Bird Droppings January 14, 2014
We have to try and care
So far for this year and the tail end of last year all the snow, sleet and ice predicted have never showed up. It has been unseasonably colder than normal with scatterings of warm weather still only a few nights getting below freezing. I lost my phone yesterday briefly as I headed home from school and found it. Those few moments thinking it was lost however made me so aware of how dependent we have become on our smart phones. I did not know my sons or my wife’s numbers and had to look up my cellular accounts on the internet. Fortunately as I walked in my phone was sitting at my last stop as I headed home yesterday.
As I headed in to school today rain and drizzle with a chance of turning to snow tonight was the weather forecast. A full moon was gleaming away somewhere behind the clouds I am sure after a night of rain and storm. I am sitting here in my classroom pondering my writing for today. Yesterday I was sitting talking with some students on war and faith and how human beings have such fickle and often conflicting views which create much of the tumult in the world. In a roundabout way the discussion ended up with Mother Teresa. I have always been impressed with the attitude and faith of Mother Teresa.
“Go out into the world today and love the people you meet. Let your presence light new light in the hearts of people.” Mother Teresa
It is difficult for me to even imagine the ability to do what Mother Teresa did day after day as she was walking the streets of Calcutta India dealing with poverty and human suffering I can barely imagine. In the above thought she asks to light a light in the hearts of people and I try and compare and feel like a match stuck barely casting a spark.
“No matter what age you are, or what your circumstances might be, you are special, and you still have something unique to offer. Your life, because of who you are, has meaning.” Barbara De Angelis
“The human contribution is the essential ingredient. It is only in the giving of oneself to others that we truly live.” Ethel Percy Andrus
As I look at my day and my effort to try and emulate some of humanities great givers I realize I am here now in this moment and that other person was there at that moment and for now even if only a spark, a minimum of light, it is light and it is shining and what I can do now within the context of where I am is what is so important. My morning is spent before class in the hall literally talking to students often students who are walking down the hall simply being there. I interject questions, how are you and such and often more times than not make some smart remark “I wonder if they are still grouchy today?” Yesterday my friend who wasn’t speaking too me I followed down the hall directly behind her with comments like, some people just are annoying, they stop talking to other people for no apparent reason anyhow after about fifteen feet of annoying remarks she turned around cracking up and said ok I will talk to you. Later in the day I think a well of holding back spilled out have you ever tried to listen to a kid with ADHD try and explain why they were mad at you and all that has happened in a week in fifteen seconds or less it requires hypersonic listening.
“It is rare indeed that people give. Most people guard and keep; they suppose that it is they themselves and what they identify with themselves that they are guarding and keeping, whereas what they are actually guarding and keeping is their system of reality and what they assume themselves to be.” James Baldwin
“It is possible to give without loving, but it is impossible to love without giving.” Richard Braunstein
Always as I read Mother Teresa’s comments the “L” word comes up time and time again love is the focus of her thoughts and statements. In teaching so often it is difficult to use that word, parents find it hard to tell their children. I have heard many times the line “my children know I love them even if I do not tell them”.
“The most satisfying thing in life is to have been able to give a large part of one’s self to others.” Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
“In helping others, we shall help ourselves, for whatever good we give out completes the circle and comes back to us.” Flora Edwards
It amazes me how people do not see how love and giving are really selfish. When you love and when you give it is returned the circle is complete. I know this is an understatement and love and giving are not selfish by any means but it is so true that this circular motion occurs it may be simply the feeling of doing good. Later today I am doing a poster for school about the relief fund one of the classes has started. It is a feeling of good will of love while these kids will never witness any effect that what they do here in our town collecting money for a relief fund actually does there is satisfaction and pride in the effort.
“You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.” Kahlil Gibran
“He who obtains has little. He who scatters has much.” Lao-Tzu
I have been a visitor in schools where teachers wall themselves up in their rooms’ They open the door for class and lecture close the door then open the door and maintain this assembly line routine through the day and never once have true contact with a student. They take roll I did that the other day started calling names and said we have been required to call roll and students must raise your hand and say present after about two or three students actually did it one pipes up, “Mr. Bird but you know we are here” and therein lays the difference. Some teachers are so engrossed in not knowing their students they never know they are there. Many choose not to give for a fear of caring.
I called a home yesterday and spoke to a dad if I can call him that. He was pleasant and polite. I asked about his daughter who is a ninth grader. She was with friends for the weekend and he had told her she was responsible for her ride to and from a town about thirty miles distant average car 10 miles per gallon that is 3 gallons either way a total of six gallons of gas and if careful we can get gas for $3.35 so maybe $20.00 in gas. It seems she could not get a ride back and he told her he could not afford to come get her. Perhaps my comprehension was a bit off. If one of my children went out of town for the weekend and was unable to get home I would have found twenty dollars in gas or found a way to get them home. My initial reason for calling was due to attendance.
“A handful of pine-seed will cover mountains with the green majesty of forests. I too will set my face to the wind and throw my handful of seed on high.” Fiona Macleod
“We must give more in order to get more; it is the generous giving of ourselves that produce the generous harvest.” Orison Swett Marden
“In Giving, a man receives more than he gives; and the more is in proportion to the worth of the thing given.” George McDonald
I was looking through old photos from back in the day and found several of some friends from Auburn Alabama. These photos go back nearly twenty five years. The young man in the photos used to work for me when he was in college. I jokingly recalled as I talked to his wife after I spontaneously called after looking at the pictures. I remember meeting his wife’s father for the first time. It seems my friend was hiding in our stock trailer at a livestock show her daddy did not want her seeing him and he was looking for him amazing how time is and for a while they were business partners. But a small side note they lost a baby several years ago and now have two healthy boys and a girl. As I talked with my friends wife she offered that in her heart it was meant to be there was a reason and she may never know why they lost a child. It had took two years but they had another baby and you know every day I end with remembering those in harm’s way well in harm’s way is a big term keep the unborn babies in your thoughts these are special folks.
“If we want a love message to be heard, it has got to be sent out. To keep a lamp burning, we have to keep putting oil in it.” Mother Teresa
“I want you to be concerned about your next door neighbor. Do you know your next door neighbor?” Mother Teresa
“It is easy to love the people far away. It is not always easy to love those close to us. It is easier to give a cup of rice to relieve hunger than to relieve the loneliness and pain of someone unloved in our own home. Bring love into your home for this is where our love for each other must start.” Mother Teresa
Today make an effort to know your students, your children, your friends, your family and those you meet so as I do every day please keep all in harm’s way on your minds and in your hearts and to always give thanks.
My family and friends I do not say this lightly,
(We are all related)