Finding the gem?

Bird Droppings March 16, 2011
Finding the gem?

“Author and lecturer Leo Buscaglia once talked about a contest he was asked to judge. The purpose of the contest was to find the most caring child. The following was one of the winners. As I was driving home from work one day, I stopped to watch a local Little League baseball game that was being played in a park near my home. As I sat down behind the bench on the first-base line, I asked one of the boys what the score was. “We’re behind 14 to nothing,” he answered with a smile. “Really,” I said. “I have to say you don’t look very discouraged.” “Discouraged?” the boy asked with a puzzled look on his face. ‘Why should we be discouraged? We haven’t been up to bat yet.’” Author Unknown

Over the years I have found myself often discussing various topics with children. Listening and hearing what children have to say shows an innocence that has been perhaps established at birth as silly as that sounds. It is contained within and it so often shows up in the optimism of children. We hold this till somewhere as adults it can be stripped away because we let our guard down or we become discouraged and we learn otherwise so to say. As teachers and parents it should be our job to try and maintain that youthful zeal that outlook that lets us see opportunity in the midst of seeming defeat.

“I believe that man will not merely endure; he will prevail.” William Faulkner

Sitting here today thinking over events of the past few days I can understand Faulkner’s quote we are a resilient lot and no matter what is thrown at us we can prevail. I started my morning as I do so often stopping by the front desk. Our school office manager in days gone by worked for my father and she always asks how is he doing? Many the days we talk about occasionally a serious topic, today funny we were talking about how kids see things so different. A student had come by the office to check on a parking permit, obviously by the way she was holding her drivers license a new driver. I said when she asked if the assistant principal was here, that school was closed. Our office manager scolded me and told her don’t listen to Mr. Bird he is getting old and cranky. But she had believed me and did not realize I was joking.

“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

Too often we find the opportunity of defeat but when expectations are high when we are expected to succeed more often than not we do. Many years ago I learned to expect the most out of students and that is what you will get, however expect the least and you will get that as well. This can be said for teachers so students expect the most from a teacher and you may be surprised.

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

The star of Africa is the largest diamond ever found may have been looked over as a large (the size of a baseball) piece of quartz if the miner did not know what he was looking for those many years ago. Now cut and polished and in the crown jewels of England it is priceless.

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

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

So often we limit ourselves. Yesterday at lunch we began discussing at what stage in teaching do teachers become stunted I use the word anally retentive and found a teacher asking what I meant. Someone quickly next to me said when you become a little box with no room for more ideas or thoughts when your vision is so narrow minded and limited you see as if looking through a toilet tissue tube. I thought maybe there was a class like limitations 101 or boxing up of ideas 102. But you know what it isn’t just teachers as students too limit themselves. Goals and parameters become fixed so tightly and confined that new creative opportunity becomes overshadowed by those limits and in an instant we are simply copying and cloning not creating. The potential for greatness is there it is the amount we need to see.

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

With a name like that you had better be good. I had the fortunate opportunity to hear Zig speak and to read several of his books over the years. It was nearly twenty years ago I heard him speak for the first time. His entire talk was about unleashing potential about seeing beyond limitations rising up over the mountains. He was dynamic and up lifting as he spoke of selling your self as well as your product in his motivation program. The greatest idea in the world is only an idea till it is used.

“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

I am reminded of an ad for Comcast cable of a man in a hospital room with a broken leg who is being wheeled out and realizes he will lose his cable and escapes from the nurse rolling in his wheel chair in front of a truck in which he in the next scene is lying in bed again watching cable with the doctor stating sir you have broken every bone in your body, except for one finger, which is his remote finger as he channel surfs. So many of us, teachers and students alike become restricted through habit and limit our creativity because we do not want change. Recently I received an email from a high school senior about questions I had asked, it was the first time she was challenged to think since another teacher in ninth grade. Thinking is what this life is all about not merely waking up punching a clock and returning home.
I had a conversation with a student yesterday and that student did not want to be in school. Where would you prefer to be I asked? At home sleeping was the response. What would you accomplish by sleeping I responded? I would be getting rested to get more sleep was the answer. Do we tend to limit and box up losing vital sight of tomorrow of something more than the air around us? Do we get in a habit of simply channel surfing using one finger one button and blipping through life? When I was a child we had one maybe two stations channel surfing was more simply put just the on and off switch. We now have more opportunity and less effort you had to get off the sofa in the old days to press the on and off button at least. Think for a minute open your eyes to what is around you try and see the gem inside the rough stone. Try not to be boxed and labeled and blinded by limitations and lessened expectations as you should not limit those around you. Please keep all in harms way in your heart and on your mind.

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