Bird Droppings July 20, 2020
It takes more than one strand to make a rope,
in life and in education.
“You cannot contribute anything to the ideal condition of mind and heart known as Brotherhood, however much you preach, posture, or agree, unless you live it.” Faith Baldwin
Each day as I talk to friends, relatives and or my former students I try and set an example and not every day am I successful. Over the past few days I have ruptured my Achilles tendon had surgery and learning to live one legged in a soft cast for a week. So, I am sitting here trying to decide if I should work in the yard which is an easy no and or be lazy and take a few moments to write. Today writing wins out. Since I have been lazy about writing for a day or so writing wins out.
Many of the folks I talk to everyday stand alone, often due to their own choosing.
“No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent.” John Donne
It has been several years since I did an experiment with a group of young people using sewing thread. I had a thread for each person and then I asked each of them to break the thread which of course was simple and easily done.
“The moment we break faith with one another, the sea engulfs us and the light goes out.” James Baldwin
After breaking the threads I gave each of them another piece of thread and one by one we joined the threads together. In the end we had a thirty strand piece of string/rope and we twisted it slightly to keep threads together. Surprisingly they were expecting the new multi-strand to break and it did not. A powerful point for some kids. Watching and listening to the political rhetoric of the past week, made me think of this story.
“In union there is strength.” Aesop
“Remember upon the conduct of each depends the fate of all.” Alexander the Great
Amazingly enough no one could break the new combined rope even when several folks pulled on each end it would not break.
“So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole earth.” Bahá’u’lláh
I still carry that piece of string/rope in my wallet. It surely does make a great example when talking to students.
“I look to a time when brotherhood needs no publicity; to a time when a brotherhood award would be as ridiculous as an award for getting up each morning.” Daniel D. Michiel
It has been a few years back that I attended a demonstration up in Mountain City Georgia. The lecturer at the Foxfire Museum was using a couple of folks in the group and had them twisting and turning six strands of twine into a rope. Granted it is quite a bit of work to make a rope but so much stronger in the end.
“Unity to be real must stand the severest strain without breaking.” Mahatma Gandhi
Real unity, that is the question, and in today’s politically charged atmosphere unity is not to be found. I had shown my students so many years ago that even though having multiply strands of thread all together in a bundle was significantly stronger each time you cut a piece it weakened Exponentially .
“In all things that are purely social we can be as separate as the fingers, yet one as the hand in all things essential to mutual progress.” Booker T. Washington
“We have learned to fly the air like birds and swim the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers.” Martin Luther King, Jr., Strength to Love, 1963
Each day when I would sit outside my door at school I witness differences in attitude and differences in brotherhood. Many are similar and in a high school that old cliché of school spirit is generally a good indicator of a semblance of brotherhood, a joining force in a body of humanity. But still there are strands of thread dangling outside weakening the whole.
“Cooperation is the thorough conviction that nobody can get there unless everybody gets there.” Virginia Burden, The Process of Intuition
I will never say everyone has to be identical. I like Booker T. Washington’s statement of each of being a finger yet still being able to be a hand. I use to think it was cool when I would see a six fingered person and in my old stomping grounds of Lancaster and Chester counties often you would see an Amish fellow with an extra finger. There was a recent ad where everyone was upset with Joe who had extra fingers because he could type so much faster and then do so much more, the ad showed him typing away and multi-tasking with his extra fingers. But the ad was also about change and new equipment equalized the office space. So often we cannot accept the differences.
“I have often noticed that when chickens quit quarreling over their food they often find that there is enough for all of them. I wonder if it might not be the same with the human race.” Don Marquis
In life far too often we spend our time fretting over differences and not looking for similarities. How can we work as a group a team? I was watching college football Saturday for a few minutes along with a jubilant football throng at the Washington Oregon football game. In the end teamwork makes all the difference in a win or loss. The winner is not always the better team. Always better teamwork will win and it can be only a minute difference, a single strand could change a game and or a life.
“Sticks in a bundle are unbreakable.” Kenyan Proverb
Interesting while I was writing about unity and I still believe in individuality and it is a difficult task. I come back to Booker T. Washington’s quote; I can be a thumb and still work as a hand when needed. It is in believing and in trusting we gain that unity and that brotherhood. Watching the rally yesterday one thing kept coming up why all the negative why not work together the problems are here and solutions can be had if there were teamwork. Please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your hearts and to always give thanks namaste.
My family and friends I do not say this lightly,
(We are all related)