Bird Droppings October 1, 2009



I am sitting here writing and listening to Neil Young from the songs recorded in  1971 the CD, Live at Massey Hall. I have been a Neil Young fan for many years and more recently a bigger fan as I read and follow his contributions to special needs children and adults. He and his wife have a child now a man who is wheel chair bound from cerebral palsy. They started a school The Bridge in California that is sponsored in part by Neil Young and friends concerts each year. I told my wife that is one concert I would like to go to. Not this year however. I need some patience. “Old man, take a look at your life” Neil Young sings and I wonder as I look each day at where I have walked and where I am going. Have I done all I could today or was there something more I could have done.


“The man who removes a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.” William Faulkner


When I first read this earlier it hit me hard. So often in life we want to accomplish that great task all in one quick easy movement, at one time. Recently I was reading a favorite authors email blog where he mentioned he has been working on an idea and book for years covering an artist. In the Dakotas nearly fifty years ago sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski, had promised to honor the memory of Crazy horse by carving out a mountain in his likeness. Literally rock by rock he and his family since his death in 1974 have kept that promise and the face was dedicated n 1998. 


“Our patience will achieve more than our force.” Edmund Burke


Often as I teach each day it is not a great lesson that succeeds but simply patience. Being able to deal with difficulties of the day and move into the next without dwelling to long on a single issue, moving small stones one at a time all in our effort to move or carve a mountain


“The two powers which in my opinion constitute a wise man are those of bearing and forbearing.” Epictetus


“Patience means self-suffering.” Mahatma Gandhi


“That virtue of the mind which is called Patience is so great a gift…” St. Augustine of Hippo


I walked out earlier taking the dog for his morning constitutional before me a clear sky filled with stars. Our home sits slightly off the road with a large field or pasture behind us and a dirt road to one side and several empty lots on the other. It is actually very private. But it was stars that caught my eye in the chill. Each morning they are there when the clouds allow. I was discussing with another teacher yesterday the idea of patience.

A former student’s mother had been killed several years back in a car wreck and we were talking how students will come to certain teachers. This former student I had seven years ago yet everyday she would stop by when she was in school before graduation. Consistency came out in our discussion; students will flock to consistency since many times they have little in there lives outside of school.


“Let this be understood, then, at starting; that the patient conquest of difficulties which rise in the regular and legitimate channels of business and enterprise is not only essential in securing the success which you seek but it is essential to that preparation of your mind, requisite for the enjoyment of your successes, and for retaining them when gained. So, day by day, and week by week; so month after month, and year after year, work on, and in that process gain strength and symmetry, and nerve and knowledge, that when success, patiently and bravely worked for, shall come, it may find you prepared to receive it and keep it,” Josiah Gilbert Holland


“Patience is the ability to idle your motor when you feel like stripping your gears.” Barbara Johnson


I typed in Patience’s as a search and the first few were all lyrics for the Guns and Roses song, the words are not really applicable or I would use them but the song. There is a whistling start to the song, I find myself sitting here writing about patience and humming the start to the song. 


“(whistling) …little patience, mm yeah, mm yeah – need a little patience, yeah – just a little patience, yeah – some more patience, – yeah – need some patience, yeah – could use some patience, yeah – gotta have some patience, yeah – all it takes is patience, – just a little patience – is all you need” Guns and Roses 1989


In all honesty the words really don’t quite do it with out the whistling and the tune and Axl Rose’s whining voice singing, about patience “is all you need”.


“Consider the hour-glass; there is nothing to be accomplished by rattling or shaking; you have to wait patiently until the sand, grain by grain, has run from one funnel into the other.” John Christian Morgensten


Whether this was made by the 16th century artist or more recently whimsical poet of the 20 century this is a powerful statement. If you have never watched an hour glass at work it truly is the best example of patience. Bit by bit one grain at a time falls through no more no less till the entire mass of sand drops into the lower chamber.


“If I have made any valuable discoveries, it has been owing more to patient attention than to any other talent.” Sir Issac Newton


“Only those who have the patience to do simple things perfectly will acquire the skill to do difficult things easily.” Johann Friedrich Von Schiller


It does take patience when trying to accomplish any task. It takes patience when trying to deal with humans especially students in high school. I have talked of world peace more than once and am committed to that but it will take patience. I wonder if as a society we will ever practice patience. Please keep all in harms way on your mind and in your heart.



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