Reading about yourself will sometimes offer a clue

Bird Droppings January 8, 2012

Reading about your self will sometimes offer a clue


After over thirty three years of marriage it seems almost like day one every day and each keeps getting better. Periodically it seems I will receive at some odd hour of the night and or morning a paper to review for one of my sons. There are many times that there is a very narrow window of time between when I see it and it is due. Waking at three in the morning does provide the opportunity. It has been nearly two years since this one passed through the electronic maze of life and caught my attention as the individual he was referencing was one I have read about and had some interest in as well. I will borrow a few bits and pieces from my son’s paper.


“There was a prominent study conducted by psychologist and educator Dr. Albert Bandera involving environment and personality. His goal was to see in what ways people come up with their impressions of other people…. The idea behind the experiment was to gauge the ability of people to judge someone’s personality based upon their environment…. I found reciprocal determinism to be quite interesting in how it added free will to the idea in contradiction to most previous behaviorist theories, where people are completely determined by their environment. What opened up this concept to me was the office study because it explained the concept on how people affect their environment.” Matt Bird, senior nursing student Piedmont College


“People not only gain understanding through reflection, they evaluate and alter their own thinking.” Dr. Albert Bandera


As I read my sons words and recalled many readings of Bandera I found myself intrigued reading my sons view of me and my room at the high school. As I read I realized how much I impacted my environment through my room and my interactions with people who come within it. I use the term sanctuary many times including today in another email to a friend describing my room at school in regards to students.


“I often in my life have seen offices and bedrooms that truly embody peoples’ personalities. For instance my Dad’s school room at my high school back home a person could easily determine that he has a high level of extraversion, you could grade his level of agreeableness, his conscientiousness, his high level of emotional stability, and his openness to experience. My father’s school room has walls covered in various pictures of current and past students, various exploits and accomplishments, and there are animals all throughout the room in various aquariums. Naturally students clamor to my father’s room and love to be around the man. Throughout my life I have seen experience affect my dad’s personality but I have seen my father’s personality drastically take control over his environment and the situations he has been placed into.” Matt Bird


As I do every day I sit down and write thinking and reflecting as I go. As I read my sons words so many thoughts came to me. Former students, teachers and principals I have met along the way. Photos on my wall go back eleven years and a few much more to when I started back to teaching it seems so long ago. My own thoughts ranged to recent papers on community and learning. Always I somehow end up thinking of Foxfire, John Dewey and experiential learning methods from the early 1900’s still considered progressive today which always intrigues me.


“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, a culture, a community, and we all share in that aspect and as much as we choose so often to be individuals 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 those interactions and relationships.


“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 to be moving forward and as humans we so often spend much of the time wasted, fighting and arguing among ourselves and the motion and or growth is limited.


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


“Self-belief does not necessarily ensure success, but self-disbelief assuredly spawns failure.” Dr. Albert Bandera, From Self-efficacy: The exercise of control, 1997


Watching high school student’s form clicks and groups while adults have clubs, and social groups we tend to be a somewhat selfish animal. We look so to ourselves and what benefits us often by limiting friends and such to a degree we box ourselves in. Sharing a simple task is so often a distant thought if it is even a thought. TV humor even plays on this subject several times as in the old Seinfeld and Will and Grace sitcoms where giving is a chore, a burden, and the characters are literally parasitically instead of symbiotic. As I was reading and looking for quotes and thoughts this one seemed to pop out at me.


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


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


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


“We are more heavily invested in the theories of failure than we are in the theories of success.” Dr. Albert Bandera, from APA address, 1998


In a recent project assignment, several students simply “completed it” they did not finish the task but answered what they thought was the question because 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


“By sticking it out through tough times, people emerge from adversity with a stronger sense of efficacy.” Dr. Albert Bandera


I read these quotes and saw an answer if you truly do not appreciate your self 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 in effect a real benefit. A favorite catch phrase of high school students is “I don’t care” should read “I really do not care about myself” especially if we look back at Bandera’s thoughts and others. As we enter the middle of a week our world is troubled and sore, so please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your hearts and to always give thanks.



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