Sailing off the edge and or thinking out of a box

Bird Droppings August 6, 2013
Sailing off the edge and or thinking out of a box

“I believe that to meet the challenges of our times, human beings will have to develop a greater sense of universal responsibility. Each of us must learn to work not just for oneself, one’s own family or nation, but for the benefit of all humankind. Universal responsibility is the key to human survival. It is the best foundation for world peace.” The Dalai Lama, from The Pocket Zen Reader

I have found teachers can be limited in their scope of reality. You would think that as a group teachers would be more open to ideas, to new thought, to climbing out of the box. I read this passage above yesterday in a daily offering I receive. I immediately thought of teaching. As a teacher most think only within the confines of their room. Being in a somewhat different sort of atmosphere in a resource room although I did claim god like power yesterday within my room one of my goals is behavior outside of my room. Whoa, what a concept? Try and get kids to behave for other teachers. In reality it is simply expanding kids thinking beyond the moment or at least trying to.

“Suppose that we are wise enough to learn and know and yet not wise enough to control our learning and knowledge, so that we use it to destroy ourselves? Even if that is so, knowledge remains better than ignorance. It is better to know even if the knowledge endures only for the moment that comes before destruction than to gain eternal life at the price of a dull and swinish lack of comprehension of a universe that swirls unseen before us in all its wonder. That was the choice of Achilles, and it is mine, too.” Isaac Asimov

I read this statement so many years ago and I responded one way. A friend sent me this quote, we have an ongoing dialogue and this was a response to something I wrote and not really a counter thought but additional support. Wisdom is not as elusive as one might expect. But I do not think in wisdom one would destroy one’s self. Knowledge or knowing how to do something does not impart wisdom. A radical extremist can know how to build a nuclear device and detonate it and is that wisdom? Car bombers are they wise? Dying in retaliation and perhaps in any kind of war is that wise? Wisdom is not controlling knowledge and maybe I really do not know what wisdom is. So wisdom is part knowledge but also an additional aspect of concern and caring that provide the frame work for the knowledge to be structured within. Yet wisdom is not truly control.
Achilles knew his limitations and did battle. Someone else found his weakness and he was defeated. As I look deeper into the statement by Asimov however there is a willingness to know at any cost and perhaps that is really what is being said. Given the choice of not knowing or knowing and in so knowing all will be destroyed still Asimov would choose to know.
I recall Columbus Day celebrating a man who at one point discovered America for Europeans some indigenous peoples will say they discovered Columbus lost. However as the weeks passed his desire to know came under fire as his crew feared sailing off the edge of the world and sea serpents and such. He chanced it and discovered a new world for him sometimes it is not destruction but illumination that waits.

“True wisdom lies in gathering the precious things out of each day as it goes by.” E. S. Bouton

“Raphael paints wisdom; Handel sings it, Phidias carves it, Shakespeare writes it, Wren builds it, Columbus sails it, Luther preaches it, Washington arms it, Watt mechanizes it.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Seeing the pieces and picking through and knowing which to save and which to toss aside is that wisdom. I wonder as I sit thinking this morning.

“Wisdom is not wisdom when it is derived from books alone.” Horace

“In talking to children, the old Lakota would place a hand to the ground and explain: ‘We sit in the lap of our mother. From her we, and all other living things, come. We soon shall pass, but the place where we now rest will last forever.’ So we too, learned to sit or lie on the ground and become conscious of the life around us in its multitudinous forms.” Chief Luther Standing Bear, Teton Sioux

Having an understanding of what it is we see and touch maybe there is wisdom. It is not as much knowing but understanding. An understanding within the constraints of what we know. What a paradox? I am sitting reading Kent Nerburn’s book Native American Wisdom, filled with quotes and ideas from Native American culture and thought. In a passage from Sitting Bull, the great medicine man of the Teton Sioux he wonders why all things have happened as they have from his thoughts and as I read I wonder.

“Is it wrong for me to love my own? Is it wicked for me because my skin is red? Because I am a Sioux? Because I was born where my father lived? Because I would die for my people and my country?” Sitting Bull, Teton Sioux

Sitting Bull received his answer shortly thereafter as he was arrested for inciting mutiny on the reservation during a period of unrest. A medicine man from another tribe had started a cult of sorts and many Sioux were following. Sitting Bull was accused of taking part and on his way to jail as legend has it he was killed. His arresters, several Sioux guards as Sitting Bull gestured to his grandson, they thought he was pulling a pistol and shot him several times. Sitting Bull had foretold his death several days before by Sioux hands.

“Wisdom comes in dreams” Wovoka, Paiute, medicine man

Why even bring up an old Native American’s ideas during a discourse on wisdom? It is within the context of our knowledge that we seek wisdom within what we know. So often we fear what we do not know which is literally the opposite of wisdom and then try and destroy it. Had we tried to understand when we first came to the Americas perhaps the day after Columbus Day would be somewhat different? What if we had tried to understand instead of force our knowledge upon a group of people? Knowledge alone can destroy wisdom however maybe the buffer is understanding. Freud and Jung might argue Wovoka’s thought, yet they would sit and ponder dreams as therapy. I wonder as I sit and always my thoughts come back to going into a class room. I hope as I teach some way this makes sense and when a student leaves they look differently at life maybe wiser maybe just seeing a new color today instead of all black and white.

“Teachers are people who start things they never see finished, and for which they never get thanks until it is too late.” Max Forman

Maybe in that statement is wisdom and understanding but we may never see the true nature of all we as teachers do and hopefully we are continuing to look. Please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your hearts and always give thanks namaste.

For all my relations
Wa de (Skee)
bird

Is not wondering is a powerful tool?

Bird Droppings August 5, 2013
Is not wondering is a powerful tool?

Several years back we started sort of a school wide vocabulary of the week and with today being the first day of teachers going back to school I was reminded of this as I was looking through my various files for quotes and such. About three years ago as the day wound down an email came out from the head of the English Department featuring our vocabulary words of the week. The email was asking each teacher to feature and or have out a featured word. The word for the next week was to be diligent, which is an adjective and means to be showing care in doing one’s work. I had a photo I took the first day or so of school of one of the teachers across the hall from me talking with a student. I knew there was a use for that photo and it became the back ground for the word of the week poster. Conveniently the teacher is an English teacher as well. Here I am sitting in the wee hours of the morning thinking back to my first word of the week poster in near darkness wondering about today and words of the week ahead.

“He who wonders discovers that this in itself is wonder.” M. C. Escher

I first became aware of artist M.C. Escher in the early 1970’s. As a side note for those of you not familiar with Escher he would use forms and geometric shapes to create his pictures. Many would be wood block prints that often took the form of a puzzle like maze. There is one I remember that is a series of lizard like creatures that as they pass the midpoint of the picture begin to change into birds. He was a man who was in awe of awe.

“It is the unseen and the spiritual in people that determines the outward and the actual.” Thomas Carlyle

Perhaps as Carlyle points out it is that aspect of our nature we do not totally reveal that is more in control than what we think. Coming from a psychology background and over the years working in settings where these aspects are integral to what might transpire in a day I have come to find there is fragileness, gossamer, delicate layer that makes us tick and yet there within that fragility is our strength as well.

“To know what people really think, pay regard to what they do, rather than what they say.” Rene Descartes

I recall as we listen to our politicians who pass laws that they themselves are immune to. So often for politicians the rhetoric that elects has little meaning once elected. I am always amazed at how we cut taxes and increase spending and wonder why you are in deep deficits and going deeper. However in reality it seems that all people in general seem to be politicians as we go through life.

“People don’t change their behavior unless it makes a difference for them to do so.” Fran Tarkenton

We all our in effect are selfish creatures and be that it may occasionally we try to alter that behavior and focus on others but deep down unless we find something in that effort generally we seem to turn back. I am being cynical this morning as I near the end of the week and actually really did not start that way today. I was reading several pieces by Skinner this morning one of which has always bothered me even though we have ethics guidelines as teachers.

“Give me a child and I’ll shape him into anything.” B. F. Skinner

During the early 1970’s as I received my undergraduate degree in psychology Skinner was a mainstay of my thinking with behavior modification. I ran many rats through Skinner boxes. Press a lever and receive a food pellet. Skinner firmly believed all behavior literally can be controlled, manipulated and repackaged. I have learned much if only one thing over the years since. There is a bit more too it. If Skinner was right totally and in the wrong hands there would be little to be in awe of. There would be little wonderment left but it is that aspect where behaviorism hits a wall. We can to a point control and manipulate behaviors. We can change behaviors. We can alter, negate and extinguish behaviors. But somewhere deep within there is a spark as Carlyle says. There is that unseen part of us that is outside that reinforcement of desired behaviors.

“Just as a flower which seems beautiful and has color but no perfume, so are the fruitless words of the man who speaks them but does them not.” John Dewey

“Don’t you believe that there is in man a deep so profound as to be hidden even to him in whom it is?” St. Augustine

As I read this morning and searched looking for answers yet to be known I find we all are searching each in our own way. We each are trying to find that elusive aspect that is unseen, that hidden portion as we journey and trod the pathways of life. There are answers and simply sharing answers would be in a way like cheating but by providing lesson guides to help others find answers that perhaps would be different. So with a day ahead a new journey to go. Take a step forward one before the other. As you walk look at what a person does more than what they say. I do believe that there is more to man than simply what is there and seek to find answers and keep all in harm’s way in your hearts and on your mind and always give thanks namaste.

For all my relations
Wa do (Skee)
bird

Don’t cross word puzzles take some time?

Bird Droppings August 4, 2013
Don’t cross word puzzles take some time?

Towards the end of the last school year one of my students was working on a history assignment and had to define bias. She was not sure which definition was correct and asked my opinion. I explained in history bias is that of the historian doing the writing. It is how they see the event and happenings that may have come from that event. A few days ago I threw out an author’s name I was very impressed with, Ronald Takaki and his book, A Different Mirror.

“More than ever before, there is a growing realization that the established scholarship has tended to define America too narrowly. For example, in his prize-winning study, The Uprooted, Harvard historian Oscar Handlin presented — to use the book’s subtitle – ‘the Epic Story of the Great Migrations That Made the American People.” But Handlin’s “epic story” excluded the “uprooted” from Africa, Asia, and Latin America — the other “Great Migrations” that also helped to make “the American People.” Similarly, in The Age of Jackson, Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., left out blacks and Indians. There is not even a mention of two marker events — the Nat Turner insurrection and Indian Removal, which Andrew Jackson himself would have been surprised to find omitted from a history of his era.” Ronald Takaki

Takaki offers that so often in history it is the winners that write the history and the politics of the time define said history. It was not that long ago Andrew Jackson forced the migration of Creeks and Cherokees from their homelands in the southern US to Oklahoma and the Indian Territory only to be taken again during the land rush. Andrew Jackson is a dirty word in Okmulgee Oklahoma.

“When a man begins to understand himself he begins to live. When he begins to live he begins to understand his fellow men.” Norvin Mcgranahan

Often I have a tendency to say something or write something that was intended to be one thing and it is understood to be something else. It might be translated from my meager use of language into a distortion of the direction it was intended.

“We can chart our future clearly and wisely only when we know the path which has led to the present.” Adlai Stevenson

So many times our direction changes in midstream and we look hurriedly for a new rock to step too to keep from stumbling. Looking a step or two ahead can often prevent your falling into the water when crossing a stream.

“Where I am not understood, it shall be concluded that something very useful and profound is couched underneath.” Jonathan Swift

Sometimes it seems as clear to us as we write and discuss and yet to others a fog creates a distance or barrier to what it is we are trying to convey. Swift alludes to a vague understanding being hidden, you know something is there but cannot quite grasp it.
When many look at Einstein’s formulations in physics some see chicken scratching others see magic.

“Perhaps I am doomed to retrace my steps under the illusion that I am exploring, doomed to try and learn what I should simply recognize, learning a mere fraction of what I have forgotten.” Andre Breton

Returning to graduate school after nearly thirty years away has been many times simply remembering things I have put aside for a time and many times the frustration is seeing as you get older how much you have forgotten.

“No person was every rightly understood until they had been first regarded with a certain feeling, not of tolerance, but of sympathy.” Thomas Carlyle

“It has taken me all my life to understand it is not necessary to understand everything.” Rene Cody

As you grow older several things happen you can see deeper into occurrences because you have a broader base to draw from which makes it sometimes difficult to explain to some people and what appears as prophecy may simply be experience rearing up. I explain the idea of coincidence and Karl Jung’s synchronicity to teenagers and when doing this use a timeline of many years. Most teenagers do not have the timeline to see events pan out and to see that a happening now affects you twenty years from now. Today’s puzzle pieces work in junction with every piece before and every piece yet to fall in place.

“I started out with nothing. I still have most of it.” Micshael Davis

“If one does not understand a person, one tends to regard him as a fool.” Karl Jung

“Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word happy would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness. It is far better take things as they come along with patience and equanimity.” Karl Jung

In so many of Jung’s thoughts balancing, understanding and seeking to understand are so crucial as he looked at the dreams of his patients and as he tried to put pieces of their puzzles together. As I sit here writing and thinking, in sort of a symbolic way Freud worked with Lego blocks and Jung worked with blocks of Jell-O. For Jung there was barely form and often there was fluidity as pieces would meld into each other. Life is not quite the solid pieces of a Lego set and really isn’t perhaps as fluid as some thinkers would like to think but between the two maybe a plasma sort of effect for lack of terms maybe it is indescribable.

“Out of the Indian approach to life there came a great freedom, an intense and absorbing respect for life, enriching faith in a Supreme Power, and principles of truth, honesty, generosity, equity, and brotherhood as a guide to mundane relations.” Luther Standing Bear, Oglala Sioux, 1868-1937

“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, Blackfoot warrior and orator

I have used this quote from Crowfoot recently possibly even several times. This statement from Crowfoot to me is very profound. Recently I asked the question can you define God without scripture and without pronouns. As I look and see at Crowfoots statement of life there are so many mysteries. Another author I enjoy William Edelen author of “In search of the Mystery” offers that understanding is a key but seeing all that is presented and not simply individual pieces of life’s puzzle. It is not about looking at life through a toilet tissue tube as I say maybe too often keep use as an example. A wonderful day so far and so many ahead please keep all in harm’s way in our minds and hearts and to always give thanks namaste.

For my relations
Wa do (Skee)
bird

Why do more?

Bird Droppings August 2, 2013
Why do more?

“Choices are sacred to life’s journey. They lie along the path that all of us must follow for ourselves. An important Cherokee lesson is that if you involve yourself in any decision, you also experience the consequences of that decision.” Dr. J.T. Garrett, Meditations with the Cherokee

It has been quite a while since I was unable to walk out first thing in the morning and experience the newness of the day. Granted being not in the structured routine of school I tend to get lazy from not having to get up. But as we head towards getting back in full swing I may get back in a routine. It has been a very strange very wet summer in Georgia with rain predicted every day ahead for some time. Afternoons we have a chance of scattered thunder showers and mowing or yard work gets curtailed while plants and grass dry a bit. Over the weekend and several times this week I had to stop till rain drops subsided enough that I would not get soaked. It has been nearly seven summers since I submitted a reflection of sorts for my doctorate work on a book based on viewing history in more than one color, more than one culture or societal norm. Rereading that reflection led me to a powerful thought.

“Do more than belong; participate. Do more than care; help. Do more than believe; practice. Do more than be fair; be kind. Do more than forgive; forget. Do more than dream; work.” William Arthur Ward

As I sit here this early morning responding to emails from previous days I am slowly catching up. It is through our actions we are perceived. It was many nights back even several years ago at a basketball game several fans were asked nicely to leave by administration and eventually sheriffs intervened in the altercation. You could be upset with a situation but when you vocalize using words that in reality do not really make sense, as so often swearing does not (sit and write literal meanings to most swearing) and add hand gestures and increase volume, you are being perceived as out of control. When asked nicely to cease such distracting behavior and you continue that too adds to the perception of perhaps out of control. In speaking to a sheriff in a derogatory manner, again fuels the flames of perception, being a person who has ceased to utilize their own self-control and the result, being asked quite nicely to not be in the gym in public view might seem a bit understated.
It could be behavior modification time and coincidentally having a background in BM, that’s behavior modification by the way. Although today we use less harsh terms, Functional Behavior Analysis and Task Analyzes. BM is what it is about and there are times now with two little ones in the house I see some behavior that BM could mean more along the lines of potty training. Back to my story for example, the first offense at a basketball game and there after you can come but must wear a dog training collar to reenter gym. In the control booth sits your modifier, preferably a spouse or child who probably will enjoy this, holding the button. If you get out of control they get to press the button sending a mild shock to your neck. However if you continue they also have on the side of the control box the increase switch, raising the voltage. I think there are some spouses that may automatically go to max even for first jolt.
There is a chance of course that the child or spouse in the control booth has read Skinner’s books and articles and knows intermittent variable reinforcement works great too and shocks just to let their collared friend know who holds the button, and that might become the norm. Sporting events would never be the same. In the stands half the people sitting and twitching from shocks and the other half is sitting quietly smiling pressing the buttons. Kids could play their games and cheerleaders could cheer and what a wonderful time would be had by all. However had everyone read the first line of the first quote today none of this would be necessary.

“When you see a new trail, or footprint you do not know, follow it to the point of knowing” Uncheedah, grandfather of Ohiyesa, Dr. Charles Alexander Eastman

Is that something we now teach? In teaching biology I use a lesson and style of teaching that I had used myself in a graduate school class demonstration on existential teaching methods. I let the students find the answers and act only as a facilitator. In one plastic container is a tiger salamander (Elmo) and in the other a leopard gecko (Emily) one is an amphibian and the other a reptile. The lesson is based on taxonomy and differentiating between amphibians and reptiles. Having done this numerous times in summer school in Biology and in my own classes during the school year those that work through the lesson will remember which is which far better than having read a book or heard in a lecture, they literally followed the trail. How often do we take away curiosity and how often do we brush the trail clean of tracks?

“The first and simplest emotion which we discover in the human mind is curiosity.” Edmund Burke

“It is a shameful thing to be weary of inquiry when what we search for is excellent.” Marcus T. Cicero

Far too often we do not have time for children’s questions; we do not want to follow a new trail as Uncheedah speaks of. We only want the status quo the peace and solitude of that lesson plan laid out months in advance and carefully formulated to cover each of the required curriculum needs of the subject in a given time span. Let us get from point A to point B and not venture off the track ever again.

“Curiosity is, in great and generous minds, the first passion and the last.” Samuel Johnson

“I think, at a child’s birth, if a mother could ask a fairy godmother to endow it with the most useful gift, that gift would be curiosity.” Eleanor Roosevelt

So often I talk with students who are not curious. They seldom ask why and only accept what is taught to them and many do not even do that and simply shrug their shoulders and state they don’t care. So many people in our world today simply follow and media and the corporate advertising feed on this. When I read a statement from a person who says this is what I believe and you cannot change that about any subject matter or idea I sort of wonder.
We should be teaching children to challenge, to question, never just accepting an answer. My middle son had the highest regard for a teacher and on an occasion pointed out an error on a discussion transparency dealing with a specific type of animal. He pointed out that what was on the slide was in error and backed it up with the very biology book they were using, as well as other sources. A year later in he was in another Advanced Placement Biology class, and the same slide, same response. He again pointed out the error and the teacher was still teaching exactly the same, still in error and had never changed that slide. By chance three years later, speaking to a class, that slide again appeared, this time his respect for that teacher was gone, while a good teacher, a poor learner. It was difficult for a “teacher” to except a “students” understanding of a topic albeit that students brother had raised and bred that specific animal at home for many years so it was not simply a student spouting off, there was experiential contextual knowledge involved.

“Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.” Carl Edward Sagan

“Be curious always! For knowledge will not acquire you: you must acquire it.” Sadie Black

We got into a discussion of sorts yesterday about doing school work. So often teachers assign a certain number of problems in math regardless of whether the students know how to do that skill or not, homework for example, do these twenty problems. If the skill is known, why do the assignment, if not known, doing problems you do not know how to do, doesn’t help. This is not to pick on math teachers but so often this happens and students begin to look down on busy work. If that assignment had meaning, perhaps more care and effort would ensue. It is no wonder so many students soon learn who is doing homework and copy that person’s work simply to get credit for homework.

“I think knowing what you cannot do is more important than knowing what you can.” Lucille Ball

“It is not good to know more unless we do more with what we already know.” R. K. Bergethon

When you can apply a piece of knowledge it lasts far more than when it is simply an idea, a passing, thought something to forget. In some subjects it is difficult to make ideas applicable, at least this is what some teachers think and students soon grow weary and curiosity is gone. Several times I have mentioned a friend who in teaching history would occasionally dress as a knight or king and or a lowly goat herder to make a point drawing the class into the lesson.

“The essence of knowledge is, having it, to apply it; not having it, to confess your ignorance.” Confucius

“I would have the studies elective. Scholarship is to be created not by compulsion, but by awakening a pure interest in knowledge. The wise instructor accomplishes this by opening to his pupils precisely the attractions the study has for himself. The marking is a system for schools, not for the college; for boys, not for men; and it is an ungracious work to put on a professor.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

To instill curiosity a teacher must also be curious; a teacher must also be a learner. Recently I read several articles about schools where students and teachers make choices and decisions on the operation of the school, a truly democratic school. The Sudbury Valley School in Massachusetts is an example as I mentioned recently. Many years ago Socrates would simply ask a question and students would have to find the answers, not be told the answers and Socrates would assist through more questions. He must have upset his school board since he was required to drink poison.

“The trouble with the world is not that people know too little, but that they know so many things that ain’t so.” Mark Twain

This is a good place to wind down today. I am sitting here, thinking, pondering and wondering about where the day may go and what will be said and who will listen. I find solace in that thought. Please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your hearts and to always give thanks for all namaste.

For all my relations
Wa do (Skee)
bird

Is doing the best teacher?

Bird Droppings August 1, 2013
Is doing the best teacher?

It has been an interesting week. I did my usual going into school and working in my room. I spent a good bit of the mornings taking advantage of weather and light and getting some rather interesting photographs. Later yesterday afternoon after almost fifteen hours of rain I went to start gardening and it rained again of course. On a different thought it has been intriguing to me how so many people view education as failing. I wonder as I sit here this morning how many saying such things could pass a high school biology class of today. I was joking yesterday as I helped a friend move into a new room at school how my 1968 college biology was nothing compared to our current text in high school. He mentioned something about how cells were not discovered yet in 1968 alluding to my age.
But it is folks my age who are complaining and it is not education that is to blame. We live in a culture of and society of having it now. There is little dreaming ahead thinking of the future we are so energized to have stuff now and if you cannot Google it doesn’t exist. I am bad about collecting books and the fifty or so boxes that I put in storage from my previous room will attest to that. IN my collection is a 1931 copy of William Tompkins Universal sign language which was my fathers. It is fragile and I keep it at the house. I have thought it would make an interesting lead into a literature class and I found a copy of the book in a Barnes and Noble and honestly I have never found it before.
It has been a few days since my sons and I went to a reptile show here locally and always there are some strange characters about. I had the opportunity to listen to world renowned reptile and wildlife photographer, Bill Love talk about taking pictures of reptiles. Interestingly enough his comment that stuck was “doing is the best teacher”.

“You cannot hope to build a better world without improving the individuals. To that end, each of us must work for our own improvement and, at the same time, share a general responsibility for all humanity, our particular duty being to aid those to whom we think we can be most useful.” Madame Marie Curie

Somewhere along the line the concept of “do a good deed daily” came along and it always amazes me where and why I choose a particular direction to go in my daily writings. It could be a comment in an email about only living a good life, or a comment from a snake photographer both of which kind of sort of gave me a focus today.

“Keep doing good deeds long enough and you’ll probably turn out a good man in spite of yourself.” Louis Auchincloss

As I read this morning and look through ideas a simple matter comes to mind and that is that our living as an example, it is a model to go by for others. We are all predominately visual learners and seeing is believing has been said many times over.

“One’s life has value so long as one attributes value to the life of others, by means of love, friendship, indignation and compassion.” Simon De Beauvoir

History is often the teacher and we can see how and why a particular person developed and in what ways that individual life has affected humanity. For example was there substance to their existence or did they merely take up space occupy air and land.

“The high destiny of the individual is to serve rather than to rule…” Albert Einstein

When you look back and realize historically what piece of history this great mind came from and in his development where his philosophy of life evolved it is most interesting. Einstein came from a Jewish background; he grew up in a part of the world where his people were being eliminated from humanity by a single person’s ideology. He came from a country where warfare and weaponry abounded and as he grew older he even asked forgiveness for the small piece he helped to create ushering in the atomic age. He became one of the world’s leading anti-war figures and pacifists and more concerned about service than ruling.

“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” Mahatma Gandhi

Looking again at history Mother Theresa, a tiny waif of a woman lost herself in service to the poor of Calcutta India yet as I write is being recommended for Sainthood in the Catholic Church. Gandhi could have been a wealthy man yet choose otherwise and served his people of India. St. Francis of Assisi was born into a wealthy merchant family and left it to serve others. As I look at these people finding themselves is that what they were doing or is it just that service to them was the right thing to do. Far too often we consider success to be accumulation of wealth.

“The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit.” Nelson Henderson

I have several friends who farm trees and planning is so often many years away even with nursery stock. Some rock and roll fans may know the name of a leading keyboardist Chuck Levall. He has played with many bands Eric Clapton, Rolling Stones and James Taylor to name a few but I first saw his name years ago as the keyboard player for The Allman Brothers Band in Macon Georgia, nearly 35 years ago. Chuck Levall grows trees in Middle Georgia in his spare time. While I have taken a literal twist with a symbolic quote there is a point when you plant a seed for a tree you plant it knowing the potential and know chances are you will never benefit from that potential, it is an act of service to others.

“The difference between a helping hand and an outstretched palm is a twist of the wrist.” Laurence Leamer

Sometimes there is a fine line between symbiotic and parasitic a twist of the wrist but who is to say who doesn’t receive help. Several years ago when I was daily involved in feeding families it was much easier to make a mistake and feed a family who may have food than to turn anyone away.

“Give what you have to somebody; it may be better than you think.” Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I received an email from a good friend yesterday that is so often how we respond in life the fact it is a church is important to the story but it could be a school, a classroom, or an PTSO meeting many will say it is just human nature.

“One day, a man went to visit a church. He got there early, parked his car, and got out. Another car pulled up near and the driver got out and said, “I always park there! You took my place!” The visitor went inside for Sunday school, found an empty seat and sat down. A young lady from the church approached him and stated that’s my seat! You took my place!” The visitor was somewhat distressed by this rude welcome, but said nothing. After Sunday school, the visitor went into the sanctuary and sat down. Another member walked up to him and said that’s where I always sit! You took my place!” An email from a friend but many authors have used this or similar as original

Over the years I have seen many an article of a pastor or civic leader who dresses in rags to see how people think and react. Even local radio hosts, the regular guys, have sent Southside Steve one of their regulars out to get responses and you know what we always do so well. Seldom are the stories of a person offering to help park the car or offering a seat or offering a slice of bread, sadly ever so seldom.

“If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else.” Booker T. Washington

“I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who will have sought and found how to serve.” Albert Schweitzer

So often I find a quote or thought from this man who found his place in the darkest portion of Africa in the 1930’s to be a physician giving up a lucrative career in Europe as a musician and or doctor. As I end today so many of the people gave up all and that is not the issue it is simply the giving aspect because it is the example we set that is seen not what we say not what we bear witness to but what we as a person do each day. It is about each moment to set an example and in that way people will learn. Keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your hearts and to always give thanks namaste.

For all my relations
Wa de (Skee)
bird