Bird Droppings September 11, 2014
Ponderingerest is that even a word?
I start with a word I am sitting here making up ponderingerest. Perhaps a good definition is that there is far too much to ponder today, it is a ponderingerest day. In 1938 sixty six percent of the world’s oil reserves was found. Since that year there has not been a day of peace in the Middle East. I was thinking earlier today as I drove to the school what if oil had been discovered in Mongolia would it have been any different? Politicians argue it is not about oil. Look at the stock market and what companies stocks jumped as the President said we will destroy ISIS.
Today is an interesting and yet solemn day; a day marked by memories, thirteen years ago I started teaching again after a twenty three year layoff, nine years ago today I started as a part – time Instructor for Piedmont College. Twenty six years ago we brought a new baby home. I have so many memories associated with this day. One that has been elusive is peace. In my nearly sixty five years of existence I cannot recall a moment when we as a country were not fighting somewhere. After reading the President’s speech this morning I will assume my sixty sixth year will be more of the same.
“When it is dark enough, you can see the stars.” Charles A. Beard
I do recall that my first day of teaching thirteen years ago with much of spent in lock down and confused as to what was really going on. It was many days later I really thought about that day, the day I came back to teaching. I just sent a note to one of my first students in that class I was locked in with for several hours. Charles Beard was a historian and often a controversial one at that it is said he commented that Roosevelt brought the US into World War II for economic recovery. Interesting historically that has been the case several times over as to why we really go to war. When I first looked at his quote I was thinking about little children especially my grandkids being afraid of the dark and night time and several times when out with youth and trying to ease fears of darkness I have used stars as a focal point. It really does have to be dark to see the stars.
So often in life we lose sight of the stars until trials and tribulations show in contrast and we again can view our own stars. Folk’s they are there today with all that is going on news about Syria and another potential war, it is often hard to see and remember the shining stars but rest assured they are there and they will be shining when we need to see them. I have been writing and thinking about this day for some time. Yesterday in a response to my Bird dropping I would like to share from a dear friend who I used a thought from just a day or so ago.
“You know, Frank, Viet Nam doesn’t seem that long ago, but it was. I’m a Viet Nam combat vet; was Navy, but served for two temporary assignments with the First Radio Battalion, Third Marine Amphibious Force in I Corps (DaNang, the northern part). I was essentially a marine. It continues to be amazing to me how an experience of war is interpreted differently by different folks. I was running a security communications operation and was calling in the Arc Light Raids, precision bombing (for then) with the B-52s. I guess you could say I never saw the ones I was killing … I do believe my work saved the lives of many of our own troops. (They gave me a medal for it; can you believe that?) What’s right, and what’s wrong? When you lose a friend, you want to kill them all. Even today, the flag-folding at a casket just tears me up. All of this to say that, from the standpoint of being veterans who can still function a little, the Viet Nam guys are “old” vets now. I just want the world to know they’re NOT all drunks and drug addicts. You jarred some memories, my friend. A different place … a different time.” Jim, Dr. James D. Sutton, Clinical Psychologist and National recognized speaker and authority on Conduct Disorders
I have been writing for some time about my hatred of war and its destruction. As I grew up listening to my father’s stories of WWII and today looking at old photos he had, images of the attack on Iwo Jima where many thousands of American soldiers died and tens of thousands of Japanese soldiers perished as well makes me wonder about war. Many of my friends from high school are Viet Nam vets and often in communications comments are made and I have the utmost regard for these men and women who served in a time so many have forgotten.
Today however we look at a thirteen year anniversary of an attack on our country. Does this change my perception of war and revenge not at all there is still nothing solved in retaliation. True a great sigh of relief came when Osama Bin Laden was killed by Seal Team Six. I was at that moment more concerned about my nephew in law who serves in the teams than the fact Bin Laden was killed. Today rekindles many images from different people. Hope and fear both rise to the top of the barrel.
“The trouble with justifying your violence, your hate, your profitable destruction through your subjective sense of victimization is a)the chain of violence can go on forever b)everyone, since no one has a monopoly on suffering, can use victimization to then justify practically anything for an indefinite amount of time and violence and c)as vengeance only retaliates never returns, there will never be an end to the justification of your violence, and as such your violence itself.” Manny Jalonschi, Publisher at American Ex Pat Books
I have known and been reading Manny’s blogs for several years now and this one caught me in my pondering state. I posted the following response.
“When raised in Judeo-Christian understanding of an eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth it is hard to separate out the revenge aspect of the equation and throw in staunch capitalism which a long time ago gave up on the Koionia (community) of early Christianity in favor of greed and profit and ran rough shod over indigenous peoples worldwide. Seriously what is to be expected? Sadly how many kids are raised today with a neutral historical understanding of where they came from?” Frank Bird III, Ed. S. D.D.
Over the past few days several teachers have made comments to me about my choice of political party and or Represenitive. I find it interesting as while in many ways what they see as wrong they have no way other than saying it will take care of itself if we get rid of this or this program.
“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” Albert Einstein
I pondered most of the week listening to the rhetoric of war mongering, capitalism and the problems with government’s handouts and healthcare. I grief with and honor those who died in the heinous attack on the Twin Towers and Pentagon ten years ago but I also say retaliation is never a solution. We have retaliated for twelve years and nearly destroyed our country.
“To see what is right, and not do it, is want of courage, or of principle.” Confucius
I honestly wonder borrowing from Gandhi “An eye for an eye and the whole world goes blind”, how long we can continue and not lift up and move ahead. I have worked with and taught numerous autistic children over the years. Dr. Temple Grandin is considered to be one of the leading authorities on animal and livestock handling in the world. She has designed and engineered seventy five percent of the commercial livestock handling facilities for commercial packers in the United States. She has been recognized by animal rights groups for her ethical treatment in design and development and has written college texts on animal science. She also is considered a world leader in autism, perhaps because Dr. Grandin is autistic herself.
“I can remember the frustration of not being able to talk. I knew what I wanted to say, but I could not get the words out, so I would just scream. I can remember this very clearly.” Dr. Temple Grandin
In recent years more and more children are being diagnosed as autistic. As I read her words which applied directly to herself as she grew up frustrated with a world that only heard her screaming and never her words I thought too of those often less fortunate than ourselves who have no voice. Through political maneuvering and redrawing lines and forgetting to advertise the new laws of needing a photo identification to vote we tend to silence many people. I watched several political debates and speeches this past week and Dr. Temple Grantin’s words again hit me.
“People are always looking for the single magic bullet that will totally change everything. There is no single magic bullet. I was very lucky to receive very good early intervention with very good teachers, starting at age two and a half years. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of a good teacher. A good teacher is worth his or her weight in gold. Some teachers just have a knack for working with autistic children. Other teachers do not have it. If you find a good teacher, hang on to him or her tight.” Dr. Temple Grandin
Yesterday or the day before many days lately have run together I had an issue with my upstairs air conditioning. The thermostat was stuck at eighty five degrees. I poked at it, fiddled with it, no change. At one point even said call the air conditioning guy. But two nights ago I walked upstairs with a screw driver and popped the cover off and low and behold batteries. Two new Duracell triple A’s and the air is working again. On that same note an article on bacteria in the gut and autism caught my attention yesterday. How simple is that. Autistic children often have dietary issues and a study showed significantly different bacteria in the gut of autistic children actually less bacteria of a good kind. Granted it was only an article but how simple is that if a reality.
On a day of remembering I wish we never have to go through this again. I offer as a solution that if we keep our eyes and ears open we can find open minded great teachers, we can resolve issues before going to war, and all children can have the opportunity to succeed and learn and in learning never be silent again. Last night we received as staff an email that our board of education tabled a proposed by superintendent change to high schools scheduling going from four block to seven block all in the name of rigor. Ask any teacher about this and the answer is what? A newspaper article ran erroneous information about testing and four block and how math scores would improve. Nothing was said about ridiculous math curriculum and constant changes and a test that in trials fifty percent or more failed. But changing our schedules would cure it. No one mentioned fifteen to twenty percent of high school teachers would be let go and there would literally no electives for students. So I sit back ponder a moment more and as I have for so many years now asked please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your hearts and always give thanks namaste.
My family and friends I do not say this lightly,
(We are all related)