Why am I looking for data in a data-less environment?

Bird Droppings December 31, 2020
Why am I looking for data in a data-less environment?

I read earlier this morning a dialogue of sorts from a young man who is currently serving in the military. He is trying to decide on his future as he pieces together in his dialogue options and possibilities not just in his immediate moments but days ahead and in the process asking for suggestions and thoughts on the various options he presents. It was interesting reading and moving through his process of elimination and multiple choice responses almost while in the first person from a differing view analytical and calculating. Essentially his process was taxonomy of job futures. If then this and if that then this. I began to think back to my own choice nearly twenty years ago to return to teaching after a twenty plus year vacation away.

“I’d rather be a failure at something I enjoy than a success at something I hate.” George Burns

I could easily wager most of you have never seen George Burns on TV or in a movie but then he only recently in the past few years passed away at 100 years old. George Burns and Gracie Allen were a husband and wife comedy team staple dating back to vaudeville. Gracie passed away many years ago and George continued acting in films and on the stage for many years always with his trade mark cigar in hand.

“It’s simply a matter of doing what you do best and not worrying about what the other fellow is going to do.” John R. Amos

Several years back I designated my class room name as SUCCESS 101 in a joking sort of way. Yet for some students being a success is a unique proposition. Cheering on all students in school has become a passion for me, coaching, leading, guiding students to succeed on tests and papers and to eventually graduate from high school has become my mission in life.

“The person who tries to live alone will not succeed as a human being. His heart withers if it does not answer another heart. His mind shrinks away if he hears only the echoes of his own thoughts and finds no other inspiration.” Pearl S. Buck

Perhaps I am passing by Mr. Burns original point it is not simply success that is important. Mr. Amos adds “doing what you do best” and community is added by Ms. Buck noted anthropologist and student of humanity. It isn’t only about success it is being happy and finding joy within what you do.

“Success is important only to the extent that it puts one in a position to do more things one likes to do.” Sarah Caldwell

“Real joy comes not from ease or riches or from the praise of men, but from doing something worthwhile.” Pierre Coneille
Even on days when you could swear a full moon is out and students are on the verge of perhaps somewhat less than, approaching that point that would bring sweat to your brow it should still be fun. You know what, it is still fun in all of it even when nothing seems right and then is still right, and it still should be fun. When you can have joy and happiness in what you do then you are finding success, regardless of whatever assessment tool or what others think. When a student wants to come to class when a student will rather stay in class doing what they do not want to do or so they say they do not then maybe just maybe success is near.

“Occasionally in life there are those moments of unutterable fulfillment which cannot be completely explained by those symbols called words. Their meanings can only be articulated by the inaudible language of the heart.” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

It has been a while since sitting in a research class and listening to an instructor explain about evaluative measurement and how data is something you can see and measure. Also adding that touchy feely stuff while possibly existing cannot be adequately measured. I was thinking to myself one of the greatest aspects of humanity is touch, it is that no measurable quality that we innately have within ourselves of feelings of the touchy feely. Can we truly measure happiness or joy or better yet that Jungian term synchronicity? Many years ago the two partners split over measurability of science versus “the touchy feely”. Jung knew something else existed that affected human nature something beyond Freud’s measurable data. He spent his life looking and defining that aspect of humanity and as Dr. King offers in his quote “the inaudible language of the heart” may be that aspect.

“Warm weather fosters growth: cold weather destroys it. Thus a man with an unsympathetic temperament has a scant joy: but a man with a warm and friendly heart overflowing blessings, and his beneficence will extend to posterity” Hung Tzu-Cheng

What is in a man’s heart is what leads and drives a person forward in life and it is that aspect that guides our next step across the stream and keeps us from slipping on the wet rocks.

“When you have once seen the glow of happiness on the face of a beloved person, you know that a man can have no vocation but to awaken that light on the faces surrounding him; and you are torn by the thought of the unhappiness and night you cast, by the mere fact of living, in the hearts you encounter.” Albert Camus

It wasn’t too long ago I offered up the experiment of smiling at people. Have you tried it? Simply decide to smile for a day and then look at responses from people around you. Not just smiling and grinning or staring at people, but a sincere smile. You will be amazed at how people respond. More often than not people smile back and personally I would rather be around people smiling than frowning. I have used so many times this thought from Albert Einstein in my wanderings.

“The real difficulty, the difficulty which has baffled the sages of all times, is rather this: how can we make our teaching so potent in the motional life of man, that its influence should withstand the pressure of the elemental psychic forces in the individual? “ Albert Einstein

Freud and Jung have split many scientist and teachers, those who want to have a measurable commodity to focus on and as Einstein quotes there is human nature to contend with. So how do we make our lessons so potent as to withstand the pressure of the measurable how do we take the immeasurable and find substance in it? Can we measure heart? Can we find a way to understand why we respond beyond empirical data? Maybe one day we will and all of Jung’s searching will be not have been in vain. Until then the journey continues keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your hearts namaste.

My family and friends I do not say this lightly,
Mitakuye Oyasin
(We are all related)
bird

Venting a bit on a Wednesday morning

Birddroppings December 30, 2020

Venting a bit on a Wednesday morning

I wrote yesterday and was going to be lazy today to get ready for holiday. I have not been feeling well and spending a lot of time resting. I did test negative for COVID-19 again so that was a relieve. Last night and this morning I read several alarming posts on various friend’s pages. I followed links and they led to para military groups discussing declaring a civil war. Another older link was supposedly about former President Obama forcing Trump into declaring Marshall Law in December with no information just a title and graphic. This same link led to another about how the white race would be gone in twenty five years. I read all the comments about our former President being a communist and socialist and my response is, neither socio-economic system is even closely being approached in this country. 

We are in super over drive capitalism here in the US, greed rules above all else. We have highest stock market and biggest difference between wealthy and the rest of us ever in the history of our country.  Granted the great income difference is what Marx saw and wrote about as he pondered communism. However our government and that is both parties continues the process that maintains that the elite few tend to govern. Oil companies, defense contractors, pharmaceuticals, insurance and banking are booming in profits. That’s not communism and or socialism. The recent election is a good example. Now with the balance of power changing much of the budget being suggested by the current ruling party impacts the very people who voted them in cutting social security, tax credits, child care deductions etc. are all in suggested budget of various members of congress and senate.

Better yet a desire to privatize Social Security and let an insurance company run it. Kind of like health insurance where top five health insurance carrier’s CEO’s are all paid in excess of 15 million a year each plus bonuses.  Taking away from any group of people is not socialism and or communism. I was told recently we are losing our freedoms and I asked which ones. Our freedom to not buy health insurance for an example was the reply. I offered than when you are sick cure yourself or pay your own bills. They asked you mean you would let me die and I said no you let yourself die. The worst post of the day was our highest turn out in years almost 160 million people voted and on black Friday almost that many went shopping that speaks to me more than then the idiotic posts and blogs about communism and socialism and civil war. As long as we get what we want we don’t care about anybody else. So I will borrow from Christian scripture.

Matthew 19:16 Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?” 19:17 “Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.” 19:18 “Which ones?” he inquired. Jesus replied, “‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, 19:19 honor your father and mother,’c and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’ ” 19:20 “All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?” 19:21 Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” 19:22 When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth. 19:23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. 19:24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” NIV

I am not one to use scripture often but so often those spouting all the innuendoes mentioned in various blogs above are using scripture. We could debate what is meant by this passage since it is framed by an ancient Hebrew commonly used expression for something difficult a camel through the eye of a needle, but I look more at the excess in our world and specifically in our country. No one cares about the environment, starving children, or few other things other than making a buck. The XL pipeline is a great example. There was a few years back a huge group of Koch industries employees 35,000 promoting it through phone calls and conversation. Koch Industries owns 1.5 million acres of tar sands in Alberta. The pipeline is not carrying oil to benefit us here in US it is already in plans to go to Asia predominantly China.

The tar sands have been out of the news due to cost of production and cheap world oil. Gas prices in US will not be impacted and why should they in a world of supply and demand price is based on who will pay the most we are bidding when we have paid over 4.00 a gallon with Chinese willing to pay more. Granted currently our gasoline is cheap and the US is exporting more oil and refined oil products than any time in the history of our oil industry. The revolution that needs to occur is not one of military/militia/vigilante/gangs but one of people who care about others. Interesting note tar sands oil is losing money if oil is under 80.00 a barrel as it is now and pipeline is literally not even needed.

“Non-violence is the greatest force at the disposal of mankind. It is mightier than the mightiest weapon of destruction devised by the ingenuity of man.” Mahatma Gandhi

Please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your hearts and always give thanks namaste.

My friends I do not say this lightly,

Mitakuye Oyasin 

(We are all related)

bird

Why is seeking peace so difficult?

Bird Droppings December 29, 2020
Why is seeking peace so difficult?

Around the world armies are moving as I write. There are missiles are being aimed and tanks rolling. War is a profit driving machine for industry and sadly more so about money than ideology. I have always been against war and always have felt there are other ways to solve issues.

“In this week of great destruction, we must each choose what road we are to walk and live. The road of destruction is war, it has always been so. The road of creation is deeper and more complicated; it has always involved forgiveness, love, light, prayer, and spirit. In these new millennia we have a chance to change the way we see other beings to one of connectedness and unity. We have a chance to let go of the ancient ways of war and conflict, of who is right, of being better, of senseless killing. This week has thrown us back on the old model of the last millennia.” Michael Samuels M.D. and Mary Rockwood Lane, PhD, Path of the Feather

I miss being in the Foxfire class during the summer months. Although in my current dissertation writing mode writing, research and reading is hours a day. However there is something about spending 24 hours a day with other teachers discussing education and learning that is significant. Thinking back during one moment of time between classes and meetings I happen to be sitting in at an Ingles Store in North Georgia which happened to have a Starbucks. A young gentlemen walked by with two peace symbols tattooed on his calf. It caught my attention and got me thinking back to several summers ago when I was driving up to this same spot to visit the Foxfire museum I watched seven people marching for peace in the small town of Clayton, Georgia. My writing today started with a few lines from a Navaho prophecy edited by Dr.’s Samuels and Rockwood. In my own searching reading and writing so often the contrast of peace versus war comes up, as does so many dualities in our world.

“The three hardest tasks in the world are neither physical feats nor intellectual achievements, but moral acts: to return love for hate, to include the excluded, and to say, ‘I was wrong’.” Sydney J. Harris

For many Sydney J. Harris is simply an old forgotten columnist from by gone days when people happen to actually read hardcopy. I frequently use quotes from his essays and columns. His words are powerful and I thank a dear friend from nearly twenty years ago for showing me his work. Often as I find articles he wrote from the sixties and seventies and I wonder why I missed them then. I am reminded often it was not the time, as I make reference to my Jungian philosophy and orientation. All of the pieces were not in place at that time for me to understand to recognize what it was he is saying. In my emails and communications often I see misunderstanding and ignorance, myself included. I recall a friend writing from his heart and others only could criticize and or turn away and not understand, so often not even reading the words.

“The two words ‘information’ and ‘communication’ are often used interchangeably, but they signify quite different things. Information is giving out; communication is getting through.” Sydney J. Harris

“An idealist believes the short run doesn’t count. A cynic believes the long run doesn’t matter. A realist believes that what is done or left undone in the short run determines the long run.” Sydney J. Harris

Sitting here most mornings it is so easy to formulate solutions and fantasize a world free from strife and turmoil and I as I write this morning sitting at home in my writing area having read the current news, talk of new troop deployments in Yemen which are hinted from Saudi Arabia my heart sinks. But then I walk away from my computer and wonder what is it we are trying to do in the world. Tomorrow morning a big sale at one of the local department stores, with the early bird sale masses of humanity will line up to get the best deals and gasoline will still be artificially high so our wonderful gas company’s profits can recoup several years of cheap gas and to bolster or hinder the economy, depending on whose view you take.

I often wonder who came up with thinking like that in any other business sooner or later someone would see the ridiculous, it has been nearly ten years that Exxon just about each quarter has the highest profits ever in one headline and on another gasoline is at its highest ever, such an interesting parallel we seem to miss. A good point however at least someone is thinking with the high court decisions made this week and as our Supreme Court judges slowly age, a poll was taken as to what type of judge should replace any who should step down. Most now want a moderate there are still a few wanting conservatives and only about a quarter want a liberal. Somewhere there was an extra three percent I am assuming they were undecided.

“Democracy is the only system that persists in asking the powers that be whether they are the powers that ought to be.” Sydney J. Harris

That simple reminder from Harris needs to come up every day. I am excited to be at home today with our son, his wife and our grandbaby visiting from North Carolina. It is always good to wake up to a new morning and be able to go watered my herb garden. We each need to look at our pathway and see which direction we are going. Looking back at the first quote are we choosing the path of destruction or of creation as the Navaho say. My dear friends please keep all in harm’s way on your minds and in your hearts and always give thanks namaste.

My family and friends I do not say this lightly,

Mitakuye Oyasin

(We are all related)

bird

Looking in the direction to start the morning

Bird Droppings December 28, 2020
Looking in the direction to start the morning

“Beginnings start in the east – from where the sun rises, we begin a new dawn. Each day is a good new day with a fresh beginning, a new start. East is the direction of the physical body and newness including children and newborns. It is the time of change for all is a new beginning, new ideas and seeing the light. The color yellow is the path of Life, to begin the walk as a warrior, to shine in all that you do. The sun rising in the east empowers each of us. The energy to do and to begin the action of the mind and heart is there. Animals of wings and flight are from the east include the hummingbird, the owl, and the hawk. Our words are given to the east that the smoke in the air or the voices in the air may be carried to Spirit.” Tree Song

I was outside much earlier this morning and driving around taking pictures of the sunrise. I had been showing low tire pressure as the cold came in and had to have an adjustment in my car computer.  Before I walked out I was listening to the sounds of morning in a spot I where I have been sitting now for nearly sixteen years in our backyard facing an open field. Many sounds are just beginning to awaken as the sunrises each morning. The stillness and solitude of early morning on some occasions is sometimes off in a distance broken by a rooster calling or generally more likely starters for the morning are crows and mockingbirds. Today it was a mockingbird that came to visit as I sat listening and watching the sun come up. It has been some time since I have heard a rooster crow from my door step.

“Sioux Morning prayer – Let your voice whisper righteousness in our ears through the East Wind at the break of day. Let us be blessed with love for all our brothers & sisters on Earth so we may truly live in peace. Let us have good health mentally & physically to solve our problems and accomplish something for future generations. Let us be sincere to ourselves and make the world a better place to live. Aho Mitakuye Oyasin” Unknown Author Traditional Sioux prayer

The Sioux end prayers and meditations with the phrase, Aho Mitakuye Oyasin, which means, All My Relations. Many will questioned or wonder why end with such a vague phrase? But to the Indian all about is part of who they are and it is to all that they offer this Morning Prayer or thought. I did not write the past two days as I got caught up playing and enjoying time with my granddaughter. Watching Finding Nemo a million times, searching for a very specific stuffed animal, making smoothies and basically just doing things a three year old enjoys wears an old man out and I succumbed to fatigue about nine last night. I went home sat and watched a downloaded movie for about an hour and fell asleep so I could get an earlier start today. While I did not write this past weekend till this afternoon I posted and shared several items. I kept in touch so to say.

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” Henry David Thoreau

Nearly five years ago my mother gave me a copy of her notes on my growing up childhood years. One is a story of how when very small around three years of age I ran away. I actually only went across the street into the woods. I will offer the entire story one day but since I was young I have enjoyed the solitude of the woods and nature. Most recently in another dream I was again on that same path leading to a small cave where a medicine man was sitting. There have been many times in the various pathways of my life where I would find places to go and be alone with nature. Seldom have I been confined long in a place where I cannot escape to the calls of the wild and sunrise. Recently a friend posted photos of Cumberland Island which lies along the Georgia Coast and is protected. It is considered a wilderness area and off limits to most exploitation. Sunrise on Cumberland with no one for miles can be pretty spectacular. You must camp on the island however to see a Cumberland sunrise which I have had the pleasure several times. While I started with the east today it is about the word direction that I am writing.

“I am always doing things I can’t do; that’s how I get to do them.” Pablo Picasso

I raised the question of purpose recently with a former student and in an email last night an idea had me thinking. A dear friend said four people had raised the issue of purpose in life recently and she is going through a time now seeking her purpose. Before I went out I wrote back to her, for me it is not what is my purpose, as much as I have purpose and knowing you are significant in each aspect of what you do, borrowing from the Sioux again, Aho Mitakuye Oyasin. Over the years I always thought I would one day open my eyes and see “My purpose” and I have come to understanding it is not a destination that is my purpose it is very much a journey.

It has been many years ago that I experienced a vision or a dream of a giant jig saw puzzle falling in place that sorted it out for me. I could not see the puzzle front every time I tried and look it would turn away revealing the gray backing. I had to be content to know it was falling in place piece by piece and each piece was more intricate than the last. As we seek direction on our journey as I thought and we have a powerful friend in our faith. Doors will open as they need to. I spent nearly two years sorting out where I was to go, working with indigent families and receiving enough barely to cover cell phone and mileage. A door opened in teaching and even then I was presented with tests. It was five times that my name was presented by a principal who wanted me teaching and four times I was turned down. On September 11, 2001 I was allowed to go back into teaching as a long term substitute.

I have used the illustration of a puzzle often over the years and throw the word purpose about every now and again. There is an aspect of our journey we are directly involved in and that is direction, which way are we facing as we take that next step.

“We stand now where two roads diverge. But unlike the roads in Robert Frost’s familiar poem, they are not equally fair. The road we have long been traveling is deceptively easy; a smooth superhighway on which we progress with great speed, but at its end lays disaster. The other fork of the road, the one less traveled by offers our last, our only chance to reach a destination that assures the preservation of the earth.” Rachel Carson

I was looking this morning for words dealing with direction each time I tried, mapping and directions came up. My oldest son finished his certification in GPS many years ago. He was working with an Environmental Science class at the high school mapping trees and positioning using GPS devices for a project and it hit me how so focused and reliant we have become on technology. We are at a point in our technology where we can ascertain that Sumatra moved 20 centimeters in the huge earthquakes of years past. But so often we have a hard time determining where we are going today let alone in life.

“The path of least resistance and least trouble is a mental rut already made. It requires troublesome work to undertake the alternation of old beliefs. Self-conceit often regards it as a sign of weakness to admit that a belief to which we have once committed ourselves is wrong. We get so identified with an idea that it is literally a “pet” notion and we rise to its defense and stop our eyes and ears to anything different.” John Dewey

I can always find a spot for a Dewey quote. Dewey is not the easiest read in the world, often his thoughts are in details we are not used too. Far too often teachers look for an easy fix to a complicated issue. In life far too many times we take the easy road.

“Instead of looking at life as a narrowing funnel, we can see it ever widening to choose the things we want to do, to take the wisdom we’ve learned and create something.” Liz Carpenter

“You don’t have to buy from anyone. You don’t have to work at any particular job. You don’t have to participate in any given relationship. You can choose” Harry Browne

For many they see life as a funnel, a narrowing down rather than a spreading out. It has been many years since I walked the Appalachian Trail in North Georgia. Often when walking up a mountain, there are switch backs that would be used rather than a direct ascent. A switch back is a path that cuts back and forth up the mountain rather than straight up, and with a heavy pack a direct route is often impossible. In physics displacement is the straight line distance between two points few could do that in the mountains.

“The way to activate the seeds of your creation is by making choices about the results you want to create. When you make a choice, you activate vast human energies and resources, which otherwise go untapped. All too often people fail to focus their choices upon results and therefore their choices are ineffective. If you limit your choices only to what seems possible or reasonable, you disconnect yourself from what you truly want, and all that is left is compromise.” Robert Fritz

So often in life it is the first step, or that opening of the door is so difficult. When I did go back to teaching, I could have stopped at first rejection. I applied at five or six schools. I was not certified, and in order to get provisional certification you have to be employed, an interesting paradox. For some reason a principal thought I might work out and kept pushing, and at the board meeting I was hired, then called back, my sister had been hired who I recommended and so I couldn’t work there. Then my name did not make a meeting and second effort was defeated and a third and fourth. Finally a teacher had a nervous breakdown and was out indefinitely and a long term sub was needed and eventually a teacher. The board made allowances for my sister and I started on September 11, 2001.
It was many months later when the principal was putting a list together that I was asked what day I started and I couldn’t remember, it was the week after labor day and a Tuesday because approval was needed on Monday. The first step is the roughest many times.

“You are the person who has to decide. Whether you’ll do it or toss it aside; you are the person who makes up your mind. Whether you’ll lead or will linger behind. Whether you’ll try for the goal that’s afar. Or just be contented to stay where you are.” Edgar A. Guest

“When we acknowledge that all of life is sacred and that each act is an act of choice and therefore sacred, then life is a sacred dance lived consciously each moment. When we live at this level, we participate in the creation of a better world.” Dr. Scout Cloud Lee

Dr. Lee is a motivational speaker, author of twelve books, a singer, song writer, University professor and former cast member of the survivor series on CBS. She was voted Outstanding Teacher of the Year at Oklahoma State University in 1980, and Oklahoma’s Outstanding Young Woman in American in 1980. In 2002, Lee was honored to carry the Olympic torch exemplifying the theme of “Light the Fire Within”. Perhaps this is a good place to stop today Guest states “you have to decide” and Dr. Lee offers “we participate in the creation of a new world”. I’ll end up with a line from an Aerosmith song

“Life is about the journey not the destination” Steven Tyler

Perhaps ending with a Steven Tyler quote is a good one since he is now one of the judges on American Idol. Maybe he will exemplify his song and provide direction for some young people on their journeys in life. So please my friends keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your heart and to always give thanks namaste.

My family and friends I do not say this lightly,

Mitakuye Oyasin

(We are all related)

bird

It is the small pieces that seriously matter not how many presents

Bird Droppings December 24, 2020
It is the small pieces that seriously matter not how many presents

I am about to be driving around to run some errands and read a holiday post or two. One caught my attention arguing the idea of Santa’s gifts. Santa is first a legend contrived over the years and developed sadly to be more of a marketing tool than anything resembling the original St. Nicolaus who would simply give gifts on Christmas. I have become callous in terms of the holiday shopping frenzy. As a scholar of theology the first Christian tradition Christmas gifts were symbolic representations of life, not that they weren’t precious or have value but the symbolism was more significant at the time of writing of the scriptures. I read about competition at Christmas time who can give the most sort of thing. I grew up in a household where every Christmas there was a pile not because we were wealthy and or well to do but because my parents would give freely. My dad would give literally all the time until the day he passed on. In my teaching many the time I would bring donuts or food in the morning which has led to a room full nearly every day. I try to give of myself every day.

“Until you can clearly see each piece of the puzzle you will never be able to understand the whole.” Frank Bird, grandfather, teacher and ponderer

So, I am sitting here on Christmas Eve morning 2020 in Between Georgia a long way from my birthplace and even where I spent my youth in Pennsylvania. I have traveled many pathways, spiritually, educationally, emotionally and physically as I journeyed. It has been many years since a vision of a jig saw puzzle woke me from my sleep. Over the years I have used that image of puzzle pieces and a whole puzzle in explaining life and its intricacies. My son added to my collection of ideas along the way nearly twelve years ago with a line from an Aerosmith song.

“Life is about the journey not the destination.” Steven Tyler and Aerosmith

I will go outside in a bit to get a few shots of the sunrise, but rain appears to be sticking around maybe snow they say. I may have been moving slow and thinking slower but got at least one or two good thoughts for the day.  

As I sat here for a few minutes several ideas kept hitting me in the head. Literally every day I hear from a person could be a former student, a total stranger who read something I have written, a friend I have not seen in fifty years, maybe a member of a group I am in on Facebook, a cohort member from graduate school offering a thank you for a thought I shared or idea given. It is not about major successes but the small one at a time pieces that often float by unnoticed.

I find as I listed my somewhat ambiguous titles with the quote above grandfather first and at first that seemed just the right thing to do. As I sat back and pondered as I tend to do often it became the not only right thing but job one. It is we elders who provide wisdom and understanding even if in small ways to those who come after. In today’s hectic and helter skelter world moments get lost just like pieces to the puzzle.

So today as I do every day please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your hearts and all give thanks namaste.

My family and friends I do not say this lightly,
Mitakuye Oyasin
(We are all related)
bird

Possibilities

Bird Droppings December 23, 2020
Possibilities

“Life has no limitations; except the ones you make.” Les Brown

I was sitting talking with one of my sons yesterday remembering when I was their age. I should say trying to remember when I was their age that would be more appropriate. It has been a few years since my sons, and I had been to lunch with my mother and as they would; they got picking on each other and she always enjoyed the show. My oldest had recently started his first full semester of fulltime teaching and I recall one of his last semesters of graduate school he was having some difficulty getting registered because his student loans had been electronically fouled up. I was trying to tell him take each moment as it comes, deal with it and move to next. He was upset and as the day progressed the lesson was learned it seems the wording in the college catalog allowed him a “loop” hole so he could register and get started in school that semester while the paper work of his student loan was resolved.

“It is necessary; therefore, it is possible.” G. A. Borghese

Perhaps as I get older I find nothing is impossible when we set our minds to it. Somewhere along the line I took a picture of my son crossing a stream stepping rock to rock. He had fallen in playing several times but even soggy and wet he was still trying to maneuver across, stepping rock to rock. I have used this illustration so many times and even have a picture of the stream hanging in my room at school as he does in his bedroom. So often life is like crossing a stream, a stone at a time and we do fall in quite a bit. The ones who are successful in life climb right back up soggy and wet and keep going.

“Oh man! There is no planet sun or star could hold you, if you but knew what you are.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

I have really come to like Emerson over the years almost as if he wrote some lines specifically for me to use and they have been sitting and waiting. I altered slightly Emerson’s words, “If we but know what we are”, and what a powerful statement. We go through life trying to understand where and who we are and many of us spend the better part of a lifetime searching. Some will find themselves at a young age and the rest of us it seems like eternity trying to know.

“Never measure the height of a mountain, until you have reached the top. Then you will see how low it was.” Dag Hammarskjold

While not a household, Dag Hammarskjöld is the name of the former United Nations Secretary General during some of the world’s craziest times. The Cold War was one of the biggest historical events of our time between Russia and The United States. His statement of waiting till you attain your goal before you stop to measure is so crucial. So many of us when we stop to look and see where we are going become frustrated and slow down or stop completely.

“Of course we all have our limits, but how can you possibly find your boundaries unless you explore as far and as wide as you possibly can? I would rather fail in an attempt at something new and uncharted than safely succeed in a repeat of something I have done.” A.E. Hotchner

Each day when I was at school I posted on my door a new quote something to offer a challenge to students, to open doors, to expand wisdom, to stick their neck out, and to go beyond where they are now. Each day many hundreds of people go by my door and some will crane their neck to peek inside the door, some will stop and talk as I sit in my outside my room between classes at my door. What is that thing, what do you teach, and whose room is this are my favorites that students come up with. Each day is an effort of trying to open boxes and pry the lids off sealed containers of minds and thoughts.

“If I were to wish for anything, I should not wish for wealth and power, but for the passionate sense of the potential, for the eye which, ever young and ardent, sees the possible. Pleasure disappoints possibility never. And what wine is so sparkling, what so fragrant, what so intoxicating, as possibility!” Soren Kierkegaard

It has been many years since I heard Dr. Norman Vincent Peale speak in Macon Georgia in 1973 when he recognized a small church my brother attended, The Church of the Exceptional, as the National church of the year. That was over thirty eight years ago yet his ideas are as relevant today now at this moment as I write this cold morning in Georgia.

“Become a possibilitarian. No matter how dark things seem to be or actually are, raise your sights and see possibilities — always see them, for they’re always there.” Dr. Norman Vincent Peale

A possibilitarian is someone who always see possibilities, what an interesting thought in a day and time when so often we are subjected to negative and belittling concepts and ideas. So many students quit long before they ever get a chance to succeed. At this time of year we see many seniors leave high school or at least our school due to graduation tests. They have tried numerous times and while they will have enough credits and may even have been a B student or better cannot pass one of the five Georgia High School Graduation Tests. Many will seek enrollment in a small private school that does not adhere to same standards and does not require GHSGT’s and will graduate in May on time only they graduate from that school.

“How far is far, how high is high? We’ll never know until we try.” Song from, The California Special Olympics

Sometime ago I followed UCLA’s basketball program more closely that I do now and on the team was a red haired fellow who just happened to be 6 foot ten inches tall. He becomes a premier professional player and in retirement one of the great commentators of sports Mr. Bill Walton. I recall the night that the University of Connecticut’s women’s basketball team tied the eighty eight game win streak of Coach Wooden and Bill Walton’s team.

“No matter how good you get, there’s always something further out there.” Bill Walton

There is to all lessons more than one aspect, and more than one possibility. It is seeking, understanding and achieving those numerous other possibilities by never simply stopping because you made your initial goal. Now set higher goals achieve more and better, grow further and farther, always lifting up continually. I was reading several small pieces this morning as I started writing. We all are givers and takers at one time or another as our lives balance out, try and balance to the giving versus the taking. You will never run out giving, but when you take soon doors will close. 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,

Mitakuye Oyasin 

(We are all related)

bird

Finding a pathway even when one does not appear

Bird Droppings December 22, 2020
Finding a pathway even when one does not appear

The past few days have all run sort of together each an interesting day be it sitting and binge-watching Big Bang Theory with my wife, cooking new ideas and eating all day long and discussing learning topics with my son who is taking a graduate course for gifted certification. But still while off away from school since I retired, I will try and get some writing done, I will clean up around the house put out mulch for my herb gardens and to even up the yard a bit. We had a good rain several days back and cold and then warm and I am sitting in the kitchen writing as I sip my hot green tea. On TV this morning they were joking when the weathermen said a cold front was coming for one day which happens to be Christmas day and maybe snow.


Weather permitting as I walk about listening and looking, I might find the path where deer evidently come across our back-yard tracks etched in wet dirt. A little over sixteen years ago it was several neighborhood children who would walk across the back of our yard to their houses behind ours in our old house. Something I like far better being in the countryside in Between, literally between  Atlanta and Athens. I guess cutting through the woods behind our house saved them many footsteps I am sure over the entrance to the cul-de-sac which was several hundred yards further down the road. Now it is wildlife that short cut through our yard. We see daily many deer, owls, numerous kinds of birds, squirrels, an occasional wild turkey, and red-tailed hawks sharing this corner of the county.


As I went our earlier, I was thinking about that deer pathway and how each of us has our own pathway in life often skirting around the back of others and or just beyond view. Maybe that pathway is a short cut maybe it is the easiest route in a difficult situation and often it is simply the most practical.

“By identifying your true motivations and desires, it becomes easier to find direction in life. Now we know where your goals come from. What is the root beneath your dreams? There is no right or wrong answers, just ideas at the core of you. We could probably analyze what in your past makes you want to become the things you put on your list. We could analyze how close you are to being all the things you have listed. It is not important. What matters is that now you know what it is you’re aspiring to become.” Skye Thomas, Tomorrow’s Edge, Finding Direction

Could it be so simple making a list of goals or building a set of actions and plans which could be a road map of sorts for where we want to go. When I first went to college nearly forty plus years ago, I was aspiring to be a biology teacher. I did not teach biology till about seven years ago when I was officially certified to teach the subject. There were many shifts and changes along the way as I walked my own path. Several years ago, my oldest son took courses and was certified in GPS and would use it to mark tortoise nests and beetle infestations as part of his science projects in college. As technology advances now each photo I take on my camera is GPS stamped and you can tell where that image is from. I find it amazing that we can tell where you are within a few feet anywhere on the globe with such accuracy. On my cell phone I have a navigation application to guide me wherever I program a location and I can drive the car listening to the voice from my phone and go right there. I have found that new road construction often is not on the navigation system but usually it is only off for a few miles or so and then it relocates, and I can hopefully avoid stopping for directions with my male ego intact. But in life sometimes more is needed than what technology provides.

“Synchronicities are not flukes or random events. They are intentional reflections of our intuition working with the perfect order of all things in the unseen world. Its why fish swim upstream, birds fly south, and bears hibernate. Everything in nature intuitively gravitates toward what best serves its growth, and that includes the human race. The only difference is that we have the choice to follow our intuition or not.” Sonia Choquette, Trust Your Vibes, Finding Direction

A little new age thinking never hurts to start a morning. I do like this thought, often we choose intuitively to go in life a certain direction it may not be a quick choice but one over a period. Regarding myself the decision to return to teaching after nearly thirty years was not quickly made it came in series of events that culminated in a job at a local high school nearly twenty years ago. As I think back even that specific job nearly fell through four times and on the fifth time it finally worked out. I often wonder why this school as I was not hired at six other schools since officially, I was not certified. Why did this principal hire me and want me to work literally hiring me five times finally getting approval as a long-term substitute for a teacher who had a nervous breakdown? Amazingly enough as I look at my pathway perhaps it was not to be working with him as he was transferred a year later. I will say this after six plus years we are still good friends and communicate often.

“Being committed to some goal in your life – a sense of having a mission, a purpose, even a calling – is a very motivating, very comforting thing. Some people’s mission steps up to greet them; others have to hunt theirs down.” Sam Baker

After class, the other day a teacher raised a question. Are you in life where you are supposed to be? Several of the teachers surrounding me thought for a minute and were not sure and then to me. For nearly twenty-four years as I searched, I could not answer that question. That day it is easy, I am exactly where I need to be and am supposed to be.

“Do the things you love to do and are passionate about, then you’ll have few regrets. Conspicuous success or public acknowledgement for these things may or may not come, but it won’t trouble you much either way because you’ll be happily enjoying yourself.” Sam Baker

The word passion seems to pop up a lot for me. Are we passionate about what we are doing? Are we passionate about our direction in life? I do believe it is true if you are passionate about what you are doing there will be few regrets. I learned that from the principal who hired me nearly twenty years ago as he was always passionate about what he was doing and still is.

“What intrigues you? What questions about any aspect of life or the universe absolutely enthrall you? There is your direction! Although we cannot map out our lives in advance, much can be done to make desirable outcomes more likely. Acquiring an exceptional ability is one such outcome.” Sir Bernard Cohen

Recently as I wrote about learning to lead as a progression of growing up and drifted into learning how to teach from a young age. I started to think I wonder if my own kids have learned such endeavors in their turn at life. I wonder if my mother and father realized that they through bits and pieces laid out to me they were directing me along a pathway in life.

“Your accomplishments will bring great pride and joy to your closest friends and family, but in the long run it will hurt all of you badly if you’ve done it only for them. You have to do things for the passion in your own heart.” Helen Fielding

I used to go by the high school over the holidays to think and plan for the coming days and of course to feed critters. Some days it is just a bit of catch up.  I would often sit and clean up my old emails in the quiet time. In my files I had over four thousand past emails, so I was going through and deleting the ones that were not significant. I have a bad habit of saving emails. Working my way through several years of emails I was saving those that were specific about students and critical parent correspondence. I found several emails congratulating me on being named teacher of the year in our area by Sam’s club over fifteen years ago. I still have the blue Wal-Mart vest in my closet and a letter on the wall a quick reminder. One of my students had sent a letter to Wal-Mart it was not something specific as to what I did but a letter of recommendation from a student and I was honored. As I thought I really did not do anything different for that student. She graduated nearly fourteen years ago, and we keep in touch every few weeks. I basically did as I do each day teach but I do it with passion and what is funny people see that when they are around you.


So, whatever you choose whatever pathway you go down do it with passion and truly you will never go wrong. It is funny how holidays affect us. I am working on reading and writing for a research paper and in the news, school are trying to cope with how to better educate their students and pass tests. Another topic in the news was dealing with charitable competition during the holidays where instinctively many people try to give more than others, I often ask why just at holidays. I use the term loosely in harm’s way there are so many meanings. It may be children who are hungry and or abused, adults without work and struggling, many folks who are mentally ill and now on the streets as we found it prudent and fiscally responsible to close mental hospitals, and politically correct there are so many meaning to in harm’s way. A big one is our service men and women of course around the globe so as every day please dear friends keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your hearts namaste.


My family and friends I do not say this lightly,
Mitakuye Oyasin
(We are all related)
bird

Waiting for a miracle

Bird Droppings December 21, 2020

Waiting for a miracle

I wrote this piece nearly ten years ago and it still has a place in my heart. Miracle is a word used often by people of faith. It is an explanation for things that happen with no apparent cause and or rationale. It seems we all sit waiting for miracles perhaps waiting for that solution to pop up, to show itself and poof all will be better. So many times, through history events have happened that provide for the concept of miracles and again so many provide based on a lack of proof. Perhaps it is simply a matter of semantics or within a language of need. Each of us has found the bottom of the well on occasion and for each many times a ladder has come. It has been for some a hand built one from within the well piece by piece. For some others they simply climbed out under their own strength.

I recall a story of a farmer and his donkey I have seen somewhere in my readings. It seems the farmer was so tired of the stubborn donkey he threw it in the well and invited neighbors over to bury this mean stubborn donkey. As the neighbors shoveled, shovel by shovel the well was filled in. Amazingly there towards the final few shovels a dirty donkey that had simply climbed a bit higher with each shovel of dirt jumped out and ran off. The farmer was left with a filled in well and no donkey. Was that a miracle for the donkey? Perhaps, yet we can also rationalize quick thinking and patience with the donkey and who knows maybe stubborn was the wrong word.

I recall a few months back when I spoke with several mothers some by chance or synchronicity as Jung calls it. Our washing machine died, and the repairman could not come till after the holiday, so I loaded a pile of teenage dirty laundry into my car and proceeded to wash or attempt to wash clothes at a launder mat. Since this was my second sojourn the first thing was finding my book from the other day and I asked the woman in charge and she immediately went to her office and pulled my book out with a note attached. “Someone left this book, and I am sure will come back for it”. The book was “Teaching from the heart” by Sarah Day Hatton. Perhaps it was a small miracle that my book was still there may be so or was it more a Jungian sort of thing leading to another step another conversation.

It seems the woman who runs the Laundromat has an autistic son and when she found the book felt this was a book most people would not be reading, and it must be special to someone. We talked for nearly an hour as my clothes washed and dried discussing how her seventeen-year-old son was progressing. As I sat another mother came in this time a former student’s mother her washer had died as well. We talked about how her daughter was doing and progressing. Then I received phone call on my cell phone from another mother who lost a son many years ago and is still looking and finding the pieces to her puzzle daily. As she talked about a story of a rope, scripture, devotion and finding peace within her and in others for nearly thirty minutes we talked. I use James Redfield’s term coincidence quite often and was corrected, not coincidences I was told. I offered then synchronicity perhaps as Jung says and that word was more acceptable.

Timely meaningful happenings seemingly by chance all in a short span of hours amazing how my family does not like to take me any where I always end up meeting people and talking. I went looking this morning for one author and stumbled on another. It has been several years since I first read, Care of the soul, by Thomas Moore. Moore was a monk for thirteen years. He is an avid student and learner gaining a PhD in religion, and in psychology along with a master’s in music and philosophy. Moore is a teacher, psychotherapist, and writer he has a unique introspection on faith and life.

What amazes me each morning as I start is so often, I really am not sure where it is ending. Not necessarily a good lesson for teaching creative writing but since I don’t do that, I am okay. I started looking for a course in miracles and several lecturers who feature miracles in their writing. As I looked on a favorite site Thomas Moore is now a featured columnist and I looked at his site. Thinking over the past day and events another idea emerged and within miracles there is a sense of belonging of community for lack of better wording and pondering. I was caught in a paragraph from Moore’s site. I highly recommend a look at his website when time allows. Within the context of miracles and the world in general, so often teenagers get confused by all the horror and death. Moore was addressing this in previous paragraphs and lead into this thought.

“We could ask the same question about the thousands of children being killed and horribly wounded in wars across the globe. This horror exists because we have not matured enough to create a world community that genuinely serves the welfare of our children. Again, it’s a theological matter. We operate under an infantile illusion that the religions are in competition with each other, and we battle our anxious beliefs with literal weapons. We profess religions that are ninety percent ideology, full of ego, and, in the face of this pseudo religion, create a secularist society, which by definition is incapable of genuine community.” Thomas Moore

For those interested his website is – http://www.careofthesoul.net/index.htm

I was looking at Yahoo news today and three of ten articles or so were religious related granted it is a holiday season in several different religions. One that catches my attention is a court overturning intelligent design which some school systems and politicians are pushing. The Iranian President declares a ban on western music, clothing, ideas, morals, and who knows what else. In Bethlehem, this time of year always conflict between various denominations and religions.

As I sit thinking the term genuine community is an interesting one. Could we even consider this, that might truly be construed a miracle considering wars have been fought over religion for thousands of years. When you get down and dirty however it is never ideology but more over money, but religion was easier to accept. Can we become a community each step in its place? As I talked with my friend who had lost a son and for her the story unraveled over years not instantaneously there was not a blinding flash of light but pieces falling in place one by one leading to that day in the laundromat and our talk. A long-term miracle perhaps? My miracle would be to no longer have to ask my friends to keep all in harm’s way on their minds and in their hearts that would be the miracle I seek and perhaps if we can chip away piece by piece at building community at building relationships at climbing up each shovel full of dirt up one at a time what seemingly is getting hit in the face with a shovel full of dirt could in effect be freedom and maybe even peace someday and always give thanks namaste.

My family and friends I do not say this lightly,
Mitakuye Oyasin
(We are all related)
bird

Seeking perfection all the while mired in sterile mud

Bird Droppings December 19, 2020
Seeking perfection all the while mired in sterile mud

It has been a quite a few years since my students were nonverbal. Back in the day as my youngest son will say, I worked in private and residential programs. My students were considered severe and profoundly mentally impaired. Other words were used but even then I found the word retarded inappropriate. I recall vividly a day I will never forget in sixth grade when I called another student in my class retarded. He went on to go to school in one of our military academies and later retire from the military a general. The word seemed to disappear from my vocabulary after that. My youngest brother entered our family with cerebral palsy. John never spoke a word and when he passed away going on twenty years ago was not potty trained. This influenced my life in so many ways. I learned much over the years from my brother who never spoke.

“I have found there are those who can write and speak fluently and yet do not have anything to say and then there are those who have something to say who may not be so fluent. The big question is who do, you listen too?” Frank Bird Ed.S. D.D.

On Tuesday I overheard a conversation about grammar and how poorly students in school are at grammar. The consensus was we need to drill them in grammar, correct sentence structure, syntax, complex compound sentences, covalent bonds, distorted warped lines, rational equations and retroactive participles. Oh brother and the list continue on. The word hablar, translated from Spanish means to work. In Spanish classes we also learned to conjugate that verb in thousands of ways and I can’t remember any of them. So I guess I can’t say to work in Spanish in masculine past tense future. So what is my point maybe an illustration a story of sorts before I go on?

Once there was a young man who went to a great educational institution far away he was a smart child and knew much of life, he too was an athlete and a very fast runner strong and powerful was he, as he came to the school he saw an opportunity to became a member of an elite group of athletes that were participating in a sport he knew well. The throwing of a disc and scoring points which goes by the name in laymen’s terms of ultimate Frisbee. He proceeded to try out but the team was skilled beyond his knowledge in the ways of technique and plays, precision ruled as the players each knew where to be for play 234 and executed exactly time and again. He was not allowed to play with them. He searched for a team and soon found himself with a group who at first did not want him because he was young and unproven, however soon in his strength he prevailed and was the leading scorer, and soon the team he joined was numero uno and the prefect team was not. They had not won a game. All of their plays were prefect and every player was where there were to be but the other teams were elsewhere scoring.

“If a man should happen to reach perfection in this world, he would have to die immediately to enjoy himself.” Josh Billings

I am not against learning how to do something correctly even perfectly but if that consumes you in your endeavor and you fail to move forward then you are lost. When crossing a stream and you finally start and after much preparation your shoes are exactly right and water proof shirt and pants just in case. As you step to the first rock carefully measuring and gauging your steps for the next and so forth soon you attain rock two. Maybe you will cross the stream and maybe being so intent on the destination and your effort to get there you miss the journey and all around you is so much more.

“You can spend a lifetime, and, if you’re honest with yourself, never once was your work perfect.” Charleston Hesston

“The only nice thing about being imperfect is the joy it brings to others.” Doug Larson
Perhaps I have gone slightly over board, would I want to be on a surgical table with a surgeon who was not perfect or really in any field would it matter. The issue becomes what is perfect? Was it the poor guys whose plays are flawless but cannot respond to another team’s changes, they will never succeed? Could it be the writer who has errorless form but not a single thought, that person will never write a story. Perhaps it is the surgeon who is perfect and yet can’t talk to a patient to explain what is going on and then what. Life is filled with paradox.

“I have always suspected that correctness is the last refuge of those who have nothing to say.” Friedrich Wasiman

“The intellect of man is forced to choose perfection of the life, or of the work, and if it takes the second must refuse a heavenly mansion, raging in the dark.” William Butler Yeats

As I sit here this morning spinning ideas out, we should truly seek to learn to know to understand, how to try and be perfect in what we do yet always be able to see past and never look down on those who may not know what you know. As I sit reading back over my sentences interspersed with thoughts ideas and ramblings, punctuated with dashes and words and many time no capitals I wonder. Recently I questioned a friend about her emails where she leaves the word I always I, a small i and what is funny it spell checks it large so I assumed it was a deliberate effort on her part to do, an artsy sort of poetic thing turns out she just was lazy and didn’t push cap key.

“It is only imperfection that complains of what is imperfect. The more perfect we are the more gentle and quiet we become towards the defects of others.” Joseph Addison

“Perfection consists not in doing extraordinary things, but in doing ordinary things extraordinarily well.” Angelique Arnauld

“Aim at perfection in everything, though in most things it is unattainable. However, they who aim at it, and persevere, will come much nearer to it than those whose laziness and despondency make them give it up as unattainable.” Lord Chesterfield

I guess my issue my point is we can be perfect and still make sense and you can make perfect sense and still not be perfect but it is how you go at it if you have done your best and continue to try and improve your direction is good, or as Lord Chesterfield said many give up because perfection is so unattainable they think. I recall one of my favorite lines, “CHOOSE WISELY” said the old knight in Indiana Jones and the search for the Holy Grail, and now I will continue my day here on an Easter Sunday seeking perfection in the mud of an imperfect world, I shall go onward and forward. Please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your heart and please have a glorious week as we march into April tomorrow and spring has sprung and always give thanks namaste.

My family and friends I do not say this lightly,
Mitakuye Oyasin
(We are all related)
bird

Can you give it one more try?

Bird Droppings December 18, 2020
Can you give it one more try?

“You win some, you lose some, and some get rained out, but you gotta suit up for them all.” Satchel Paige often attributed to J. Askenberg

It is end of semester test time in most counties. When I was teaching, I would judge seasons by testing session not weather? I am sitting here this morning trying to sort through what test practicing does to education. Then after test practicing how we would simulate test questions and responses. Test vocabulary is next and maybe a review game. Alright lesson plans are destroyed and that leaves five minutes to cover photosynthesis. However, on the weather side my herb garden is has a few of the hardier plants still hanging in there the angel trumpets are all but dead now. I am already for summer again and officially it is not winter yet. As I thought sitting here I liked this quote to start my day today. Often when I stumble on a quote I try and find who this person is. J. Askenberg proved a bit difficult, I found this quote 160 times in sermons and lectures and various quote engines but not who this person was other than a writer. Then in my looking one more time I actually found this morning it was Satchel Paige who first said it and Askenberg is often attributed.  

“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.” Calvin Coolidge

“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” Thomas A. Edison

It has been some time since I had the chance to ride into Atlanta with my middle son; we were comparing football games from the previous weekend. Now he and several other Georgia Tech fans and graduates have a running blog site of course featuring Tech’s various athletic teams although he seldom is involved anymore. My son is a graduate and a very big Georgia Tech fan having been a past driver of the Ramblin Wreck of Georgia Tech and a former avid member of the Swarm, and Ramblin Wreck clubs. Many months ago we got talking about a young man who went to The University of Georgia from the Air Force Academy, I recall our conversation. This young man walked on, in football and became the starting Fullback. This young man perseveres and many the stories at our high school. One my son brought up was how in Calculus it would take him 45 minutes to get problems others got in 10 minutes or less. The interesting thing was he was Salutatorian of his graduating class, he never quit.

“Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after another.” Walter Elliot

“History has demonstrated that the most notable winners usually encountered heartbreaking obstacles before they triumphed. They won because they refused to become discouraged by their defeats.” B. C. Forbes

“Some men give up their designs when they have almost reached the goal; while others, on the contrary, obtain a victory by exerting, at the last moment, more vigorous efforts than ever before.” Herodotus

Each step we take in life can be difficult; each new pathway we face as we plod along can have more bumps than the last. It is through effort we reach that place we are going. What if life were so simple and there were never difficulties? What if the road was straight and clear and only forward momentum was needed? I remember many road trips out west and roads that were perfectly smooth no pot holes and straight as an arrow for many miles, it was all I could do to stay awake. Life would be so boring without a bump or a curve in the road, or perhaps a fork to choose from as we go.

“We can do anything we want to do if we stick to it long enough.” Helen Keller

Most folks will not remember Helen Keller and may have seen the many different versions of “the Miracle Worker”. Annie Sylvan was a teacher who wouldn’t give up on her student Helen. Helen was blind and deaf and Annie found a spark and hope, and with Annie’s help Helen would go on to address leaders of the world in her public life.

“Most people give up just when they’re about to achieve success. They quit on the one yard line. They give up at the last minute of the game, one foot from a winning touchdown.” H. Ross Perot

“It’s not so important who starts the game but who finishes it.” John Wooden

If you ask who was the greatest coach in college basketball of all time, at my house John Wooden will be a unanimous pick. As I read this Woodenism, it is so true, so many students and teachers start out but at the first difficulty quit. It could be a difficult student that does not conform to a set pattern and way of doing things or a new teacher who comes to a class of students who are all ready to quit. There are answers; there are solutions if we choose to look. Edison had a barrel of failed light bulbs as a reminder as he proceeded to find a workable light bulb. It is about not quitting, the answers are there when you give it one more try. Please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your heart and always give thanks namaste.

My family and friends I do not say this lightly,

Mitakuye Oyasin 

(We are all related)

bird