Why do they call him a founding father?

Bird Droppings September 30, 2012

Why did they call him a founding father?

 

“Constitutions should consist only of general provisions; the reason is that they must necessarily be permanent, and that they cannot calculate for the possible change of things.” Alexander Hamilton

 

As I looked through the news this morning many of the situations go back to ideas and thoughts begun by Alexander Hamilton so many years ago. As the first Secretary of the Treasury he set about working with a huge national debt from the Revolutionary War and established many policies and laws that govern us now. But as he states he knew times would change, technologies change and people change and what was needed was a general framework to guide the country not a set in concrete list. Interesting so often folks refer to the Ten Commandments as the law of the land, yet almost immediately over six hundred and eighty addendums to the original ten were enshrined in history. Thou shall not kill, unless….

 

“In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men the great difficulty lies in this: You must first enable the government to control the governed, and in the next place, oblige it to control itself.” Alexander Hamilton

 

While believing in a strong federal government Hamilton also believed in honesty and fairness.

 

“In the general course of human nature, a power over a man’s subsistence amounts to a power over his will.” Alexander Hamilton

 

While written long before welfare and government subsidies I was reading this morning about cuts in many federal programs in order to try and cut deficits and bailout economy. While an indirect lobbying method imagine the effect of telling a group of people we are cutting your medical care or your bank is going to collapse. I wonder how they will vote in an election year and or do they even have a voice which has been the focus of both sides in this election year.

 

“It is the advertiser who provides the paper for the subscriber. It is not to be disputed, that the publisher of a newspaper in this country, without a very exhaustive advertising support, would receive less reward for his labor than the humblest mechanic.” Alexander Hamilton

 

It is sad that we live in a time when politicians, legislation and news is bought and sold much like any other commodity as are public and popular opinion.

 
“Man is reasoning rather than a reasonable animal.” Alexander Hamilton

 

Cunning might even be a better word as I read Hamilton’s thoughts this morning. As I look at even Hamilton’s life ending in a duel with the then vice president Aaron Burr. As I am listening to news and current political pundits who shout differing opinions from day to day as they try and pull a vote here or there or for shock value pull a potential president out of the woodwork I wonder and am amazed at how Hamilton knew all along even three hundred years ago how the ongoing human mind worked. 

 

“Men often oppose a thing merely because they have had no agency in planning it, or because it may have been planned by those whom they dislike.” Alexander Hamilton

 

I see this every day in education, in student life, in a high school, in families and worse in those who supposedly govern us in this country an attitude of self-centeredness,  they are almost like spoiled children. Why would a congressman from Texas want so adamantly to drill in Alaska and or Senators from non-coastal states so vehemently want to drill in coastal states who oppose drilling off of their shores? I recall walking over a pipeline on the St. Augustine beach and looking out on what once were pristine waters to see oil rigs only a few yards from shore. I wonder about such things.

 

“Real firmness is good for anything; strut is good for nothing.” Alexander Hamilton

 

Over the years of watching humanity you do see those little bantam like fools who strut around flashing and smiling and oh yeah “I am the man” sort of fellows. But is it real? Hamilton saw through the strut to what he calls real firmness, an interesting set of words.

 

“The people are turbulent and changing; they seldom judge or determine right. Give therefore to the first class a distinct permanent share in the government… Can a democratic assembly who annually revolve in the mass of the people be supposed steadily to pursue the public good?” Alexander Hamilton

 

Perhaps this is where I disagree with Hamilton. Yet within our structure of government we do have a class system, wealthy attorneys, industrialists and professionals who in effect run our government often becoming indirectly wealthier. It seems very few elected official leave office in less shape than when they go in. A good example is the former Vice President Cheney. His former company from before his vice president days is reaping far greater profits than ever before and with contracts in the billions be it in Iraq or from Katrina or Around the world and often still at no-bid status. I wonder if all of our soldiers will ever come home.

 

“Those who do not industrialize become hewers of wood and haulers of water.” Alexander Hamilton

 

A prophecy from three hundred years ago and still true to this day although I wonder who is the better person? When you look at third world countries wood goes first then the economy unless that country industrializes. Yet in the losing of forest and jungles often so much more is lost.

 

“Those who stand for nothing fall for anything.” Alexander Hamilton

 

Perhaps it is in our indifference that we lose. Perhaps it is in our voting in such low turn outs that we lose. If we truly believed in this country and in what it stands for, would should vote and participate in having a voice. I found an old newsletter from a student organization four years ago entitled, “The Voice” silenced by an administration who did not want students having any say so. In 1804 Hamilton offended the Vice President and a duel was arranged. Aaron Burr and Hamilton met in a meadow in New Jersey one morning. Hamilton shot his pistol in the air. Burr shot Hamilton in the stomach and he died the next day. The Vice President had to escape, charges for murder were pressed. Over the years Hamilton’s ideas and thoughts have blossomed. The US Coast Guard, US Navy, many treasury processes and concepts go back directly to Hamilton. But as I finish up this morning this last quote is so significant for us today.

 

“Those who stand for nothing fall for anything.” Alexander Hamilton

 

We have to take a stand otherwise we will simply fall by the wayside. I Have friends in Pennsylvania fighting for the rights for exceptional children with a state government trying to cut education to special needs children. Please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your hearts and to always give thanks namaste.

 

Wa de (Skee)

bird

 

 

“It does not require many words to speak the truth”

Chief Joseph, Nez Perce

 

Can we see a gray world in color?

Bird Droppings September 28, 2012

Can we see a gray world in color?

 

“Stress is the body and mind’s response to any pressure that disrupts its normal balance. It occurs when our perceptions of events don’t meet our expectations and we don’t manage our reaction to the disappointment. As a response, stress expresses itself as resistance, tension, strain or frustration that throws off our physiological and psychological equilibrium, keeping us out-of-sync.” Doc Childre and Howard Martin, The HeartMath Solution

 

By chance I got into a discussion on perception yesterday amazing how we all seem to see the same world differently. Sometimes it amazes me what my years of experience and learning see and what fifteen year olds limited years and even another person of my own age see can be so vastly different. Each of us has been different places, seen different things, and learned different methods and strategies that provide us with a means to view the world. We are constantly applying these perceptions almost without thinking to our each waking moment and every step we take. I recall listening back a number of years ago to an interview with the great athlete Lance Armstrong.

 

“Cancer is my secret because none of my rivals has been that close to death and it makes you look at the world in a different light and that is a huge advantage.” Lance Armstrong

 

I remember waiting to hear after my father was wheeled into surgery for stomach cancer the prognosis. We had been given the grim reality of his possible future by the surgeon just minutes before and were waiting as a family for news after. Amazing how death offers a new perspective to life, it seems each second becomes precious.

 

“Do not say,” it is morning,” and dismiss it with a name of yesterday. See it for the first time as a newborn child that has no name.” Rabindranath Tagore

 

When the surgeon walked out and said this was the smallest tumor he had ever removed from a patient’s stomach and still paraphrased with but, it was a relief. Life though had been redefined. Meaning to each moment had been altered.

 

“What you see and hear depends a good deal on where you are standing; it also depends on what sort of person you are.” C. S. Lewis

 

Our experiences and understandings and believes do have input and effect our perception of each instant in our lives. This is sort of the filters we see and hear through and conversely understand through. I have a student who is extremely conservative and views everything as being altered to be politically correct. My student sees each item in their life as having been spun. Many of us do as we watch news biased by opinion of the news broadcaster but I am amazed as I see one thing and my student’s view is nearly opposite.

 

“The solution to stress management lies in how we perceive the stresses in our lives. It’s not really the events taking place in our lives that cause stress. Stress depends entirely on how we perceive the events that happen to us. The good news is that since stress is a response—not the event that triggers the response—we can control it. Once we shift our perception of a situation and see it with more clarity, the stressful reaction can be reduced or released.” Doc Childre and Howard Martin, The HeartMath Solution

 

The difficult aspect however is in changing your perception, it has taken time and effort to come to the world view that we have.

 

“You can complain because roses have thorns, or you can rejoice because thorns have roses.” Ziggy

 

“You have to ask children and birds how cherries and strawberries taste.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

 

“The appearance of things changes according to the emotions and thus we see magic and beauty in them, while the magic and beauty are really in ourselves.” Kahlil Gibran

 

A cartoon character, a philosopher and a mystic poet would see a world differently perhaps yet there is an understanding among these three that the world has varying and differing views. Is the glass half full or half empty even though the amount of water is the same?

 

“All that is gold does not glitter; not all those that wander are lost.” J.R.R. Tolkien

 

“It does no harm just once in a while to acknowledge that the whole country isn’t in flames, that there are people in the country besides politicians, entertainers, and criminals.” Charles Kuralt

 

Amazing how a linguist and newscaster see so similar, though one is famous for realism and one for fantasy. Kuralt is known for his to the point clarity in news casting and Tolkien for his brilliance in creating a world where fantasy and magic are real.

 

“We don’t see things as they are; we see things as we are.” Anais Nin

 

“No life is so hard that you can’t make it easier by the way you take it.” Ellen Glasgow

 

“The eye sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend” Henri Bergson

 

I often wonder as I go about each day as to how people see and hear what they do. What biases and prejudices make their world appear as it does? So many people allow hatred and negativity into their lives through their perception of existence. I sat with a young man last week helping him calm down; he was stressed by the actions of another student. He was stressed to a point of wringing his hands till there were red. The other student walked away I am sure laughing how he had pushed this other fellow to near the breaking point, “all in fun”. He was a big man on campus and it was part of his image.

 

“The greater part of our happiness or misery depends on our dispositions and not our circumstances.” Martha Washington

 

“Men are disturbed not by things, but by the view which they take of them.” Epictetus

 

One student sees humor another sees ridicule and shame, one walks away laughing and another sits in severe pain.

 

“Miracles seem to rest, not so much upon faces or voices or healing power coming suddenly near to us from far off, but upon our perceptions being made finer so that for a moment our eyes can see and our ears can hear that which is about us always.” Willa Cather

 

It is so difficult to pass judgment when perception is involved, yet life should be about doing no harm and doing no harm means not finding humor in another’s pain. When someone asks to stop, whether you do not see the issue stopping is the only alternative. We have to learn our perception is not the sole perception in this reality. I have seen to many tears this week walking through the halls. I have seen far too many clenched fists. Yet four years ago while officiating at a wedding there were tears were of joy.

 

“Only in quiet waters do things mirror themselves undistorted. Only in a quiet mind is adequate perception of the world.” Hans Margolius

 

So often emotion tints the glass of our vision and anger allows us to see color only in grays and not in the true vivid color that is actually there.

 

“The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.” Marcel Proust

 

“Better keep yourself clean and bright; you are the window through which you must see the world.” George Bernard Shaw

 

If only we could provide free Windex to all imagine what a world we would have. It is such a simple concept using Windex to clean the perceptions of the world, to help clear the grime off so many windows. I really do not want everybody seeing the world alike that would be boring but somehow leveling the playing field perhaps as I drove home a few years back from dropping my son at college an idea hit me I called it the sacred spirit of man. Maybe just providing corrective lenses to others so they can see my way, and I am legally color blind. If only? Please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your heart and to always give thanks namaste.

 

Wa de (Skee)

bird

 

 

Why do we not allow that light bolb to go on?

Bird Droppings September 27, 2012

Why do we not allow that light bulb to go on?

 

It has been nearly five years since my doctorial cohort ended and we began the journey on our own. Most of us will have had a few classes or two together here and there and are into and beginning our dissertations in our own ways. I recall many months back we met for an advanced seminar and one of the readings was an Aldus Huxley book, Doors of our perception, which while not that many pages was a major part of the discussion. I am always intrigued when pieces of my time in existence seem just for me as several ideas within the book were significant as I look back.

However our professor ended the session pointing at himself and mentioned how he has pursued intellectualism. Reading and expanding his own knowledge has been his pursuit and he mentioned several times how great it is to be a professor you get paid to read. I was thinking to high school students who we try and get to read and many college students as well. So often when you ask, what is your favorite book a response will be I do not read? Instilling that passion for knowledge should be our task rather than just testing for specific pieces of information. But I keep reflecting to several incidents the past few days that have continued to bother me since coming back to teaching. The number of students who really do not care about learning is rising.

 

“You are today where your thoughts have brought you; you will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you.” James Allen

 

I have been thinking on this passage many days. I firmly believe even as we plan and set goals and agendas we are where we need to be at this moment. Is it so simple as we travel the pathways presented to us each day thinking we have choice and actually could be setting the direction? It has been a few years since I first looked at life as a journey. Since that first day however it has become a truly memorable one for me. Now I make an effort to view each moment as I pass try and keep up with all the surroundings and trying to understand each piece of the puzzle as it falls in place. “Life is about the journey”, I have used many times in my writings.

 

“Thinking more than others about our own thoughts is not self-centeredness. It means that if asked what’s on our mind, we are less likely to mention being aware of the world around us, and more likely to mention our inner reflections. But we are less likely to mention thinking about other people.” Elaine N. Aron, Clinical Psychologist

 

I just took Dr. Aron’s quiz to see if I am a HSP highly sensitive person or not rather interesting. Website – http://www.hsperson.com/index.html, I tend to argue several issues within her test. I thrive on the interactions empathizing with others and emotions surrounding me and in looking at and reflecting on the HSP test seems to have this as a negative response. So while slightly highly sensitive it is again more of a self-reflection rather than on the world around you.

 

“You live with your thoughts — so be careful what they are.” Eva Arrington

 

“If everybody thought before they spoke, the silence would be deafening.” George Barzan

 

Each day I spend a large portion of time trying to assist students in thinking. A simple thought yet rather difficult. Trying to encourage thought processes can be interesting as one student told me. “Mr. Bird why do we have to think it hurts my brain.” Sadly I hear that several times a day.

 

“There are lots of people who cannot think seriously without injuring their minds.” John Jay Chapman

 

I keep a box of Band-Aids handy and have pulled them out occasionally for serious brain injury and surprise students with the offer when their brains hurt.

 

“No matter how hard you work for success if your thought is saturated with the fear of failure, it will kill your efforts, neutralize your endeavors and make success impossible.” Baudjuin

 

“A thought which does not result in an action is nothing much, and an action which does not proceed from a thought is nothing at all.” Georges Bernanos

 

Thought processes are often bewildering. I was sitting here typing and thinking and went to type, Ge, and was thinking and spelling and got to Geo and couldn’t hit the “o” key I wanted to hit “r” but thought process and fingers got caught. I was looking at “o” and wanted to type “r”, actually paused for a second to rationalize.

 

“We are formed and molded by our thoughts. Those whose minds are shaped by selfless thoughts give joy when they speak or act. Joy follows them like a shadow that never leaves them.” Buddha

 

“We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make our world.” Buddha

 

Interesting as I look at these two remarks from several thousand years ago. Today psychologists will say the same thing. I say the same thing without quoting Buddha every day. But so many people do not really think about where there are.

 

“Man is what he believes.” Anton Chekhov

 

It is so difficult to explain this to students really to anyone. Yet great coaches around the country have been proving this for years. My youngest son is an avid sport trivia fan while still not on par with the great trivia authority and good friend Jimmy Hughes, my son is pretty good. He will ask many times who do I think is the greatest of all time NCAA coaches, usually though the question is “dad don’t you think Spurrier is the greatest of all time NCAA coaches”. I like it when he leaves me an out, he didn’t mention a sport and I can throw out John Wooden or Dan Gable or even more recent Paul Hewitt and really get him going. “Well what about Coach K then”, thinking though is the goal and that he does.

 

“The problem with most people is that they think with their hopes or fears or wishes rather than their minds.” Walter Duranty

 

“It is astonishing what an effort it seems to be for many people to put their brains definitely and systematically to work.” Thomas A. Edison

 

I recall my middle son’s senior year.  He was near the top in his class and always an excellent student. Due to scheduling he was unable to take the honors English course he wanted to and had to take regular senior English with the rest of humanity. He has a slug sitting next to him who every day would ask to copy his homework. My son got to where his responses were classic, one that stuck with me went something like this “We all make mistakes and in all honesty I truly believe this is all correct. But what if I am wrong and I allow you to copy and then you receive a failing grade and your life is ruined I will not be able to live with that. So no, I cannot allow you to copy. If you fail I want it to be you who fails not me helping you too”.

 

“Humans have the ability to shift perspective. We can experience the world through our senses. Or we can remove ourselves from our senses and experience the world even less directly. We can think about our life, rather than thinking in our life. We can think about what we think about our life, and we can think about what we think about that. We can shift perceptual positions many times over.” John J. Emerick

 

Each moment is unique and each uniquely different. As we are wandering the pathways of life they can tire you.  You might stop to sip a cup of water midst the turmoil of the day and to move on past the strife. Each day we have choices to make we have opportunity and we have disaster waiting. It is that light bulb going off like in the old cartons over our heads that makes the difference. Sitting in my sanctuary of writing room upstairs in the darkness of morning thinking and pondering as I say that makes the difference. As my moments draw down and it becomes time for stage two of today please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your hearts and to always give thanks namaste.

 

Wa de (Skee)

bird

 

 

 

PS- “The real difficulty, the difficulty which has baffled the sages of all times, is rather this: how can we make our teaching so potent in the motional life of man, that its influence should withstand the pressure of the elemental psychic forces in the individual?” Albert Einstein 

 

 

 

We all know the slogan just do it, but I add when?

Bird Droppings September 26, 2012

We all know the slogan just do it, but I add when?

 

With the issue of women’s rights in political forefront of the election and several other civil right issues as possible issues as well I referred to two very famous and wise women in history to start today. I often wonder why sexism never came up when these two powerful and very involved women’s names come up.

 

“I am only one, but I am still one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something. And because I cannot do everything I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.”  Helen Keller

 

“There are two kinds of people: those who do the work, and those who take the credit. Try to be in the first group; there is less competition there.” Indira Gandhi

 

As I read this morning these two statements stood out I doubt from what I have read if some of the current various political candidates in races around the country would recognize the names out of history. These two great people were tremendously influential in their time. Helen Keller was blind and deaf yet addressed world leaders and lectured throughout the world. Indira Gandhi daughter of Jawaharlal Nehru and the first woman prime minister of a leading world country. I will try and simplify their remarks, “don’t just sit there do something”.  So often people sit and wait many times for someone else to do whatever needs to be done.

 

“Don’t wait for someone to take you under their wing. Find a good wing and climb up underneath it.” Frank C. Buraro

 

“Never leave that till tomorrow which you can do today.” Benjamin Franklin

 

Each day I see teachers and students hesitate myself included, “I can get it done tomorrow” or “I can’t do it”. In the end so often what gets done is only adequate and could have been so much better, we hesitate, we procrastinate, we accept partial over a whole, and we will take a seventy percent on a paper “its passing”. I see red when I hear that and yet I remember when I too would accept that grade and walk away happy with less work and less studying.

 

“Do you know what happens when you give a procrastinator a good idea? Nothing!” Donald Gardner

 

“There is nothing so fatal to character as half finished tasks.” David Lloyd George

 

Every day it takes effort to try and explain that it only takes a bit more effort a bit more energy for an A over a C. Is it human nature to seek the easy path in life I am starting to believe and really think it is becoming worse in our society?

 

 “Don’t wait; the time will never be just right.” Napoleon Hill

 

“Putting off an easy thing makes it hard, and putting off a hard one makes it impossible.” George H. Lonmer

 

I had a student explain why it took so long for him to finish projects. He wanted to be sure it was right. I told him it was because he didn’t work at it he assured me it was seeking perfection that was his down fall. I am all about keeping data, the key to many choices in life. Yesterday my perfectionist unknowingly was observed for ten minutes. In each half of ten minutes anytime someone mention anything he would get up and walk over to see what it was or come over to me to see what I was doing. So in perfecting his work nearly two thirds of his time was getting out of doing it. I made a comment to him, “if you put that hard work from the three or four minutes out of ten you actually worked into all ten minutes you would be done in time and have plenty of time to spare”.

 

“How soon not now, becomes never.” Martin Luther

 

“Don’t wait for extraordinary circumstance to do good; try to use ordinary situations.” Charles Richter

 

We wait, we pause, and we hesitate, I wonder at what point in our evolutionary makeup pausing came in. I am sure it was not when running from the huge cave bears of bygone days or saber tooth tigers. Maybe with the advent of remote controls borrowing from the movie blink where Adam Sandler could stop everything else and get things done. I would think if you paused when a saber toothed tiger was chasing you it would only be once; there it had to be when remote controls came around.

 

“Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted, the indifference of those who should have known better, the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most that has made it possible for evil to triumph.” Haile Selassie

 

“During a very busy life I have often been asked, “How did you manage to do it all?” The answer is very simple. It is because I did everything promptly.” Richard Tangye

 

When it is time? When it is time to rather than putting off and often doing only a partial job to know when to the job and when not to do the job? When is it not wasting time either? Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have back those ten minutes here and there?

 

“The greatest amount of wasted time is the time not getting started.” Dawson Troutman

 

“The best labor saving device is doing it tomorrow” Source unknown

 

Each of us will have excuses for waiting but in the need perhaps we should put aside excuses and get the job done. Today keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your heart and to always give thanks namaste.

 

Wa de (Skee)

bird

Is not friendship a rather simple concept?

Bird Droppings September 25, 2012

Is not friendship a rather simple concept?

 

Recently I had the mother of three former students tell me how much her sons and daughter thought of me while I was coming into my current favorite store, Kroger. Sitting pondering here in the stillness of early morning we all need ego stroking at one time or another. I recalled back to when I had those particular students in class and how difficult a time it was and yet so often when we pay attention to a student or too a friend we do not realize how much we are truly affecting that person. Many times it is years later as is the case with this parent commenting to me last night as I walked in the store.

 

“I reach down and touch the delicate leaf of a plant. My friend’s words rise up in my heart. ‘Everything lives, everything dies, and everything leans to the light.’ If I only knew this it would be enough.” Kent Nerburn, Small Graces

 

When we show a bit of light to an individual they turn just as the plant will slowly turn to face the light in many ways that person will as well. One of my students has requested to be in my class all day, I really do not want them all day, but he responds in how I do things. Friendship so often is like sunlight. I started replacing my overhead lights with grow lights. Actually the color is so much easier to deal with and colors of things are more real than the sickening yellow of standard fluorescent bulbs.

 

“Friendship is the source of the greatest pleasures, and without friends even the most agreeable pursuits become tedious.” St. Thomas Aquinas

 

How do we support friends and throw sunlight their way, maybe simple things, quiet things, a touch, a smile, an email.

 

“Friendship is one of the most tangible things in a world which offers fewer and fewer supports.” Kenneth Branagh

 

“I value the friend who for me finds time on his calendar, but I cherish the friend who for me does not consult his calendar.” Robert Brault

 

Yesterday I printed out several pictures but two were of owls that were in effect clay turned jug owls made by a folk potter from north Georgia. Grace Nell Hewell is the matriarch of a family of potters in Gillsville Georgia. A sixth generation at that site turning pots for a living. I dropped them off in my friend’s room, no reason really just for being a friend, she teaches art and talks about potters in her sculpture class; sometimes we just do simple things.

 

“Old friends pass away, new friends appear. It is just like the days. An old day passes, a new day arrives. The important thing is to make it meaningful: a meaningful friend — or a meaningful day.” Dalai Lama

 

“I do then with my friends as I do with my books. I would have them where I can find them, but I seldom use them.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

When I am speaking of friends often I will say I really do not have that many friends one or two and usually a name or two will scroll through my head. Yet when I am walking about in life there are few who I do not truly consider friends. I sit back in the in my chair at school typing away at my computer a row of books put together recently when a friend of my sons took interest in an area of thought I have been following for several years. Behind me shelves of books, theology, education, psychology, literature and poetry surround the walls and directly in front of me a quote.

 

“A very powerful axe in a master’s hand accomplishes much, that same in the hands of a child nothing.” Edited by A.J. Russell, from Gods Calling

 

Emerson would have to be one of my heroes and I always seem to have something from him at my fingertips such as paraphrased a bit; friends are like books, you have them there on a shelf sort of waiting for the need or specific instance that you will have. I ran into a friend from school as I went shopping at the grocery store, she said she hates to go grocery shopping and will try and go once a month. I go daily, to see my friends I never know who I might meet, coincidences. Yesterday I went for a few items and a student who was absent was there riding his skate board we talked, another inside,  a friend whom I have known for years was also shopping. So often my wife warns me as I walk in don’t stop and talk to all of your friends you will be all day.

 

“Give me work to do, Give me health, Give me joy in simple things, Give me an eye for beauty, A tongue for truth, A heart that loves, A mind that reasons, A sympathy that understands. Give me neither malice nor envy, But a true kindness and a noble common sense. At the close of each day give me a book and a friend with whom I can be silent.” S. M. Frazier

 

How do we as friends support each other midst the turmoil of life and tribulations of simply walking the face of the earth, how do we support each other as we struggle to cross the stream with the rocks slippery and wet.

 

 “Friendship needs no words…” Dag Hammarskjold

 

“But friendship is precious, not only in the shade, but in the sunshine of life; and thanks to a benevolent arrangement of things, the greater part of life is sunshine.” Thomas Jefferson

 

A seldom heard phrase, a seldom whispered thought, and a seldom thought idea is only seldom responded too, so then do it, as NIKE says and or be a friend.

 

“The real test of friendship is: Can you literally do nothing with the other person? Can you enjoy together those moments of life that are utterly simple? They are the moment’s people look back on at the end of life and number as their most sacred experiences.” Eugene Kennedy

 

As I finish up this morning and in the course of the last hour or so thoughts of friends not just one or two that I would attest to but ever so many that I see and talk too every day each moment and email. Some are in college and I will see once a year or two maybe some I have not seen in several years and simple correspond daily in email. Still others share my home and some I see each day as I walk the halls at school or sit in the hall way observing and listening as folks go by. Friendship is a cement to build a life on as we travel from here to there, friends are everywhere. Sitting back that sort of sounds like Dr. Seuss, so today justice to all and keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your hearts and to always give thanks namaste.

 

Wa de (Skee)

bird

 

Who would have thought of a buffalo snort in the dark?

Bird Droppings September 24, 2012

Who would have thought of a buffalo snort in the dark?

 

“Life is no brief candle to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got a hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.” George Bernard Shaw

 

In all of my years of searching, pondering and wandering about it seems the pathway always continues. Many times I am stepping from one stone to the next to get across the stream placing one foot ahead of the next trying to stay out of the water. I think I have always tried to leave that life as I wander a little better than when I got there. It does not always work out but I do believe I try. When I am walking down the hall ways at school I always trying to smile, joke with students, get others smiling and joking, and enjoying that precise moment of life.

 

“None of us is promised tomorrow. Today in all its beauty and sadness and complexity, is all we have. This light we see may be the last such day we have on this earth. There is no certainty, beyond the fact that one day we will have no tomorrow, and that it is not ours to know when that day will be.” Kent Nerburn, Small Graces

 

Just before school was out last year I had to report an incident that was told to me by a student. It is difficult to when told in confidence yet the situation was severe enough to warrant reporting. In my same conversation with this student I was asked if my children ever got in trouble and I said no although tongue in cheek. The student responded, “They have never run away or sneaked out or …..” and again I said no. Immediately I asked instinctively if both parents lived at home. The response was hesitant but came, “no I live with my mom”, “but I don’t misbehave for my dad” and so forth. It comes to be the incident was not a onetime deal it is a regular occurrence and as I talk with parents and students I find my life is not “NORMAL”. It seems normal is having kids who are in trouble, causing problems yelling at their parents etc. It seems it is parents who are hitting their kids drinking with and such that is what society seems to deem as normal.

 

“On life’s journey faith is nourishment, virtuous deeds are a shelter, wisdom is the light by day and right mindfulness is the protection by night. If a man lives a pure life, nothing can destroy him.” Buddha

 

I woke up from a vivid dream while I was getting my hair cut and I never fall asleep while getting my hair cut. Just as the hair was being brushed away from my neck and I looked up at a clock on the wall it was 2:30 and I had to get going. But as I am thinking back to my dream, my dreams are generally simple ones with complexities woven in and throughout. As I thought back nearly six years to my starting back to graduate school. In preparing for my final presentation in my master’s program, my advisor was continually using the word “weave”. Our project was about weaving all the pieces together. I actually at one point of my thinking was going to produce two covers and weave them together in a symbolic gesture indicative of my professors thought. Life is a weaving in reality as I look at each aspect intertwined with the next. It could be that child growing up in the context of arguing and issues at home finds that is normal and yet asks what it would be like to live in my family where that doesn’t exist. I smile and joke and offer solace for the moment I have with that student not so much as to change the pattern of weaving but to offer stronger thread or a tighter warp to the pattern.

 

“Your life and my life flow into each other as wave flows into wave, and unless there is peace and joy and freedom for you, there can be no real peace or joy or freedom for me. To see reality–not as we expect it to be but as it is–is to see that unless we live for each other and in and through each other, we do not really live very satisfactorily; that there can really be life only where there really is, in just this sense, love.” Frederick Buechner

 

Nearly eleven years back I wrote about the Sixteen Hour Syndrome for the first time and how as a teacher I had eight hours to undo the sixteen hours parents and family have to deal with a child. Mathematically it doesn’t work and logically it doesn’t work and some parents do not want it to work, they have chosen the direction for their children and that is that.  Many times it seems futile as a teacher to even try and make a difference knowing what some children go home to.

 

“If, after all, men cannot always make history have meaning, they can always act so that their own lives have one.” Albert Camus

 

“The tragedy of life is not so much what men suffer, but rather what they miss.” Thomas Carlyle

 

Just before school let Friday last week out a particular student asked me about absolute truths. I responded and had a response from a dear friend and so forth a dialogue and the context was a positive one as we shared ideas and thoughts. Again just a few days before that I reported an incident that had happened to a student and was told that it was ok, it was discussed. Sadly that child went home thinking this is how life really is. It simply is ok. Normal parents and kids do yell at each other and hit each other and throw things at each other, it is ok.

 

“We dribble away our life, little by little, in small packages — we don’t throw it away all at once.” Robert A. Cook

 

“Life is a succession of lessons enforced by immediate reward, or, oftener, by immediate chastisement.” Ernest Dimnet

 

B.F. Skinner the man behind the concept of behavior modification once said he could change anything and anyone through behavior modification. Who knows maybe he is right, maybe if we continue picking away and smiling and joking and living life as un-normal as it may be to some others will catch on. Who knows maybe just maybe when tomorrow comes that child who was asking about have my children ever run away will be asking how much they study each night instead or what books they have read or what college are they going to.

 

“Every morning I wake up saying, I’m still alive; a miracle. And so I keep on pushing.” Jacques Cousteau

 

I have a friend at school a breast cancer survivor who said something very similar to me. For her “each day is a blessing to make the most of”. How profound and almost understated is amazingly her students love her. She honestly cares about them and they know it. A simple bit of attitude goes very far when wielded in honesty and good faith.

 

“What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.” Crowfoot

 

Many years ago I raised buffalo and as I would walk out each morning into the dark I would hear an occasionally snort and blow of air from our bull as he checked the cows and calves walking about in the morning haze. I knew life then and even today as I walk out and greet the morning though different sounds living in a subdivision but still I can hear if I listen hard that faint echo of a buffalo snorting in the fog as it drifts in. Life is what we choose to make it and how we weave or how we step into the day it is our choice. In teaching I emphasize setting the example and I have hanging on my one of the walls in my room at school a poster from my hippie days 1970 or so. Of course it is a black light poster. The posters title is “Children learn, what they Live” and it goes on from there. Please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your hearts and set the example in your own life for others to see and follow and be sure to always give thanks namaste.

 

Wa de (Skee)

bird

Is it possible that right may be wrong?

Bird Droppings September 22, 2012

Is it possible that being right may be sometimes be wrong?

 

“One of the most common errors is to suppose that the opposite of being wrong is right, when in many cases it is only another way of being wrong. We see this most obviously in political and governmental doctrines, where one extreme proves as futile as the other.” Sydney J. Harris, Strictly Speaking

 

I was thinking last night as I drove back from Cleveland Georgia with my son and looking through several books on research for a paper I am finishing where I would start today. Since we need some rain I will avoid cutting grass this weekend and that than become good thinking and pondering time for me, and grandbaby playing time too. My granddaughter is spending the night so who knows I might get a few moments between Lego and Sesame Street to think and ponder perhaps, then maybe I spend way too much time thinking who knows. I find interesting thoughts reading the old columns of Sydney J. Harris who was syndicated back in the 1970-80’s. Nearly eleven years ago a fellow teacher offered me a page or two from one of his thoughts and I was hooked and since then periodically I will read and reread his columns. We so often try to simplify the rightness and the wrongness of issues.

 

“It is not who is right, but what is right, that is of importance.” Thomas H. Huxley

 

“When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative.” Martin Luther King Jr.

 

These are very interesting comments coming from these two great thinkers from two different eras. Huxley was one of the greats in British science of the 19th century an advocate for Darwin, he is often called Darwin’s bull dog. His grandsons were prominent in science and literature. Huxley was about the science and the information not about who said it or why. King was a man, who could be radical and yet within his radicalism was conservatism, which some may find hard to believe. He fought for peace and equality in a time when politically equality was a dirty word. He did with a very powerful faith in humanity and in his own beliefs.

 

“Man’s greatness consists in his ability to do and the proper application of his powers to things needed to be done.” Fredrick Douglass

 

“I can honestly say that I was never affected by the question of the success of an undertaking. If I felt it was the right thing to do, I was for it regardless of the possible outcome.” Golda Meir

 

Two powerful quotes from a past great of the Supreme Court of the United States and a Prime Minister of Israel are in many ways was nearly contradictory to many of our own world views. Both very much believed in doing what was right and that if they believed it was right the outcome was not the issue. In many ways the means justified the end, so interesting in this world of reverse thought where the ends justify the means in so much of what we do.

 

“Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest.” Mark Twain

 

As I look at these thoughts from great thinkers from history the word right perhaps has gotten lost in semantics of our time. We use right versus left or conservative versus liberal, yet in history so often right was not conservative at all but very much for change. During the struggle for civil rights many times this was so true. I remember moving to MaconGeorgia in 1972 and that issue had just begun to sink into the community. Many white children were taken from public schools and placed in private schools.

I recall in 1968 driving through the south and seeing water fountains still labeled colored on a hose and whites only on the water fountain. Wrongness and rightness, simple words I recall in 1970 if you were against the war in Viet Nam you were unpatriotic. Our rationale for being there was to stop the spread of communism and to support the South Vietnamese who we had supported since their independence in 1954. Did we have anything to gain in reality? We were coming from a recession and in the course of the war our economy boomed, historically war drives industry. I should perhaps paraphrase in the past, wars drove industrial complex when it was in our country.

So applying the ends justifies the means we could justify the war in Viet Nam or so historians now say. But if we took Golda Meir’s view and Fredrick Douglass’ view the war would not have been justified as we now know it. Would Civil rights back in the day have been justified which depends on who you speak with. It is funny how ultra conservative right wing fanatics are against civil rights. I read constantly hints of this in blogs and comments made on Facebook.

 

“There are few people who are more often in the wrong than those who cannot endure to be so.” Francois De La Rochefoucauld

 

“As it is the characteristic of great wits to say much in few words, so small wits seem to have the gift of speaking much and saying nothing.” Francois De La Rochefoucauld

 

I am ending today with a 17th Century French writer who confronted politics in his own time. We are ending a week filled with political messages right and left and news both at home and abroad keeps me ending each morning still with please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your hearts and to always give thanks for what we do have namaste.

 

Wa de (Skee)

bird