Jim Heynen is a teacher, short story writer, and regular contributor to NPR's All Things Considered. "What Happened During the Ice Storm" tells of an ice storm in a rural place. Most of the animals have found shelter, but not the pheasants, which have been left so helpless that people are going out with clubs to hunt them. A group of boys goes looking for pheasants too and comes across a flock of them—their wings weighted down with ice, their eyes glazed shut. After a brief bout of uncertainty, one boy acts, and the others follow suit in an unexpected response to the pheasants' plight. We often try to define good moral leadership, but is there also a way of following that best encourages thoughtful ethical choices? Should groups strategize to achieve such moments of consensus as the boys experience here, or can these moments only realistically be viewed as gifts?
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The Rag and Bone Shop of the Heart. Ed. Bly, Hillman, Meade. Harper Collins, New York, 1992. pp. 249-50.
What do people gain or lose from joining a group or a community?How does a person become a leader?How does a person learn compassion?What is my responsibility to animals and the natural world?What does it mean to be an organizer or an activist? What defines this role?Where does the best learning happen – in the classroom or elsewhere?