Bird Droppings February 21, 2022
Getting over the speed bumps
“Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal.” Hannah More
Perhaps ahead of her time Ms. More wrote in abundance in the later 1700s and early 1800s. She was writing when women should have been sitting at home according to the customs of the time. She had her goals and strived to achieve them daily, and several middle and high schools around the country still bear her name. When I am driving about the countryside, I think back to days when the wonderful speed bump was purely a southern thing. Sadly they are now used across the country. We are often surprised when we approach a stop sign or crosswalk. Sometimes, some grocery stores will mark pedestrian walkways with those wonderful, often unseen obstacles. They are put there to slow us down in our hectic lives.
However, when Hanna More wrote that line, speed bumps were many years ahead, and she looked more at life metaphorically. As we journey in life, we become complacent and begin to slack when obstacles become frightful. I drove into Atlanta regularly to take things to my son at Georgia Tech before he graduated. There is a stretch on North Avenue where you look down the hill and, of course, look up. When in a lazier mood, it is fun to see how fast you can coast down and then see how far up the other side you can go without using the gas pedal. Hoping all the red lights are green through your free fall and ascent of the hill.
By chance, several months ago, when downtown going to Piedmont Park, I was thinking how hard it must be to walk up and down that hill. Even in a car, as you begin up the hill after the momentum wears off, you have to increase the pressure on the accelerator. Life is very much the same way, and living can appear more complicated when we lose focus and become bewildered. I was thinking about learning and education as well. In my earlier days, I would wander for semesters at a time, losing focus beyond staying out of the draft college had little other meaning for me. I floundered around for several years.
Today in teaching, I stress context and content that give meaning to my students’ learning.
“It is not so important to know everything as to know the exact value of everything, to appreciate what we learn, and to arrange what we know.” Hannah More
Ms. More was perhaps more organized than I am, and even her contemporaries claimed she was a Methodist. Methodist was the word used to describe John Wesley, founder of The Methodist Church, and his friends because they were methodical in their teachings and beliefs. At that time, the word Methodist which for The Anglicans, the Church of England, was sometimes a dirty word or jest depending on who they were referring to.
But this second quote knowing the value of everything and appreciating what we learn gives that learning context, meaning, and substance. This is what proper education should be about, and better yet, parents and teachers provide context so that learning lifts us over obstacles and carries us through our lives. There is extra pressure on the accelerator we need to climb all the hills on North Avenue that we have in life. Please, my friends, provide context and content and keep all in harm’s way in your hearts and on your minds as we go out and about our business today and always give thanks namaste. Peace!
My family and friends, I do not say this lightly,
(We are all related)