rich life of a sincere, honest, humble and intelligent gentleman.

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