Bird Droppings March 27, 2022
A morning meandering while the moon is glowing
Almost eight years ago, after tutoring in an after-school program with a student who needs constant repetition of material to remember, I read through several old emails from my doctorate and graduate cohort friends as some are defending their dissertations in the coming weeks. Another set of emails was based on an article on teaching memory reviewed by several teachers who had several comments on how these particular readings provided insight into the successful educational adaptation of this program. I found I had enjoyed the readings, and it made me recall a teaching principle I learned from my father, who used it in the steel industry many years ago. I was taught this concept in a Red Cross course for instructors in 1968. It is called the FIDO principle, hence Frequency, Intensity, Duration, and Over again. If you repeat something, often enough, it will sink in. In today’s educational system of teaching to the test, we might be using FIDO a bit too much.
“I believe that the school is primarily a social institution. Education being a social process, the school is simply that form of community life in which all those agencies are concentrated that will be most effective in bringing the child to share in the inherited resources of the race and use his own powers for social ends. I believe that education, therefore, is a process of living and not a preparation for future living.” John Dewey, My Pedagogic Creed, The School Journal, Vol. LIV, No.
I look at John Dewey’s ideas from nearly a hundred years ago, and how we still call those ideas progressive education, it amazes me. Many are only a few years old with all of the educational materials out now, and they are still called traditional when compared to Dewey. One of our topics was looking at performance versus social support. I am, of course, leaning in the social support direction as this is an integral part of my day when I am teaching, even with general education students. This is how I see kids and deal with kids. I go back to my idea in one of the postings I read earlier today of getting away from a pendulum swing and going in the direction of a pulse, no swing either way but a steady beat or energy.
We should try and steer away from that concept of right or left swing and go towards what is best for the kid, not always for society. I have worked with many kids from a specific low-income housing area nearby. Many are very bright, and all are very poor. As I call it, the sixteen-hour syndrome is alive and well in that area. As I go by often several times a day between my mother’s house and my own, I see kids I have had and often new ones but always similarities. As I look back at the last twelve years of teaching EBD students, I have had more kids from that one spot in the county than any other specific spot. Sadly in actuality, many are marrying within that small community. More kids are being born coming from that environment. Many are on the fringe of society. Many of the kids are anarchists, punkers, suffering from divergent behaviors, drug addicts, alcoholics, and few have jobs. As I drove by thinking of past kids from this enclave, I wondered why. Several are serving a seriously hard time; some have escaped and moved away, many will be going to our newest high school down the road next year. I wonder if anyone in that community was approached about their participation in the greater good.
Interesting as I am having difficulty getting started this morning, wandering off a bit as if I had just driven by that community. I am always trying to stay up with my youngest son; I recall a day he decided to do a Godzilla marathon of the old Godzilla movies, and I did not make it through the first one. THE VIDEO WAS STILL ON when I got up the following day, and he crashed somewhere after five this morning watching the twenty-eighth movie featuring the man in a monster suit. He just found the latest installment, which features every major other monster and a walk-on by the computer-generated Godzilla. I often wonder if Godzilla has a hidden meaning, the mighty beast who always eventually has a weakness. Sort of the David and Goliath of nature and humanity, and my youngest, of course, came to the rescue, offering that the original concept of the monster was an antinuclear effort.
“The depth of darkness to which you can descend and still live is an exact measure of the height to which you can aspire to reach.” Laurens Van der Post
I have been intrigued by this man I had not heard of before finding a quote several years ago for many years. Yet, he has literally written hundreds of books and articles on Africa and other countries. He was raised by an African Bushman woman and taught their ways and his philosophy of life. His writings are permeated with nature and the thoughts and aspirations of these primitive people. Van der Post was knighted by the Queen many years ago and actually is the Godfather to Prince William, and he is the only non-royal to have ever been given that honor.
“It’s easier to go down a hill than up it, but the view is much better at the top.” Arnold Bennett
“What is to give light must endure the burning.” Victor E, Frankl
As I sit this morning so often, conversations and happenings of yesterday drive the thoughts that inspire me as I write. Yesterday I talked with some friends about where they had been and where they were going; adversity is a good word as we spoke. It is about looking the lion in the mouth and walking away knowing you have survived. Only a few days ago, I was talking with a former student. She was a graduate of a respected associate’s program and was floored at one point by her rejection at a four-year school. She had gone to the two-year program on a full athletic scholarship and suffered grade-wise to play on a nationally ranked junior college team. As the graduation time came close, she had to quit softball and lost her scholarship to raise her grades and put more time into studying. She had conquered her adversary and now was trying to move on. After graduating with a four-year degree in business, she was still working as a waitress, but just a few days before our talking had been interviewed and got a job she had been dreaming about.
“Turn your face to the sun, and the shadows fall behind you.” Maori Proverb, the Maori are the indigenous people of New Zealand.
“Human beings are perhaps never more frightening than when they are convinced beyond doubt that they are right.” Laurens Van der Post
“The chief condition on which, life, health and vigor depends on, is action. It is by action that an organism develops its faculties, increases its energy, and attains the fulfillment of its destiny.” Colin Powell
Overcoming adversity begins with action, a step forward, realizing shadows are cast by light with knowing that growth comes from effort. It is difficult to cross a stream if you never take the first step. In borrowing from the Zen teachings, “You can never cross a stream the same way twice.” I was sitting here remembering old stories and thoughts in the past. We would hike up a stream in north Georgia, the Toccoa Creek, and in that hike, transverse about 500 feet uphill over rocks and boulders and such climbing up the creek. In the process, water is continually flowing against you, and depending on the rainfall, it could be a good bit. Cracks and crevices abound, and more than several times, you swim in rock channels ten feet deep and eighteen inches wide, all uphill, but at the top is a waterfall.
“The view at the top is always worth the climb,” Sir Edmond Hillary
Keep all in harm’s way on your mind and your hearts, and always give thanks namaste.
My family and friends, I do not say this lightly,
(We are all related)