Bird Droppings June 5, 2021
Often we find ourselves in a fog of education
I was heading to my friends Rosary memorial service about three years ago. I got up as I do a bit later on that day and walked a mile in the pool. I tend to meditate and wander in my thinking ponder as it might be. I use a small white plastic cube to mark laps around the pool. Seventeen equal a quarter mile and there by sixty-eight times around a mile. As I walk at night in early morning hours, I listen to traditional cedar flute music by Carlos Nakai. The haunting notes seem to guide meditation. Today instead of something less meditative I was on the phone with my son. The time flew by. I thought about my friend and talking with her sisters and family that night. I looked over and a cardinal was feeding and chirping nearby. My son said dad you have a cardinal nearby he has become the bird expert in the family. I tend to look for signs and immediately someone asks of what? Usually, I catch myself and say signs I am still able to see and hear. My thoughts came back to storytelling and stories some from my friends two years ago as we talked about their sister but one kept drawing me in. The pied piper of Hamlin. I may need to come back to that in more writing detail.
“The more sand that has escaped the hourglass of life, the clearer we should see through it.” Jean Paul Sartre
As I was looking for thoughts and ideas to start, I actually was going a different direction when by accident or should I say coincidence found this quote. As we get older, we have experienced more and if we have learned from our experiences the hour glass does clear however if those grains have been abrasive and scoured the glass as they went through the glass will be scratched and foggy. It is life’s lessons that determine this process and how we have responded that provide the fodder for our endeavor. I am sitting here in the morning hours after responding for nearly an hour to various posts on blogs and a copy of John Dewey’s Experience and Education to my left. Hopefully, next week I will be heading to North Georgia a few miles from the North Carolina line to wander the Foxfire property as I do. The museum and property all came about through a high school class that came alive by what is now called Foxfire Teaching, a method based on experience and John Dewey. More on Foxfire to come as well. I said my thoughts wandered today.
“Many go fishing all their lives without knowing it’s not the fish they are after.” W. Whitman
“No bird soars too high if he soars with his own wings” W. Blake
“Few are those who see with their own eyes and feel with their own hearts.” Albert Einstein
“Only that day dawns to which we are awake” Henry David Thoreau
It is often about choosing to look, to see, to listen, and to hear those are all choices we make as we go through life. It is far easier to take ideas and thoughts from others to be subjugated by others to be what another wants us to be but only in hearing and seeing for ourselves can we as Thoreau says wake up to the dawn and we must be awake especially in today’s politically biased and charged atmosphere. As I was reading last night this thought came up and it intrigued me since I started in about using your own eyes and ears.
“An anthropologist asked a Hopi Indian why so many of his native songs seemed to be about the subject of rain… he replied: ‘because rain is scarce in our land… is that the reason so many of your songs are about love?’” Kent Nerburn
As I thought is that the problem in our society to be so easily recognized by a Hopi Indian in New Mexico who had never really been to a big city or “civilized” area of The United States, could it be a lack of love that is why our society stumbles. I was involved in a discussion of sorts on another’s Facebook page over holistic healing and herbals cures. This discussion was modern versus ancient methodology and granted many new age supposed “cures” are a bit of a stretch there is wisdom in the elders.
“Mankind often stumbles upon the truth…. but usually picks itself up & goes along.” Winston Churchill
We so often know the answer and choose not to listen or simply disregard due to the current politics, popular opinion, or majority rules sort of thing that media and mentality of the masses seem to operate on.
“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.” Albert Einstein
The more I read of Albert’s ideas and philosophy the more I like his thoughts. It is funny how what we remember him for his more science-oriented views than his philosophy and that he loathed the fact that he was instrumental in developing weapons of mass destruction. At one point said he would give up all if he could take that back. So where am I going today perhaps the following thought will offer some aid.
“Passive acceptance of the teacher’s wisdom is easy to most boys and girls. It involves no effort of independent thought and seems rational because the teacher knows more than his pupils; it is moreover the way to win the favor of the teacher unless he is a very exceptional man. Yet the habit of passive acceptance is a disastrous one in later life. It causes men to seek a leader, and to accept as a leader whoever is established in that position… It will be said that the joy of mental adventure must be rare, that there are few who can appreciate it, and that ordinary education can take no account of so aristocratic a good. I do not believe this. The joy of mental adventure is far commoner in the young than in grown men and women. Among children it is very common and grows naturally out of the period of make-believe and fancy. It is rare in later life because everything is done to kill it during education… The wish to preserve the past rather than the hope of creating the future dominates the minds of those who control the teaching of the young. Education should not aim at passive awareness of dead facts, but at an activity directed towards the world that our affords are to create.” Bertrand Russell
The sad thing is so often we fall victim to this 19th century thinking and all of this while applying to education is very much prevalent through all ideas among the “normal” folks in our world today borrowing loosely a term applied to current folks wanting to change education “reformers”. It seems these reformers are more bent on profit than working with the students.
“Our schools have been scientifically designed to prevent over-education from happening…The average American should be content with their humble role in life, because they’re not tempted to think about any other role.” William Harris, U.S. Commissioner of Education, 1889
It is so sad to think that we actually allowed this type of mentality to lead our nation and continue to use this approach while in a more appealing packaging NCLB legislation and many of the packages offered by publishers and reformers. Many times, I wonder if anything has changed as you read headlines and newspaper clippings. We do not want to over educate children they might think for themselves then what do we do and who would they elect? The paradox is that in schools the kids who are allowed to think for themselves excel and often are the pride of the schools yet all through their education an effort has been made to suppress that thinking. One of my sons in eighth grade was told his methodology in a math problem was wrong and he had to do it “right”, the teachers way.
Yet in his second semester of calculus his methodology he found was absolutely right and more so interesting what was wrong in eighth grade is so correct in twelfth grade and in college calculus at Georgia Tech and now as an environmental engineer. Sadly, that same teacher demanding him to do it right and gave him his only B in school is on our Board of Education. Sometimes we force children to our terms, and we are the ones who are wrong. We need to listen to the children, we need to be learners as well as teachers, learn from the children and before I go too far a last quote to end this morning meanderings from ancient Israel.
“A child’s wisdom is also wisdom” Jewish Proverb
Well, I got a bit carried away but several good ideas to mold over ponder on and reflect about as I get ready to recharge over the next couple of weeks in North Georgia. So, for today be safe for the remainder if this glorious week ahead and keep all in harm’s way in your hearts and on your mind and to always give thanks namaste.
For all my relations
My family and friends I do not say this lightly,
(We are all related)