FASTLY - Faith & Science Teaching

Part 4: Water Ecology and Ethics


3. Hope

Hope and Consolation

You can introduce the theme’s focus on hope and affirmation in this lesson.

You can begin by inviting students to share the ways in which they felt disoriented, confused, or frustrated during the course. Let them share their unresolved worries or questions with a partner and then, if they are willing, with the group.

Have students read an excerpt from A Letter of Consolation, written by Henri Nouwen to his father when his mother died. Nouwen’s words remind us that, even in our moments of great despair, there is always hope.

Most of this session will be spent reading:

  • Consider reading the first 12-15 pages of A Letter of Consolation or selections from that range, as class time permits.
  • Read aloud to students or have them read alone or in pairs.
  • Give space and time for slow, reflective reading.
  • Invite students to slow down and reflect on what they are reading.

When the reading is complete, ask students to reflect—in pairs and then in class discussion—on what this text has to do with their work during the course, even though the text is not about faith and science:

  • How is it connected with the work we have been doing or the questions we have been asking?
  • How might a focus on hope influence the way we approach questions about faith and science?

Finish the session by having students write a journal response to the question: “What is the difference between hope, optimism, and wishful thinking?”

Next Topic:
Hope, Optimism, and Wishful Thinking