Bird Droppings October 30, 2009
There may be side roads in life more of the Journey part 4
I wandered about a bit yesterday morning, running errands trying to get caught up on a few things. As I went from one errand to the next a Barnes and Noble bookstore was in my way conveniently and so I stopped. I did by chance stop in and purchase a few books. Those could be the focus of tomorrow droppings as I get into them. My droppings yesterday brought a response from a friend who teaches gifted sixth and seventh graders and also has been a part time college professor. I mentioned how professors of education should have taught first. I consider the doctor would you want a brand new out of school doctor working on you with no experience and yet in teaching we see a new teacher the same as an experienced one, both are expected to do essentially the same tasks and job. When I started in education as a freshmen in college I was side tracked for a bit along the way. You might say I took a few side roads but in doing so I became a much better teacher.
“We may pass violets looking for roses. We may pass contentment looking for victory.” Bern Williams
I was reminded recently as we searched the area several springs ago for flowering plants; the object was the plant had to be flowering at the time of collection. This was my son’s botany project. It was as interesting as we found plants that contained flowers far more beautiful than many commercial flowers but tiny literally microscopic as we searched. As I look at the statement above, what is it really that Williams is referring to? Is it the times we over look something when we are so intent on a specific goal. So often in education we only see the pass or fail score of the standardized test not that the child made great strides in learning.
“I consider a goal as a journey rather than a destination. And each year I set a new goal.” Curtis Carlson
“You are not likely to get anywhere in particular if you don’t know where you want to go.” Percy H. Johnson
Sometimes as we search, as we wander in life, along the way there is still so much to see and to learn, one goal will lead to another. But having a goal, keeps us motivated to attain. So many people do not even have a goal and stumble around, floundering.
“Set your goals high and don’t stop until you get there.” Bo Jackson
Just a reminder to Georgia football fans there is always next year and the possibility of a national championship well maybe the year after that.
“When we are motivated by goals that have deep meaning, by dreams that need completion, by pure love that needs expressing, then we truly live life.” Greg Anderson
“The person with a fixed goal, a clear picture of his desire, or an ideal always before him, causes it, through repetition, to be buried deeply in his subconscious mind and is thus enabled, thanks to its generative and sustaining power, to realize his goal in a minimum of time and with a minimum of physical effort. Just pursue the thought unceasingly. Step by step you will achieve realization, for all your faculties and powers become directed to that end.” Claude M. Bristol
So often as I have experienced for myself, I recall a year or so ago on a Saturday a good example as I went out feeling some driving purpose to the day beyond rather than simply driving to Florence South Carolina, nearly three hundred miles away. Not truly knowing what it was that was on my mind and anticipating each moment and each contact as I went about the day. I had a goal to get my son an apartment and hopefully see as much of Florence as I could and yet under that was a search a constant looking for more meaning to the day. In my looking I found so much, I completed my goal and we looked at several apartments but all were older and some what not what we hoped to find.
As we headed back to the property rental office to return the keys I noticed a flyer on the counter for a new property. A quick question and we were on our way to look at and eventually get that apartment. We were so focused at first on what we had been told and our own goal of finding something Saturday we nearly missed the new apartments. In the process of the day we each had so many encounters and pieces to our puzzles in life. It might have been locking the keys in the car, seeing my sons chemical plant, seeing Florence and Lake City where he will be working, and spending many hours together.
“There are those who travel and those who are going somewhere. They are different and yet they are the same. The success has this over his rivals: He knows where he is going.” Mark Caine
“We aim above the mark to hit the mark.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
Recently I read an article while morbid in a way; it is also very true when speaking of goals and how so many people lead their lives. As we became more technologically advanced many human skills gave way to technology. In Viet Nam marksmanship gave way to weaponry that could fire numerous rounds per second and kill ratios were one kill per thousand rounds of ammunition and marksmanship was lost. Recently in an article on the National Sniper championships, snipers have been attaining kill ratios of 1.3 rounds per kill in theory; I do not think they use live targets in championships. While a morbid comparison so true in our society that rather than focus we scatter our dreams our goals and hope for the best or that common word used far too often creeps in “whatever”.
“Concentrate on finding your goal, then concentrate on reaching it.” Michael Friedman
“The goal you set must be challenging. At the same time, it should be realistic and attainable, not impossible to reach. It should be challenging enough to make you stretch, but not so far that you break.” Rick Hansen
In a few weeks we will give out transcripts and new schedules for a new semester coming up. Some students will be fine and others will complain and as I plan ahead some will continue to complain even after the semester starts. I was looking at attendance the other day and one student said no way that had he missed so many days. I explained, four teachers had the same information and his response was “whatever”, they are still wrong. Then he began whining, “How am I going to get into college?” I sat there looking at a transcript of a second year ninth grader who was failing because of attendance and not due to ability and being asked “how was I going to get into college?”
I sat back and said first simply passing as you strive to do, will not get you into college I knew this student would get a good SAT score but that alone will not get a college acceptance. A high school transcript of seventies and failures just doesn’t look so good. As we talked I wrote of a piece of paper 70% and 100% and asked “you go to find a doctor since you are talking of medical school, and you have in front of you two doctors, one learned 70% and one learned 100%, who do you want as your doctor?”. Guess who he picked? I hope his eyes were opened.
“You don’t have to be a fantastic hero to do certain things — to compete. You can be just an ordinary chap, sufficiently motivated to reach challenging goals.” Sir Edmund Hillary
A few years ago Hillary passed away but last Saturday in my crazy search for purpose I was driving. It so happened that Saturday morning as I was gazing east there was a glorious sunrise. I actually was thinking what it might have been like for Hillary to be standing atop Mt. Everest that first time looking over a world not just looking down Interstate 20. He attained the highest point on earth yet considered himself a common chap.
“Goals are dreams with deadlines.” Diana Scharf Hunt
“Decide what you want, decide what you are willing to exchange for it. Establish your priorities and go to work.” H. L. Hunt
“It must be borne in mind that the tragedy of life doesn’t lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goal to reach. It isn’t a calamity to die with dreams unfulfilled, but it is a calamity not to dream. It is not a disaster to be unable to capture your ideal, but it is a disaster to have no ideal to capture. It is not a disgrace not to reach the stars, but it is a disgrace to have no stars to reach for. Not failure, but low aim is a sin” Benjamin E. Mayes
Every day I talk with students whose only goal is now this minute, trying to guide them is difficult for in that self centered world there is no direction, no plan, and no pathway. I can show them a road map and point them in the right direction but sooner or later they will have to take the first step. All of us have been there and may be again so watch for travelers who need help and always offer a hand. Trying myself to get back up to speed and back in a routine after several days of being lazy, I still end today with please keep all in harms way on your mind and in your hearts.