Welcome to my website which supports emotional, social, aesthetic, and spiritual growth for all people. Another way to describe the essence of my work is to say that it attempts to illuminate the inner world of children and adults and the ways our inner life affects and is affected by our connections with others, the natural world, and the grandeur of the cosmos. The body of my work focuses particularly on the needs of the spirit.
I understand the spirit as that part of us that integrates our feelings, longings, and deep aspirations. The spirit supports our will to live and to grow, to be inspired by human goodness and find life meaningful. “The hopeful spirit transcends limitations.”
10 principles of increasing spiritual strength:
- developing strong bonds with others and the natural world
- believing that everyone has goodness at their center
- becoming aware of the needs of your spirit and understanding that all humans have similar spiritual needs
- perceiving the interconnection of all life forms
- experiencing awe & wonder and cultivating reverence
- attuning to the beautiful in its many forms across time and cultures
- respecting and pondering the mysteries of existence
- developing a sense of purpose
- creating many sources of meaning.
My first focus is on strengthening the spirits of children and teenagers with a particular emphasis on meeting these needs in classroom settings. To this end, I have incorporated sample activities on this site that can be used by teachers and parents to help young people build strong identities, strengthen their resilience, and enrich their lives. My book, Strong Spirits, Kind Hearts: Helping Students develop Inner Strength, Resilience, and Meaning (Finney 2013) is a practical resource for teachers that includes ideas to deepen understanding and a wealth of ready-to-use activities and lessons, to support this important work.
Educators and parents
My second book (co-authored with Jane Thurgood Sagal), The Way of the Teacher: A Path to Personal Growth and Professional Fulfillment (Roman & Littlefield Education, 2016) offers support for the personal growth of teachers. The development of self-compassion and self-knowledge are strong emphases in strengthening the spirits of teachers.
Many of my blog posts are crafted in way also useful in meeting the emotional and spiritual needs of parents. Practices that can be incorporated into daily life are suggested.
World Spirit, Human Spirit
A major category of blog topics looks at the needs of all people and of the nonhuman living beings that make up our world. I discuss the importance of understanding that everything is connected to everything else –a deep knowing that is foundational to living the good life.Social and ecological justice are concerns that permeate my books and blog posts.
As well, my new work grows out of my interest in aesthetic philosophy and the roles of aesthetic sensibilities in enriching lives and strengthening spirits. I work from the understanding that the beautiful is an essential dimension of human life –one interconnected with the true and the good.