Bird Droppings July 10, 2015
Hunting for the right words
A few days back I was discussing with several other teachers a children’s book, The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. It seemed I was alone in my interpretation of what Silverstein was trying to elicit from readers. As the discussion wound through varying degrees of dislike and my own interpretation I was watching my grandchildren and of course telling stories and playing with my phone. I have nearly fifty children’s Apps and children’s books on my phone. My four year granddaughter enjoys texting her grandmommie and myself. I had taken a picture of my two grandchildren and sent it to my wife and my granddaughter wanted to send a message as well.
Charlie types in emoticons her messages and started with a small brown one with a smiling face. I laughed to myself as she typed in this little emoticon and said pop pop I love chocolate ice cream and it’s my favorite. My oldest son and I thought that particular emoticon was a smiling pile of poo. But a four year old saw it differently and was using it as chocolate ice cream sending a message to her grandmother we need to go get ice cream next time. Of course my thinking wandered back to a study by a psychologist Kohlberg many years ago on morality. His findings when published were contradicted by another professional a female psychologist Gillian. Same scenario from a male and female view drew differing interpretations. Going back to The Giving Tree five or six people all differing views of the same story.
“The place to improve the world is first in one’s own heart and head and hands.” Robert M. Pirsig, American author
Whether it is trying to offer a few words of condolence to friends whose loved one has passed away or trying to sort out the disaster somewhere in the world and today here near home in Georgia, we all need to look within first. When I read this line from Pirisig earlier this morning I immediately thought to my 4H days and the pledge of 4H and the 4H clover.
“The 4-H Clover symbolizes four actions which 4-H members try to accomplish. The four H s’ stand for Head, Hands, Heart, Health, as it is in the pledge. I Pledge My Head to clearer thinking, My Heart to greater loyalty, My Hands to lager service and My Health to better living for my Club my Community my Country and my World” Taos County 4H site
I wish we could get each citizen of our country truly engaged in that pledge whether it is as a 4H member or just because it is a good practice. Imagine what would happen, disasters would be resolved and often averted, we would each be “more better” as citizens, and friends all over a simple admonition. As I look clearer thinking, greater loyalty, larger service and better living these are all very powerful as well as interesting thoughts. There are days when I wish more kids were able to be exposed to 4H.
Sitting here having read the news earlier it is disheartening to try and determine what course of action each of us can take to help if we can at all. I recall listening to the announcements at the high school last year and I listened to what various groups and clubs are doing at our school. The kids in our high school have raised several thousands of dollars through various activities over the years. Much of that in bits and pieces of lunch money dropped in buckets and or fund raisers such as washing cars. I recall dunking a coach or two in one of the efforts. We had a tug of war. I wish we could do more but each effort each dime or nickel is a little more. I wish we could all summon the courage to do more.
“Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.” Ambrose Redmoon
I thought I would end with this line, courage is a word used often with little thought. I really understand the tying of the word to fear that is an interesting definition. Stating that courage is simply realizing there are more important things in life than being afraid or cautious is a powerful thought. I recall when my wife and I went to South Carolina over a weekend to visit our middle son and his fiancée at that time. It was our first chance to see the church where they were getting married and her horses at their family farm out in the South Carolina countryside. We spent Saturday evening at a wedding shower and Sunday visiting all over the beautiful South Carolina farm country discussing horses, plants, always Georgia Tech, experiences and who knows what else. How much do we learn about a person in a few moments depends on the ability of each person to be honest and trusting. It was a great afternoon joking and laughing and picking on each other. As always we called when we got home last night telling everyone we were safely home in Georgia and my tiny granddaughter not even a year old at the time was mad at me when we got home. Even the John Deere T-shirt and soft plush puppy did not make a dent. Although after her grandma held her for a minute she decided she wasn’t mad anymore and gave me a great big good night hug. Sometimes I miss that feeling. For today 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)