For the past five months, I have been living and working in Berlin, Germany. I went there to live with my cousins and their two young children and to work as a native-English-speaking intern at a Kinderladen called Humpty-Dumpty Berlin, a bilingual daycare which my cousins’ children attend. I also helped out around the house and with the kids at home.
At the time when Quakerism began in the seventeenth century, the expression “plain speech” had a particular meaning for Friends. The plural form of the second person in English (you) was used to address someone of distinction or higher social status. The singular form (thee) was used to address one’s peers.
My experience as a Navy pilot for a third of my life is fundamental to who I am. The military has significantly impacted my experience as a Quaker. This is most evident to me when I compare the Quaker testimonies of Simplicity, Integrity, Community, Equality, and Peace with the military codes and traditions that have shaped me.