Just do it!

Bird Dropping June 14, 2010
Just do it!

“If you want to make peace, you don’t talk to your friends. You talk to your enemies.” Moshe Dayan

With all the happenings in schools and in the world maybe this thought from the Great Israeli soldier and statesman is worthy of a look. I was writing to a friend this morning and started the note with the following. Often I use the idea of an art form to describe teaching. I am talking about real teaching as opposed to teachers who simply occupy space and time. You can not be taught to teach. You can acquire certain strategies from education classes and books and get ideas, but in the end it will be your inherent empathy and intuition that provides the true material for you to be successful. These capacities grow as you evolve in the classroom. The email I was responding to was in response to a Droppings from a day or two ago.
My friend wrote to me; “You really touched me with this passage. How did this happen Bird? How did I get to like these children so much? I used to be indifferent, but now when I see a kid on the street staring at me in his wide-eyed way of telling me I’m very different. I think that I like him, just for being a kid.” I tried to explain, you are becoming a real teacher. You are gaining empathy or letting what was there along out. The art form is evolving. As for me I can’t wait to get the day going, passion is a good word well and compassion is good also. Trust is a powerful word for describing teachers along with concern; caring and another idea for answers ask kids what makes a good teacher. Often you will be surprised it is not about subject matter to kids but do you care about them. You are doing great my friend.
Some where in a recent TV ad a woman walks up to a trash can with a paper cup lying beside it and she immediately starts chastising the person who threw the cup on the ground even though no one is around. A man steps up and in agreement makes a comment how terrible it is someone would throw a piece of trash on the ground like that. As each additional person gathering round all appear to be well dressed intelligent and articulate. Soon a group of eight or so is gathered about arguing with great lines about how, perhaps I should even bend over and pick it up myself. Along come a young man looks like a student or so and no discussion just picks up the cup tosses it in the trash and walks on. The ad it turns out to be for get out to vote. A powerful message over a paper cup lying on the ground.

“It is not enough to be busy. So are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about?” Henry David Thoreau

“The way to avoid responsibility is to say, ‘I’ve got responsibilities.’“ Richard Bach

So often we are to busy scurrying about and as Richard Bach states one way to avoid responsibility is to say you have responsibility. I am sitting here thinking about how I used watch our Yorkshire terrier fight with his dog crate literally opening and closing the door only to jump in side and out. If I would go near that crate he would leap inside and not move. It is his do not touch. We are so selfish it seems with our own be it something as simply as picking up a cup beside a trash can or a dog crate. We exert more energy rationalizing why it is there than disposing of it.

“Each of us has the right and the responsibility to asses the roads which lie ahead and those over which we have traveled, and if the feature road looms ominous or unpromising, and the road back uninviting-inviting, then we need to gather our resolve and carrying only the necessary baggage, step off that road into another direction. If the new choice is also unpalatable, without embarrassment, we must be ready to change that one as well.” Maya Angelou

“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. Don’t complain.” Maya Angelou

Several months ago I was watching a random channel which happened to be CMT the country music station. The theme on Easter Sunday was the top twenty songs of faith in country music and Dr. Maya Angelou was hosting. In 1981 Dr. Angelou was appointed to a lifetime position as the Reynolds Professor of American Studies at Wake Forest University. She has authored countless poems and books but watching her describe the songs and offer bits and pieces I knew soon I would be borrowing her words. Looking at the first statement we have choice and responsibility. We have a choice which way to go in life but with that the responsibility to assess what lies ahead not simply plunge in. If our choice is wrong then look anew. I keep thinking back to the whiners around the trash can spending time complaining whining about who left the paper cup lying there rather than simply picking it up.

“Life’s a journey not a destination and I just can’t tell just what tomorrow bring… You have to learn to crawl before you learn to walk… it’s amazing a with a blink of an eye you finally see the light – Oh… it’s amazing when the moment arrives that you know you’ll be alright” Aerosmth, Steven Tyler and Joe Perry

So many times I have borrowed that line from the song Amazing by Aerosmith “Life’s about the journey not the destination”. I have it on my wall and on a yellow sticky note from way back when the day I first saw the quote given to me by my oldest son. We need to take each step follow that trail you believe in make your choices and pick up the paper cup. As I watched Dr. Angelou narrate the top twenty songs I was impressed by the songs many were not religious in nature but about mans faith in man. The number one song of faith however, has been sung in churches and on the Grand Old Opera stage many hundreds and thousands of times, a reminder perhaps. That song is, I saw the light, by Hank Williams.
I am sitting listening to the storm outside my window seems each day as the heat and humidity builds we have storms. Thunder periodically breaks the thought process. We have so much available to us if we only look and see or listen and hear. Looking at where I started today a NIKE slogan “Just do it” perhaps in our world of not picking up a cup but forming a committee to look into why it was there in the first place and offer suggestion as to not have it happen again I fall back to Dr. Angelou and a thought for today.

“A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.” Dr. Maya Angelou

We each have our song to sing be it about our chickens and their exploits in escaping from the coyote perhaps a theme for a children’s book or about our students and their exploits in accepting society and or society’s acceptance of them and in our acceptance and understanding of them as well. Another hot and humid day in Georgia please keep all in harms way on your mind and in your hearts.

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