Ethics and Politics

Bird Droppings April 8, 2020
Ethics and Politics

 

There are so many things happening in our world that are often at the whim of a politician who we voted for or in my case against. The auto industry was being remade, wars are being fought, jobs are appearing and disappearing, and health care reform is possibly off and on the table. We are seeing oil prices lower than in fifteen years due to an international price war. I find it is amusing that our elected officials have given themselves unbelievable health care and retirement package along with other perks and yet only offer to restrict and or eliminate our own, especially in times like we are experiencing now. Our officials have literally unlimited health care and a retirement package second to none for serving in the senate or congress and literally a decent retirement for life.


With jobs on the rise in some areas and in others in slow motion, or collapsing as in many hospitality industries, maybe it is a good time to ponder about minimum wage. Our officials who raise their own salary and perks just about every year as the can sneak them in. Amazing how politics works, working people and those trying to work and lift themselves up get often nothing and Senators and Congressmen can vote a raise for themselves. In another session a few years back, Democrats were at one time trying to tie the minimum wage to their own salary raises. I definitely like that idea; however, it didn’t fly. Sadly, even with a minimum wage, many workers are below the national poverty level. Many that are working and for whatever reason extremely limited or hindered in the types of jobs they can get.

 

Now in a world of budget-cutting in some areas, huge deficit spending in others and now a four trillion-dollar stimulus package who knows what will happen. Some politicians are even offering to reduce minimum wage and increase hours children can work almost as if we are taking steps backward. Other legislation is calling for deregulation eliminating OSHA and EPA and yet deaths in industry under OSHA have significantly been reduced. Not many of us recall days of no PPE in industry. Pollution across our nation has been reduced because people are staying home which shows human impact on pollution. Even now in a time of crisis internationally it is still about the profitability of corporations that find many politicians offering plans to help industry improve their profit not just survive but pay dividends. Dumping coal ash into rivers in coal regions as an example. Asbestos is coming back some are saying.

 

“Why should we be in such desperate haste to succeed, and in such desperate enterprises? If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer.” Henry David Thoreau, Walden

 

Funny why should we worry about money and success, who needs it? I recall only a few years back when gas was nearly four dollars a gallon we all are looking for bargains and stretching each dollar. It is true many folks have not the need to keep up with the trends and are content with what they have. But it is how we tend to overlook selfishly those with less. The raise recently proposed for congressmen per year would be more than a fulltime minimum wage paycheck for a year for a family. It is sort of like saying I am more than your equal so I deserve this money actually a slap in the face to the working man or woman.

 

“Most of the luxuries and many of the so-called comforts of life are not only not indispensable, but positive hindrances to the elevation of mankind.” Henry David Thoreau, Walden

 

At what point is a lot of money too much and what do you do with billions of dollars? I watch the president rant and rave and yet few are as selfish as is he in terms of his human dealings. I read yesterday where an investor lost billions, but was still worth ten billion dollars. Why does anyone need ten billion dollars? I am not sure a speculator in real-estate is a good choice for a president. It was not too long ago he was bankrupt multiple times. We idolize the rich and wealthy and as Steven Colbert pointed out in his humor one night we like rich people. Thinking back to a good friend’s comment about where sociopaths end up, many are politicians.

 

“I learned this, at least, by my experiment; that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, and he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” Henry David Thoreau

 

We have to be able to dream and often that is stripped away with the attitudes and structures imposed by various sectors of society.

 

“What a man thinks of himself, that it is which determines, or rather indicates his fate.” Henry David Thoreau

 

Self-esteem, self-understanding or the knowing of thy self as the ancient Greek philosopher said so many years ago. We need to know who we are and why. I started arguing about the selfishness of so many people including our leaders in Washington who I am sure will justify their raises in some fashion and I am sure through lobbyists will justify not granting a raise to minimum wage. It is amazing what a few fast food lobbyists can do and business owners. Maybe that is how you justify a raise for yourself, be it through savings from not raising the minimum wage. I am looking forward to a day of testing high school kids. I would much rather be writing and reading and taking a garden break. I forgot to visit the local nursery and garden shop this weekend. As you ponder your own place in this world please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your hearts namaste.

 

My family and friend’s I do not say this lightly,

Mitakuye Oyasin

(We are all related)

bird

Pondering ABABABABABAB

Bird Droppings April 8, 2020
Ponder
ing ABABABABABAB

 

Last night I went back over some notes from one of my numerous posts in my various blog sites and graduate school comments. I had been reading from a paper on a program that was developed in the mid-1980’s in California. The program with one teacher in one school was so successful they as a school board decided to implement across the district. Some saw the AVID program like so many great efforts it became a packaged canned program for anyone to implement. As I read the article and thought in terms of my own long-range plans. It sort of hit me.


I want to teach college and train teachers in my later years. One question that has perplexed me is how we teach a student in an education program to teach for example, maybe this AVID program. We can provide all the tools, forms, calculators, notebooks with cool logos, a special room, and anything else needed to implement the program. My question is will it work? As I read my own posts and many of the others I found myself commenting on a singular attribute. We can emulate the program and replicate a million copies of notes and details but we cannot emulate the passionate teacher who developed the program. How do we get new teachers to emulate the great ones and as well be creative and imaginative in their own right?


I thought back to an incident in 2003. I recall very clearly how my son just went to bed after working on his computer all night and was telling me to get more sleep as I was getting up, it was about 3:30 AM. The previous day as I gave out an assignment one of the aspects in the assignment was to ask five questions about the topic that was chosen and proceed to answer them. One particular student, who happened to drum in a band, though he could choose something he “knew about” and be done. He, of course, chose drums, I should have known and the question was where did drums originate? His answer was so simple he thought, Africa.
I asked him a few questions to get him going, when, what country, how long ago, what were they made of and are you sure it was Africa?

 

I was being a bit mean as he had spent at least four minutes on his topic and questions. He proceeded to change his topic because drums were too hard. This was not a dumb kid by any stretch of the imagination but extremely lazy. Each time his one-word answer would be met with additional questions as I explained you are answering a question but not really answering it. More often than not I explained when giving a simple quick answer it only gives a very limited piece of information. For example, Africa is a huge country. I went a different direction for a few minutes with him. Where did the light bulb originate? I said answering the United States leaves so much out.

 

“The lazier a man is, the more he plans to do tomorrow.” Norwegian Proverb

 

As I thought about my student and readings and pondering I often wonder what makes us so lazy, myself included. Why do we have to have a quick solution or answer? Why can’t we look deeper anymore and it seems we live so superficially much like believing we can replicate a program by simply copying the notes. So much is missed by skimming along and only trying to finish or duplicate. For nearly twenty-three years I worked in reproducing manuals for training programs, it is easy to produce a thousand manuals I used to be able to get a page count, binder size, number of tabs and if any four color was involved and how much and give a production time to the minute. But I also was on the development side as well and recall months of research and effort put in to provide the original manual.

 

“Man wants to live, but it is useless to hope that this desire will dictate all his actions.” Albert Camus

 

If we could channel energy used for selfish means and redirect perhaps changes could be served. Camus brings up one of the basic motivational premises of man’s survival. Many psychologists, authors and others have all started at this point. But what separates us from the lower primates? Watching high school students, I wonder many times if survival is even a factor.

 

“Each today, well-lived, makes yesterday a dream of happiness and each tomorrow a vision of hope. Look, therefore, to this one day, for it and it alone is life.” Sanskrit Poem

 

When we can finish a day and look back and say well done the feeling and attitude that prevail can lift us into another. I am working on an idea which works around a behavior premise of antecedent, behavior, and consequence or more simply ABC. In all that we do behaviorists see an antecedent which leads up to a behavior but the behavior is also predicated by what will be the consequence. I raised the question to a friend of what if we could have ABABABAB where the antecedent leads to behavior which leads to a higher function of another antecedent and so forth almost in a way what I was trying to get my drummer to do. Socrates did it well answering questions with questions.

 

“He who knows that enough is enough will always have enough.” Lao-Tzu

 

“A bar of iron costs $5, made into horseshoes its worth is $12, made into needles its worth is $3500, made into balance springs for watches, it’s worth is $300, 000. Your own value is determined also by what you are able to make of yourself.” Source unknown

 

As I look back at the student seeking a one-word answer for a lifelong question this quote came to mind. How often are we content to simply have the five dollars instead of a little work and the Three Hundred Thousand dollars? One aspect of learning and teaching is getting students to view effort as a positive thing not just work. Many teachers have not learned to recognize effort which often negates that attribute in some students.

 

“In this world, in order to enable society to develop, all its members have to assume responsibilities and make their contribution. If we do not make collective contributions then there will be no development.” The Dalai Lama, speaking to the Tibetan National Assembly in Dharamsala, May 1989

 

Each of us lives in a society, and or a community and as much as we choose so often to be individuals as well as we are members of and interact within that group. It is the vitality of that group the development and growth that is so intertwined with contributions physically, mentally, and spiritually of the members. Society exists because of these interactions which going back to the previously mentioned AVID program and or for example in my own experiences with the Foxfire program it is community that makes these programs succeed.

 

“Compare society to a boat. Her progress through the water will not depend upon the exertion of her crew, but upon the exertion devoted to propelling her. This will be lessened by any expenditure of force in fighting among themselves, or in pulling in different directions.” Henry George

 

We have to be working together moving in some direction and as humans do so often much time is wasted fighting, and arguing among ourselves and motion and growth is limited.

 

“The greatest difficulty with the world is not its ability to produce, but the unwillingness to share.” Roy L. Smith

 

Watching high school students form clicks or groups and adults forming clubs and social groups we tend to be a selfish animal. We look so to ourselves and what benefits us, limiting friends and such to a degree we box ourselves in. We may be sharing a simple task but so often it is really a distant one. TV humor even plays on this subject several times in old Seinfeld and Will and Grace Sitcoms, giving is a chore, a burden and the characters are literally parasitically instead of symbiotic. As I looked for quotes and thoughts this one in particular popped up and is appropriate.

 

“Societies that do not eat people are fascinated by those that do.” Ronald Wright

 

Wright was actually speaking literally, yet interestingly enough we of modern society while we do not literally eat people, we still psychologically, emotionally, financially or sociologically destroy them. As I look at how we respond to others so often it is how we see ourselves indirectly.

 

“The most difficult thing we do is to not deal in facts when we are contemplating ourselves.” Mark Twain

 

In a recent project assignment several students simply “completed it” they did not finish the task but answered what they thought was the question, they just wanted done. Whether it was right or wrong, good or bad was not the issue it was over with.

 

“Until you value yourself you will not value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it.” M. Scott Peck

 

I read this quote and saw an answer if you truly do not appreciate yourself your time has little if any value even when you are self-absorbed in using it frivolously you simply are taking up time not using it. Guessing at answers to a test to simply get done or rushing through just to be over, still you wait just as the rest do so is there really any benefit, which always elicits my favorite catch phrase “I don’t care”. I think it should in bold letters read “ I really do not care about myself” As we enter the beginning of a new week our world is troubled and sore we are able if we try perhaps to make a difference even if in a small way. Please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your heart and to always give thanks namaste.

 

 

My family and friends I do not say this lightly,

Mitakuye Oyasin

(We are all related)

bird

A wind in the trees

Bird Droppings April 7, 2020
A wind in the trees

 

Over the past weeks, we have had several storms come through the area. Just before I went to bed last night according to the weather we were to get another today, although the forecast is now for tomorrow. Several times during the night I awakened and no storm was blowing and our dog finally slept through the night. Of course, no one else ever hears him but me and I get up and let him run about checking out the back yard running whichever way he feels like going. When it is just wind he will search diligently when storms come through he just keeps me awake all night barking and going out to bark at the storm. Two nights back was one of those nights I was seriously thinking about duct tape to silence the dog and finally no storm just a steady wind blowing through the trees several times I went out and listened. While a bit chilly still an eerie sound is the wind in the tops of the pine trees.

 

In the old days, I would walk outside at school during the day and watch clouds pass by, lately, the sky has been clear and blue and huge white clouds pass by in a never-ending procession. The pines just past our house often are moving with a steady wind and almost hypnotic in their movement. I was looking over reports I have to do for our year-end over the next few weeks and found a bookmark on my desk my wife gave me several years ago. Several quotes from Chief Joseph and an artist rendition of the great Nez Perce leader on the bookmark.

 

“I am tired of talk that comes to nothing it makes my heart sick when I remember all the good words and broken promises. There has been too much talking by men who had no right to talk.” Chief Joseph

 

I thought about our current leaders and past leaders who these words were addressing. Yesterday a Senator accused several major companies of making over a hundred billion in excess profit off of the American public over the past few years that is over a hundred dollars per person per year. Of course, company’s attitude has been well they are willing to pay why not a profit for our stock holders. Their other point has been that several of these major companies paid little or no taxes. It seems the double talk is about to end at least hopefully. I got gas for my wife’s car this morning visiting my second favorite store Quick Trip. The price of gas is nearly the lowest it has been. There are no lines, screaming and hollering but the CEO of Exxon is smiling as plans to pump money into the oil industry are being planned. We have become used to low priced gas. We have become used to the fact it is low because of a price war between countries. We are producing more gas and oil than ever before in this country and still it is a shell game on the American people by big business and our government. Capitalism rocks if you are a multi billionaire oil gas baron.

 

For many years not only, the Native Americans as I look back at Chief Josephs words, but we average Americans from Europe, Africa and Asia as well have been duped by our leaders and by businesses because we have been willing to settle for what is offered. I watch in education as federal laws designed supposedly to improve education are in effect stifling education but profiting corporations. A small example is in Georgia a new math curriculum that latest about three years and caused some major hassles in schools and with students. Book companies reaped a small fortune however. Georgia is still struggling with math and amazingly enough instead of remediating math they make math curriculum harder. The logic befuddles me. If we know our children are having a difficult tie with math why make it harder. If I were in industry and had a problem I search for the cause and use risk management. Simply put treat, tolerate, transfer, or terminate the problem. In education we have a simpler solution we simply compound the problem.

 

“If you tie a horse to a stake do you expect him to grow fat…?” Chief Joseph

 

As federal and states mandate on schools that are failing to meet standards are imposed for various reasons. Some states are suing in federal court the law this aw or that law have been doing a paradoxical sort of thing actually leaving children behind, and have been making demands on schools without the resources to back up the programs and laws. We have issues with how children are being taught yet evaluate not actually what they have learned but what they know at the point they take a test. Sadly the scores being used are not a valid indicator of learning.

 

As Chief Joseph surrendered to a superior force outnumbered and outmanned he made his mark on history through his words.

 

“It is cold, and we have no blankets; the little children are starving to death. My people some of them have run away to the hills and have no blankets no food No one where they are perhaps freezing to death I want to have time to look for my children, and see how many of them I can find. Maybe I shall find some of them among the dead. Hear me oh chiefs! I am tired; my heart is sick and sad. From where the sun now stands I will fight no more.” Chief Joseph

 

After his pleas for asylum in Canada went unattended he stopped fleeing the approaching army and the Nez – Perce had been defeated, they had out maneuvered and out run a superior force for months but their supplies were low, morale was low and winter was coming. A proud man laid down his rifle. I wonder as I think back and even look at today how we deal with people so seldom can we accept anyone as equal. So seldom can we try and live in peace without making demands. Why is it that those in power have to flex muscle and have what is not theirs to have. So often we interfere in other countries. We interfere in our own citizen’s rights and privacy. Power is such an addictive thing. Power a simple word and a simple thought I wonder why we so often abuse it. Please keep all in harm’s way in your hearts and on your minds and to always give thanks namaste.

 

My family and friends I do not say this lightly,
Mitakuye Oyasin
(We are all related)
bird

 

Sometimes I feel like I am missing a day

Bird Droppings April 6, 2020
Sometimes I feel like I am missing a day

 

So often I speak of coincidences in life. A few evenings back while helping my wife with some graphics and issues in a class she was teaching I was also thinking about a new Bird Droppings. Some ideas had hit me and I was putting to paper or hard drive so to say. When I got up the next day I was planning to finish and post it was not anywhere to be found. I was frustrated and bewildered I would have sworn I wrote a dropping a great one at that. So, I started and entitled today as missing a day and was going to make excuses about my encroaching senility and old age memory losses and such, and poof the answer was in front on my nose. I did it again I had been writing and closed out from a page, I started getting ready to post with word closing instead of minimizing.

 

My dropping for today disappeared I had not saved it as of yet. I was discussing science and the measuring of data in various graduate school classes. Research can take various forms of quantitative and qualitative being two of the most frequently used. Being of the nature that teaching is an art form and there are some rather difficult pieces of that aspect to measure. Areas such as intuition and coincidence it seems are difficult commodities to evaluate effectively. An effective teacher is an intuitive one and personally, I think a good teacher is also surrounded by coincidence.
Carl Jung split with Freud over similar matters and coined the word synchronicity. Back a few weeks, as I was talking, it seems I never stop talking and I was drawn to the front door of my room at school and as I stepped out a student passed by exactly as I stepped to the door. It was not they are going by my door, me coming to the door but that this student had a problem. If I had been a few seconds later even a moment later and that student would have passed by. I was drawn to the door like a moth to a flame and was I meant to interfere, to get involved in a problem, or simply to offer advice or questions, coincidence, a chance happening, or was it synchronicity perhaps.

 

“The images of the unconscious place a great responsibility upon a man. Failure to understand them, or a shirking of ethical responsibility, deprives him of his wholeness and imposes a painful fragmentariness on his life.” Carl Jung

 

“Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence.” Eric Fromm

 

Which direction do we go as we try and unravel the human condition the frail substance about which we have evolved? Can we separate out and categorize, analyze and catalog that which makes us human versus a pack animal. Studies of herding and swarming animals are being used to study human behavior and is used to modify and actually move people and materials around the world. Several large cargo companies use models developed on observations of ant colonies.

 

“Man may be defined as the animal that can say “I,” that can be aware of himself as a separate entity. “ Eric Fromm

 

“The mind is like an iceberg, it floats with one-seventh of its bulk above water.“ Sigmund Freud

 

“The path of least resistance and least trouble is a mental rut already made. It requires troublesome work to undertake the alternation of old beliefs. Self-conceit often regards it as a sign of weakness to admit that a belief to which we have once committed ourselves is wrong. We get so identified with an idea that it is literally a “pet” notion and we rise to its defense and stop our eyes and ears to anything different.” John Dewey

 

When beset with an issue or a problem we so often fall victim to the easiest route the way of “least resistance least trouble” as John Dewey would say. Years ago in a book on the topic of Loss Control management my father used an illustration of an iceberg; we only see one-seventh of the problem as Freud points out with the mind. We as we journey through life are only visible in part only one-seventh using the iceberg illustration. That means that sixth sevenths of our existence stay hidden away, secreted somewhere from view.

 

“Thus we see that the all-important thing is not killing or giving life, drinking or not drinking, living in the town or the country, being unlucky or lucky, winning or losing. It is how we win, how we lose, how we live or die, finally, how we choose.” R. H. Blyth

 

It is how we choose that is important. Nearly every day for several years since I began this morning endeavor I have talked of the journey in life in one way or another to students, friends, and family and in my writing. I have used as a screen saver my son John’s image crossing a stream in north Georgia stepping stone by stone across a rippling rolling stream and it still is hanging on my wall. In the picture he is soaking wet and cold, he could have just as easily walked through the stream and avoid falling from the rocks. He was wet already but he chooses to step on the slippery rocks. The challenge for him was doing it, making the journey not simply surviving or the destination of the other side.

 

“Everything on the earth has a purpose, every disease an herb to cure it, and every person a mission. This is the Indian theory of existence.” Mourning Dove, Salish

 

This becomes the difficult task trying to explain how a problem has a purpose, how a human issue has a reason, in a world of measurement were not measuring is constant and so often the point. I can never find the distance between the stones of the stream as my son’s footsteps fall crossing rock by rock.

 

“You can never cross a stream the same way twice” Zen saying

 

“Traditional people of Indian nations have interpreted the two roads that face the light-skinned race as the road to technology and the road to spirituality. We feel that the road to technology…. has led modern society to damage and seared earth. Could it be that the road to technology represents a rush to destruction and that the road to spirituality represents the slower path that the traditional native people have traveled and are now seeking again? The earth is not scorched on this trail. The grass is still growing there.” William Commanda, Mamiwinini, Canada, 1991

 

Going from a single individual’s problem to that of the North Slope of Alaska may seem a stretch. In today’s world of greed and global warming and ocean access opening in the Arctic, I wonder. As global warming occurs or if you so choose to think does not occur daily news of countries that surround and even are nowhere near the arctic being able to cross ice-free waterways holds interest. Daily there are new explorations of countries into the Arctic, with submarines planting flags, oil drilling rigs operating after twenty-five years of trying and many more. For the profiteers of the world and the greedy who subsist on immediate profits and filling coffers already overflowing, a world disappearing is no big issue as long as it happens in their lifetime and brings a profit.
But as we journey in life we essentially do not get to replay our hand once we lay the cards upon the table. Yesterday by chance somewhere before 5:00 AM I was reading National Geographic and how the oil fields are so enticing in the Wilds of Alaska. Greedy people see only jobs money and energy. I have spoken and written about this so many times and others see the loss of habitat for wildlife and wilderness that can never be replaced.
Amazing another coincidence this morning I could not pull up literally what I thought I had written yesterday had disappeared and this morning it hit me as to what had happened. I tried to recall what I wrote yesterday and concluded it was not to be and for whatever reason synchronicity perhaps versus senility I like better. Now for this, a good follow up peace my friends and have a good and wonderful day. Please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your heart’s namaste.

 

 

My family and friends, I do not say this lightly,

Mitakuye Oyasin

(We are all related)

bird

 

Green Bay Wisconsin is cold. Did Lombardi ever wear gloves?

Bird Droppings April 5, 2020
Green Bay Wisconsin is cold. Did Lombardi ever wear gloves?

 

“It’s not whether you get knocked down; it’s whether you get back up.” Vince Lombardi

 

It has been a few days since I used a Lombardi quote. Years back I can recall my father borrowing verbiage from the great coach of the Green bay Packers and Washington Red Skins. My father was a big fan of Lombardi back in the day. My father often used a line or two as he lectured from Lombardi’s game talks or his rallying speeches to his teams. A Lombardi team never ever was out of the picture in a game even when losing badly. I remember hearing about his death in 1970 I was in school at the time at Eastern College in St. David’s Pa. and volunteering with a program teaching in Paoli Pa. with disabled children, which became my first official teaching position.

 

“Individual commitment to a group effort-that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.” Vince Lombardi

 

“People who work together will win, whether it be against complex football defenses, or the problems of modern society.” Vince Lombardi

 

In professional football Lombardi never had a losing season, he finished his career at 105-35-6. Often considered to be the greatest football coach of all time, Vince Lombardi had simple convictions and ideas about life and football. He believed in team effort. It was the team that won not an individual and not a coach. For us as teachers it should be about the team, teacher and students working together.

 

“The achievements of an organization are the results of the combined effort of each individual.” Vince Lombardi

 

When new teachers arrive at we should remind them get to know the janitors, lunch ladies, media center folks everyone because one day you will need them and that day you really do want them to be your friend. Teachers too often forget in their classrooms dealing with their children that they are not alone. Administrators are there to help, guidance counselors, and even at the “Board office”. You are not alone. In my current situation I feel bad as I do not know two thirds of the teachers. Our building is vast and I am very localized in one wing. Planning periods if and when there is one are to sit and calm down before heading back into the storm.  But I do miss knowing folks and being in the mix of things beyond a few class rooms. Living outside the community is another issue. A forty-five-minute drive makes being involved after school harder.

 

“Some of us will do our jobs well and some will not, but we will be judged by only one thing-the result.” Vince Lombardi

 

When I first went into teaching I felt there should be a way to measure the effectiveness of teachers. Today teachers are being measured and schools are being measured through standardized test scores of students. For the first time since I have been back to teaching 2001, test scores won’t matter. Teachers are being looked at for results with their students. Granted one could argue the actual validity of a standardize test scores after the fact as a measure of a teacher’s effectiveness but today in our world that is what is being used.

 

“Winning is not a sometime thing: it’s an all the time thing. You don’t win once in a while; you don’t do the right thing once in a while; you do them right all the time. Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.” Vince Lombardi

 

“Winning isn’t everything–but wanting to win is.” Vince Lombardi

 

“It’s easy to have faith in yourself and have discipline when you’re a winner, when your number one. What you’ve got to have is faith and discipline when you’re not yet a winner.” Vince Lombardi

 

“I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is the moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle-victorious.” Vince Lombardi

 

As I am sitting here I wonder how many teachers go out each day planning on losing, planning on not succeeding with a student, not trying to do their best. It us not a once in a while effort, it is all the time. To borrow from author Robert Fried, it’s about passion. Vince Lombardi epitomized passion and he imbued it in others around him.

 

“There’s only one way to succeed in anything, and that is to give it everything. I do, and I demand that my players do.” Vince Lombardi

 

As a parent, a teacher, or as a coach we have to give it our all every day every moment every second, if we do we can help but succeed. I remember an ad with a little girl saying “daddy look at me” over and over at different stages in her life till as a teenager she is using drugs and the idea is knowing where your kids are, paying attention to your kids. The other side of the ad is how often do we not pay attention when asked to, how often we turn away and miss a crucial moment, or a turning moment in a child’s life. I think to my own kids’ lives and often wonder was I there when I should have been.

 

“If you aren’t fired with enthusiasm, you’ll be fired with enthusiasm.” Vince Lombardi

 

Sitting here on a bright Sunday morning I thought when I copied and pasted, I made a mistake with this quote. I had to read this line more than once and it finally sunk in. A few years ago, our school hired a new head football coach and he was enthusiastic as was our new cheerleader coach hired the same year. The difference is watching students get excited about their school at pep rallies and games. But in a class room if you are not excited about what you do, the kids sure won’t be either I can guarantee that, to borrow from the Cajun chef “I’ll guarantee”. So funny the Cajun Chef popped up on a friends Instagram post this morning.

 

“Success is like anything worthwhile. It has a price. You have to pay the price to win and you have to pay the price to get to the point where success is possible. Most important, you must pay the price to stay there.” Vince Lombardi

 

It is not a magic potion or rabbit out of a hat it is through sweat and blood that we succeed and it requires continued effort to maintain that level.

 

“Unless a man believes in himself and makes a total commitment to his career and puts everything he has into it-his mind, his body and his heart-what is life worth to him? If I were a salesman, I would make this commitment to my company, to the product and most of all, to myself.” Vince Lombardi

 

Imagine what the world would be like if every teacher and every parent took that advice, put it all into it action daily, imagine. Over and over again I see a lack of this in students and in teachers who day after day simply show up. Self-esteem is lacking and that spark of truly believing in yourself lacking in many people. If only we could vaccinate against this.

 

“The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather in a lack of will.” Vince Lombardi

 

In life it is a lack of will that defeats us far more quickly than a lack of skill. Daily I hear I don’t care, students who quit before they open a book or even a door to a room. In another moment a student who seeks to know I was reading about Henry David Thoreau and his relationship to education. At one point he stopped teaching at one point in his life and decided it is not about teaching but about learning and decided that in order to truly teach we had to truly learn and he proceeded to become a learner living off the land.


How do we instill that desire to learn? The key to success in teaching is in Thoreau’s thoughts. Stop teaching and begin learning when we instill that desire to learn, there literally is no teaching, and all becomes learning. Learning becomes a constant interaction of ideas and thoughts. Only when “a lack of will” is the big difference does learning falter. Please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your hearts, and thank you Vince, namaste.

 

My family and friends I do not say this lightly,

Mitakuye Oyasin

(We are all related)

bird

POTENTIAL

Bird Droppings April 4, 2020
POTENTIAL

 

“Love is a complex experience which seems to follow no rules but its own. Romantic love can have the power of a hurricane or the tenderness of a soft wet wind. I have known, too, a chance introduction which instantly and magically merged into a lifelong friendship. And I’ve known love that refused to blossom over decades despite close, frequent contact. Then suddenly, this same person I had not considered significant became a treasured friend.” James Kavanaugh, A Lifetime Isn’t Long Enough To Love you

 

It was nearly eighteen years ago I went for an interview to be accepted into the Master’s Degree program at Piedmont College. I failed my interview. I had already been in school for over a year and somehow forgot the interview process. When my advisor found out I failed the interview, I was extremely fortunate to sit in with the Dean of the Education department and gain acceptance to the program officially. It was nearly a year later I faced that professor in class who failed me in the interview. Much like Kavanaugh’s thought, we become good friends and in effect, he reintroduced me to a long-forgotten, on my part poet, James Kavanaugh. I have now many of his books in my library and this particular one caught my attention. The above is the first paragraph of the introduction. The failure of the interview is another story.


As I was thinking of potential it is so much on how we perceive and see the world and those around us. It is the acceptance and caring we share and that we allow others to participate in. Potential a simple word yet so often robbed from students from friends as we impose our own priorities and limitations on relationships on communication and on life itself.

 

“There comes that mysterious meeting in life when someone acknowledges who we are and what we can be, igniting the circuits of our highest potential.” Rusty Berkus

 

As parents, teachers, and friends we need to be igniters for others and when needed be a self-igniter for us. Each day I watch teachers and other students limit the potential of others. Often indirectly and without thought, we do this.

 

“Rough diamonds may sometimes be mistaken for worthless pebbles.” Sir Thomas Browne

 

A number of years ago in 1905, unearthed in South Africa a baseball-size rock was pulled from the ground covered in mud. It may have been discarded but when an observant miner carefully washed and cleaned the stone it turned out to be the largest diamond ever found. The Cullian Diamond weighed in at over 3000 carats. When cut the diamond was made into several now-famous cut stones most of which reside in the crown jewels of Great Britain including the golf ball size stone in the scepter of the Queen.

 

“Continuous effort, not strength or intelligence is the key to unlocking our potential.” Liane Cardes

 

“The treacherous, unexplored areas of the world are not in continents or the seas; they are in the hearts and minds of men.” Allen E. Claxton

 

So often it is within us that we become limited. We ourselves become the stumbling blocks for our own potential. It takes perseverance and effort to many times overcome our own fears and inadequacies. Often children are put down and carry that into later events and undertakings, a sense of inadequacy and potential is squashed.

 

“Ineffective people live day after day with unused potential. They experience synergy only in small, peripheral ways in their lives. But creative experiences can be produced regularly, consistently, almost daily in people’s lives. It requires enormous personal security and openness and a spirit of adventure.” Steven R. Covey

 

A virtual business empire has been built by Covey helping and inspiring people to become aware of their own potential, unlocking what they held inside. Great coaches in sports and life through the understanding of people achieve success with teams that may not have the greatest athletes but have a concerted effort for achieving their potential. In a recent college football game, a seemingly invincible team was upset by a smaller college. It was that team’s effort to reach their true potential and another team thinking less of them because of who they thought they were.

 

“A pint can’t hold a quart — if it holds a pint it is doing all that can be expected of it.” Margaret Deland

 

“It’s the moment you think you can’t that you realize you can.” Celine Dion

 

“What you can become you are already.” Hebbel Friedrich

 

There are really no secrets to unlocking our own potential, it is there waiting. So many years ago I remember my father saying never to say “I can’t”, “you can achieve anything you set your mind too”. .

 

“The cynic says, ‘One man can’t do anything.’ I say, ‘Only one man can do anything.’” John W. Garner

 

Author of numerous books on Leadership and motivation Garner states it is there inside us “Only one man can do anything”.

 

“The greatest waste in the world is the difference between what we are and what we could become.” Ben Herbster

 

“Most people live, whether physically, intellectually or morally, in a very restricted circle of their potential being. They make very small use of their possible consciousness and of their soul’s resources in general, much like a man who, out of his whole bodily organism, should get into a habit of using and moving only his little finger.” William James

 

We so get into the habit of accepting limitations, of listening to those around us who keep us back. We should instead seek people and friends who uplift and raise the standards for us and those around us. Try and look for people who also want to reach their potential.

 

“It’s not what you’ve got; it’s what you use that makes a difference.” Zig Ziglar

 

“If you think you’re too small to make a difference, you’ve obviously never been in bed with a mosquito.” Michelle Walker

 

We each can make a difference within ourselves and with others by not holding friends, family and or students back. Instead by helping them to reach their potential, by not having expectations that limit growth and achievement. We can accomplish anything by reaching for the sky. Today is the near the end of the week let us all be more aware of those around us

 

“Normal day let me be aware of the treasure you are. Let me learn from you, love you, bless you before you depart. Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow. Let me hold you while I may, for it may not always be so.” Mary Jean Iron

 

Please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your heart’s namaste.

 

My family and friends, I do not say this lightly,

Mitakuye Oyasin

(We are all related)

bird

Hunting for the right words

Bird Droppings April 3, 2020
Hunting for the right words

 

“The place to improve the world is first in one’s own heart and head and hands.” Robert M. Pirsig, American author

 

Whether it is trying to offer a few words of condolence to friends whose loved one has passed away or trying to sort out the disaster somewhere in the world and today here near home in Georgia, we all need to look within first. When I read this line from Pirisig author of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values, earlier this morning I immediately thought to my 4H days and the pledge of 4H and the 4H clover.

 

“The 4-H Clover symbolizes four actions which 4-H members try to accomplish. The four H s’ stand for Head, Hands, Heart, Health, as it is in the pledge. I Pledge My Head to clearer thinking, My Heart to greater loyalty, My Hands to lager service and My Health to better living for my Club my Community my Country and my World” Taos County 4H site

 

I wish we could get each citizen of our country truly engaged in that pledge whether it is as a 4H member or just because it is a good practice. Imagine what would happen, disasters would be resolved and often averted, we would each be better as citizens, and friends all over a simple admonition. As I look clearer thinking, greater loyalty, larger service and better living these are all very powerful as well as interesting thoughts. There are days when I wish more kids were able to be exposed to 4H.


Sitting here having read the news earlier it is disheartening to try and determine what course of action each of us can take to help if we can at all. Over the announcements at the high school that last Friday afternoon I listened to what various groups and clubs are doing at our school and canceling events. The kids in our high school had raised several thousand dollars through various activities much of that in bits and pieces of lunch money dropped in buckets and or fund raisers such as washing cars I recall dunking a coach or in one of the efforts we had a tug of war. I wish we could do more but each effort each dime or nickel is a little more. I wish we could all summon the courage to do more. I watched Garth Brooks and Tricia Yearwood this morning a recording of a live request show they did to raise funds for health care workers in this rough time. I started watching while my wife a nurse practioner was getting ready to go to work.

 

“Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.” Ambrose Redmon

 

I thought I would end with this line, courage is a word used often with little thought. I really understand the tying of the word to fear that is an interesting definition. Stating that courage is simply realizing there are more important things in life than being afraid or cautious is a powerful thought. I recall a trip to South Carolina visit our middle son and his fiancée. It was our first chance to see the church where they are getting married and her horses at their family farm out in the South Carolina countryside. We spent Saturday evening at a wedding shower and Sunday visiting all over the beautiful South Carolina farm country discussing horses, plants, always Georgia Tech, experiences and who knows what else. How much do we learn about a person in a few moments depends on the ability of each person to be honest and trusting?

 

It was a great afternoon joking and laughing and picking on each other. As always, we called when we got home telling everyone we were safely home in Georgia and my granddaughter was mad at me when we got home even the John Deere T-shirt and soft plush puppy did not make a dent. Although after her grandma held her for a minute she decided she wasn’t mad anymore and gave me a great big good night hug. For today please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your hearts namaste.


My family and friends I do not say this lightly,

Mitakuye Oyasin

(We are all related)

bird