Bird Droppings August 5, 2014
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 background 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 begins 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 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 are immune to. So often for politicians the rhetoric that elects have 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 we seem to turn back. I am being cynical this morning as I near the end of the week and 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 the lever and receive a food pellet. Skinner firmly believed all behavior 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 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 that seems beautiful and has color but no perfume, so are the fruitless words of a 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 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.
My family and friends I do not say this lightly,
(We are all related)