Trying to find a way back to normal, or is it abnormal: Is your child a hippy?

Bird Droppings May 14, 2023

Trying to find a way back to normal, or is it abnormal: Is your child a hippy?

“Your son or daughter may be flashing warning signals that he or she will soon drop out of society and join the “hippie” movement. If you know what to look for, you may be able to prevent it.” Jacqueline Himmelstein, How To Tell If Your Child Is a Potential Hippie and What You Can Do About It, 1970 PTA Parent Education Pamphlet

I noticed a note on Facebook on a rather interesting site, Word of Mouth Critical Pedagogy, that I am a member of and post to.  It caught my attention being a post for parents to catch warning signs of their children becoming hippies, which I have often called. I recall a homecoming dress-up day not too far back, it was decade day for homecoming week, and I pulled out a tie-dyed shirt. As I read through, I found it most interesting, and having been involved to a degree in that era of change, seeing the reminders from back in the day struck a chord. The first sign is “a sudden interest in a cult, rather than an accepted religion.” I found this intriguing as many of our large churches are cult followings and are now considered the mainstream. The second followed the first with “the inability to sustain a personal love relationship drawn more to group experiences. I see being part of a group now as more significant than individuality for so many people in so many instances. One of my favorite musical artists is Neil Young, and falling right into that period of time seems about right.

“Tin soldiers and Nixon coming, we’re finally on our own. This summer, I hear the drumming Four dead in Ohio. Gotta get down to it; soldiers are cutting us down should have been done long ago. What if you knew her and found her dead on the ground? How can you run when you know?” Neil Young

Perhaps it was just a wandering thought. It had been a few days since we had a school shooting, granted most schools had been closed or on virtual for nearly two years. Sadly as soon as they were back in full swing, shootings started again. It has been about twelve years since the shooting in Arizona of a congresswoman. But while I was sitting thinking and pondering now, a few days back one afternoon listening to Neil Young’s Live at Massey Hall, the song Ohio played stuck with me. It has been a busy week as I had a job interview and PT twice and made significant headway on my dissertation editing. My oldest is teaching at my old high school, and they are testing for most of the next two weeks; he has finished AP testing for this year. I am trying to find my way back to normal, and doing it takes a few days or more.  I miss and want to hold my grandbabies, and then I remember they are not here and not traveling. I am amazed at how quickly we change our lifestyle and focus as grandparents and in retirement. Back to my original thought, I was listening to “Ohio” by Neil Young, and the song stuck with me as I pondered how you ever get to normal after an event like that. One of the shooting victims from the Arizona shooting was at Kent State nearly fifty-two years ago and lost a friend. I went looking for a few notes on the song and borrowed from Wikipedia the following:

“‘ Ohio’ is a protest song written and composed by Neil Young in reaction to the Kent State shootings of May 4, 1970, and performed by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. It was released as a single, backed with Stephen Stills’ ‘Find the Cost of Freedom,’ peaking at #14 on the Billboard Hot 100. Although a live version of the song was included on the group’s 1971 double album Four Way Street, the studio versions of both songs did not appear on an LP until the group’s compilation So Far was released in 1974. The song also appeared on the Neil Young compilation album Decade, released in 1977. It also appears on Young’s Live at Massey Hall album, which he recorded in 1971 but did not release until 2007.” Wikipedia

“There is nothing more difficult to carry out, nor more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to handle than to initiate a new order of things: for the reformer has enemies in all who profit by the old order and only lukewarm defenders from all those who would profit by the new order.  This lukewarmness arises partly from the fear of their adversaries who have the law in their favor and partly from the incredulity of mankind who do not just believe in anything new until they have actual experience of it.” Machiavelli (1469 – 1527)

My mother sent this Machiavelli quote to me, and there are so many similarities in our public awareness on both sides of the fence. I skip back to this past holiday season, and for us former and current teachers in our county, an extended break with a shortened calendar year and longer days to save money and an extra week due to ice and snow. I am seriously a creature of habit, and being out of routine for so long, it is tough to get back to normal. As I look at the national scene in politics and legislation, I often wonder if we ever will do things for the country’s people and no longer for sponsors of politicians. On a passing thought, maybe, politicians should be required to wear stickers like NASCAR of sponsors.

“Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after.” Henry David Thoreau

It has been some time since I came back to Thoreau. I recall reading about him and Walden in high school, but it was just an assignment. I, as a student, was living this quote. I was going through the motions of being a student but never entirely understood what I was doing there or why. It clicked somewhere in Macon, Georgia, at Mercer, and I became a student and found that being a student and learning were completely different. This is like realizing how ingrained our routines are in our daily lives. I come into school, clean my room each morning, prepare for the day, sit and write, read a bit, feed my various room critters, and prepare for students. I had more to do since my classes changed almost daily this past week, students in and out, so my writing time was affected in the morning, and now, not having all day to run errands, it is confined to a narrow window in the afternoon and then home to cook dinner and rest for another day.

“As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives. “Henry David Thoreau

I took a picture on January 4 of this year at sunrise and posted it on Facebook like I post many images. I previously had used this Thoreau quote on my “Wall of Fame” at school, and in looking through my images, this sunrise was so intense it just seemed right, and it became a cover for my Facebook page. As I read this quote from Thoreau, it started sinking in. I need to think over and over those deep thoughts; I want to attain and accomplish and, rather than procrastinate, follow my pathway to completion. So, I am slowly getting back to normal and just emailed a friend. After a long break, it takes four or five days to get back in the groove. As a nation, state, county, school, and family, we have so many things ahead of us that we need to begin working through and over and over to get back to normal. Then, of course, I don’t think normal is where I probably ever will be, according to many. Please keep all in harm’s way on your minds and hearts and always give thanks namaste.

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

Mitakuye Oyasin

(We are all related)


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