Trying to find where community exists

Bird Droppings October 20, 2021
Trying to find where community exists

In my doctoral course work, I was in a class on educational communities that featured all total in the two courses’ fifteen texts. The texts have an underlying theme of caring and relationships as a key to education or successful teaching. One of the books from a Georgia Southern course, entitled Dreamkeepers by Gloria Ladson-Billings, focuses on the notion that a teacher should be giving back to the community. Over the past few years, I have heard numerous teachers discuss not wanting to be seen by students outside of school and not being a part of the school community. Last spring, just before the virus break, we got into a debate of sorts at school on this concept. Can a teacher be a successful teacher and not be a part of the school community? It seems I lived away from the community and, to be honest, did not get involved in the school other than my classes.

On one of my trips to the Barnes and Noble bookstore, I was looking for a book by J. Garrison, Dewey, and Eros: Wisdom and desire in the art of teaching. This book focuses on ideas from John Dewey, considered to be one of the great minds in educational philosophy. As I went to the bookstore, I ran into a student from my high school who transferred to Georgia Southern University. It seems that there are students, former students, or parents of students showing up wherever I go.

“In every integral experience there is form because there is dynamic organization. I call the organization dynamic ….. Because it has growth….William James aptly compared the course of a conscious experience to the alternate flights and perching of a bird…. Each resting place in experience is an undergoing in which it is absorbed and taken home the consequences of prior doing… If we move too rapidly, we get away from the base of supplies – of accrued meanings – the experience is flustered, thin, and confused. If we dawdle too long after having extracted a net value, experience perishes of inanition.” John Dewey, Art as Experience, 1934

I thought back a few years and many conversations on synchronicity and a trip home from a class actually after a midterm in Advanced Behavioral Techniques; I was hungry since I had not really stopped since early in the morning. I knew one of my former swimmers from the high school team who worked at Taco Bell, and sure enough, she was working, and I said hi, coincidently the same student I ran into at the bookstore this past weekend. As I pulled out of Taco Bell, my sweet tooth struck, and I ended up at Brewster’s, as close to homemade ice cream as you can get at fast food, sounded good, and there were two of my former advisee’s also getting ice cream. We talked for a while about uptight teachers and who was not, an exciting subject. Why do teachers get so uptight or anybody for that matter?

As I talked, several more students and former students pulled in. I met girlfriends and boyfriends of each and such, coincidence perhaps but an average day for me, it seems. So often, I mention the word coincidence and try to explain it. Recently, in a letter to a friend, I used the term ” we are where we need to be right now and when we realize that all of a sudden, so much more becomes clear. James Redfield, an author, refers to coincidence frequently and the idea that it happens more often as you become attuned to it when you begin noticing coincidence. Essentially as you become aware of your place in the puzzle, the pieces seem to fit better and more clearly.

“The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed.” Carl Gustav Jung

Carl Jung was of the nature there was purpose in all that happened, and he and his former partner Sigmund Freud disagreed to an extent on the whys of this. Jung coined the word synchronicity to explain his thoughts in the early 1900s. Events and things happening at a specific time, specific people seemingly appear by chance but not.

“His (Jung) notion of synchronicity is that there is a causal principle that links events having a similar meaning by their coincidence in time rather than sequentially. He claimed that there is a synchrony between the mind and the phenomenal world of perception.” HTTP://

“Some scientists see a theoretical grounding for synchronicity in quantum physics, fractal geometry, and chaos theory. They are finding that the isolation and separation of objects from each other is more apparent than real; at deeper levels, everything — atoms, cells, molecules, plants, animals, people — participates in a             sensitive, flowing web of information. Physicists have shown, for example, that if two photons are separated, no matter by how far, a change in one creates a             simultaneous change in the other. “A Wink from the Cosmos, by Meg Lundstrom (Intuition Magazine, May 1996)

How does synchronicity tie into the community? Somewhere in and among ideas and thoughts are answers. Some people seek answers through religion. Some seek answers through pure science others assume there are no answers and sit on a rock. Going back to my first thought, I see teaching as a community. In that community, we are integral pieces and interconnect many times, as for me today and yesterday in many differing places. I find throwing myself into that community as significant as walking into my classroom on a school day. Each time I bump into a student, it adds to their appreciation of my time and effort and gives me a piece of their puzzle to help deal with any issues that may come up when I have them in class. Just in a staff meeting yesterday, we discussed connections.

Each of us can choose our direction and flow as humans, friends, and teachers if that is our chosen lot in life. The actual point I was making was when we are aware of our interactions with others that each moment we spend with a person affects that person and the next person they see or talk to as we too are involved. It is in this way community is built. I came away that night and yesterday, happy having spoken with some folks that I had not seen in several weeks, even several years, and hopefully, they too went away a bit happier. This is how life works and if we are aware of this, imagine the effect and impact. If I know, I will be affecting people beyond my contact with someone, and I will be more aware of how I affect them and so forth. I recall many years ago from I believe Dr. Glenn Doman, the old credence of leaving the person you are talking with smiling will affect ten others is accurate. If you involve the idea of coincidence, fact, or fancy, who knows, it sure happens a lot. So as I wander today through differing ideas, please keep all in harm’s way on your minds and in your hearts and to always give thanks namaste.

My family and friends, I do not say this lightly,

Mitakuye Oyasin

(We are all related)


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