About birddroppings

I am a College instructor part time, formerly retired Special Education high school teacher in Georgia now back in class room. I have been teaching most recently for twenty years. I have an extensive graphic arts background and industrial management training experience. My education includes undergraduate work in psychology, graduate degrees in behavior disorders, curriculum, education and theology.

Our goal in teaching should be for students to create new questions

Bird Droppings January 7, 2021

Our goal in teaching should be for students to create new questions

Over the past year I was back in active teaching until May. I have been pondering as usual. I have received advice through email and even a billboard or two driving home from Mount Yonah on a quick trip with my son a few weeks back. With all of the craziness of this year’s college football games I got thinking back to one, New Year’s Eve 2008. I was sitting in a huge stadium and I was overwhelmed by the noise and often mob type rule that so often occurs when fans get together. Inside an enclosed stadium like we have in Atlanta the sounds echo and echo even off echoes and become nearly deafening. As I sat there it amazed me how fans boo or cheer starting with one person and it can soon encompass the crowd. I was thinking back to the movie Gladiator starring Russell Crowe and a comment by the bad guy who uses the coliseum to control the crowd, the mob. Individualism is lost somewhere on row 125 seat 6 section A. Thinking back started me thinking we are in a way at that moment in our own country and politics.

“Our faith comes in moments… yet there is a depth in those brief moments which constrains us to ascribe more reality to them than to all other experiences.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

I was wondering after reading a comment yesterday and thinking back to that bowl game we attended and of course it was a Georgia Tech game. I was as always pondering of sorts as to what and why we think as we do which is a constant process for me. As I thought comfort is a factor, just being comfortable even group pressure could be comfortable if you go with the flow so to say. It sounds good perhaps this could be an answer. Someone else told me and well I do not have time to think about it really in a large stadium with the decibels literally through the roof there is no time to think to ponder to even clear a thought. As we gain in age it becomes easier to look back and see where thoughts evolved from and how and or they were imposed on us. Somehow, I can always go back in my Emerson notes and find a simple explanation such as the quote I started with today.

“To know what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty… this knowledge; this feeling is at the center of true religiousness.” Albert Einstein

“Non-violence is the article of faith.” Mahatma Gandhi

“All things are inconstant except the faith in the soul, which changes all things and fills their inconstancy with light, but though I seem to be driven out of my country as a misbeliever I have found no man yet with a faith like mine.” James Joyce

Searching midst others thoughts and dreams Einstein so often accused of being without faith but as I read his letters and ideas there is very much the opposite as he so often was on the fringe of thought as most people understand. Gandhi looking at life and reality through the eyes of a mystic saw in non-violence the essence of man, as man could be if worldly matters did not interfere. I thought to my experiences and of that bowl game and if mob rule did not interfere. Then as I read Joyce’s comment it is interesting how some people see no faith in men of very deep faith. These three by many standards are men of no faith to many people yet their comments and writings truly indicate otherwise.

“Faith is the highest passion in a human being. Many in every generation may not come that far, but none comes further.” Soren Kierkegaard

Easy words easy thoughts from a seemingly impossible word to define. We each ascribe our own thoughts to faith. We each try and place a value, a norm upon what we see as faith. This may be where the difficulty arises. A simple word has so many pathways, for each thinker a new avenue opens, for each individual heart a separate door is there. Looking back this could be where religion tried to focus combining various faiths various ideas and focusing allowing individuals to free up thought and ideas for other gain. Perhaps this is why so many have packaged faith so to say. I could see someone walking to a mike last night midst the drunken football fans and taking over the crowd, here now believe this and now you can go about your business and the crowd would follow that person.

Einstein’s difficulty with conventionalism and with organized religion perhaps was this factor that thinking was removed and it became a mote point which for him was wrong. I was reading one of my son’s Xanga entries from so many years ago and was intrigued by the rational that he found. All of existence is somehow intertwined and that with math equations that can be developed to resolve all issues and to provide basis for all. Granted my son is thinking in math terms that I am totally unaware of but it was of interest to me. While a bit beyond my own math thinking as you look at reality and while chaos theory exists and is a mainstay in many thought processes there is structure and consistency, even if we often do not see it. As he mentions in his passage from Xanga, “equations we have yet to learn” there is so much out still to be found if we continue thinking and looking.

Often, we human beings decide we have found it and quit thinking. When each doorway leads to another and each idea only clarifies the last and makes another possible why should we stop. Perhaps the vastness of the stadium and the magnitude of all I was immersed that evening in 2008 in did truly over whelmed me as I sat there watching a football game. Today is a new day and in this day whenever possible keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your heart and always give thanks namaste.

My family and friends I do not say this lightly,

Mitakuye Oyasin

(We are all related)

bird

A chill in the air but not in the heart, thank you Maya Angelou

Bird Droppings January 6, 2021

A chill in the air but not in the heart, thank you Maya Angelou

For several weeks now, we have been balancing between warm and cold weather in the early mornings which still is too cold for the crickets and tree frogs who need an ambient temperature a bit more warm, maybe high fifties low sixties. So, for today my orchestra was silent as a near freeze not only permeated but encompassed our back yard and today was one of quietest of this year at the house. I keep recalling why I like Georgia it is supposed to be warmer. Last night I watched a couple of minutes of news and I am concerned about things to come. Georgia has tentatively elected two democratic senators in the state runoff and  I am sure with all the hoopla there will be questions asked and legalities tossed about just as in presidential race even though entire process was extremely transparent.

As I was walking through the house earlier, I could not get warm, it seemed the cold was oozing into the house. Now as I am sitting here writing it dawned on me, I may have left the dampener open from our new fireplace insert which is electric and doesn’t need it. However, over the years I have found warmth in reading and pondering as I call it. It seems I can always find the right words when I turn a page or two.

“A bizarre sensation pervades a relationship of pretense. No truth seems true. A simple morning’s greeting and response appear loaded with innuendo and fraught with implications. Each nicety becomes more sterile and each withdrawal more permanent.” Maya Angelou

As I move my thinking to students and people in general we balance our lives in a series of trust and distrust often a teeter totter or see saw effect. Often, we become jaded and calloused through constant distrusting and soon we respond as Angelou indicates in a sterile manner. About once or twice a year I will pull my old guitar out and play. My fingers at first feel each string and after a while pain will tear through my finger tips from the pressure of strings on flesh. Eventually after several days I will callous my fingertips back.

Rock legend has it perhaps even urban rock myth it should be called is that the late great guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughn during a concert super glued his calluses back on when his fingers began to bleed. As I read this first quote, we can become callous we can become sterile but much more is involved. I also sense a similar relationship to my own use of the Hindustani word namaste, both a sterile hello or goodbye for some and for others one of reverence and humility. It is in the eyes and ears of the receiver and the giver. Today I learned a new phrase, “sat shree akal” that is Punjabi and means truth is the ultimate God and or truth is timeless.

“Achievement brings its own anticlimax.” Maya Angelou

 “All great achievements require time.” Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou writes of paradox of achievement and anticlimax. As I sit and think achievement is an attainment of a goal and with that attainment is a realization of a new goal a new mountain to climb perhaps it is that awareness of the anticlimax and yes most definitely time is always a factor.

“All men are prepared to accomplish the incredible if their ideals are threatened.” Maya Angelou

Maybe most men are prepared would be better. There are many who will still sit on their posteriors. Sitting today reading Angelou’s thoughts is a series of how to and why’s. I have listened many times to Dr. Angelo read her works or discuss topics on talk shows. Her words while calming is twice as meaningful listening to her speak them. There was a passion about her spirit and soul.

“Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good for him.” Maya Angelou

“Bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host. But anger is like fire. It burns it all clean.” Maya Angelou

“Children’s talent to endure stems from their ignorance of alternatives.” Maya Angelou

She was philosopher, poet, writer, activist, educator, humanitarian, civil rights leader, and the list goes on but always children are at the center of Angelou’s thinking and thoughts. Any book that can form a habit of reading is good. What a powerful statement in a society that would ban many books in schools and libraries? While not on the news now periodically we have this or as in a nearby county once upon a time, putting disclaimer labels in science books. I often wonder how when opening a book and a label states what you read in this science book may or may not be true is a good way to start a science lesson.

“Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage.” Maya Angelou

“Education helps one case, to cease being intimidated by strange situations.” Maya Angelou

Two words that seem to permeate Dr. Angelou’s writing are courage and education. These two words are constantly mentioned described and eluded to. Perhaps the explanation is in the first of the two statements above, “without courage you cannot practice any other virtue”. As I ponder, education requires courage it is that willingness to achieve to go beyond where you are it requires first courage to make that effort and then education to do it.

“I believe that every person is born with talent.” Maya Angelou

“If one is lucky, a solitary fantasy can totally transform a million realities.” Maya Angelou

As I saw this I thought of two individuals far apart historically and in many ways yet similar, George Washington Carver and Bill Gates. Both men through vision and fantasy transformed our realities possibly beyond the actual dreams they originally had.  My morning would be totally different if not for these two men many of the items used in the kitchen reflect ideas from Dr. Carver and my laptop computer and internet use are directly related to Mr. Gates.

“If we lose love and self-respect for each other, this is how we finally die.” Maya Angelou

“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. Don’t complain.” Maya Angelou

“If you find it in your heart to care for somebody else, you will have succeeded.” Maya Angelou

We are the beginning and the end of the circle. How we live and interact with others continues and perpetuates the circle. I have never been able to understand why this is so hard for people in general to understand. We seem to be having greed as a human trait. How sad that is to inherently assume man is greedy by nature. Animals only keep what they need for survival. Man is the only creature that hordes and amasses wealth.

“If you have only one smile in you, give it to the people you love. Don’t be surly at home, then go out in the street and start grinning ‘Good morning’ at total strangers.” Maya Angelou

Caring and concern begins at home and then spreads out from there. It is not about the face you put on when you need to but that which you truly carry in your heart and live and breathe daily. I enjoy Dr. Maya Angelou’s words. The few times I have watched her on TV and in reading her books that are in my own library. She is a person of concern and of caring. She is trying to do her part in her corner of the world for all of humanity. It is for each of us to try and do likewise where we are in the world.

“My great hope is to laugh as much as I cry; to get my work done and try to love somebody and have the courage to accept the love in return.” Maya Angelou

So I end another morning as I have now for some time till everyone listens to Dr. Angelou’s thoughts that ring in my heart today let me repeat this last quote one more time.

“My great hope is to laugh as much as I cry; to get my work done and try to love somebody and have the courage to accept the love in return.” Maya Angelou

It brings tears to my eyes as I sit knowing I need to continue ending my daily meanderings as I have for so many years, please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your hearts and be sure to always give thanks namaste.

My family and friends I do not say this lightly,

Mitakuye Oyasin

(We are all related)

bird

Examining the threads of life

Bird Droppings January 5, 2021
Examining the threads of life

“Man did not weave the web of life he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.” Chief Seattle, 1854

It has been a few years since I read a National Geographic article where the lead in photo was a superimposed image of goats hanging from spider webs. Genetic engineering was in the process of producing in goat milk the proteins from spider silk webbing. Spider web silk happens to be one of the strongest natural occurring fibers known to man. The biggest problem being there is not much of it. On some mornings as I go out to sit and think many issues are pressing it may be a busy day ahead, or a paper due later electronically, or papers to grade. I generally start my morning listening through the darkness I could hear birds rustling through the bushes trying to find the feeders and whatever other great creatures haunt our back yard. A car alarm broke the semi silence and was quickly silenced more than likely someone rolled over and as I do often accidentally hit remote panic button.

Rain and cold will be returning to the area and although warm temperatures during the day my aching body can feel the weather change. I seem every morning to check for a sunrise to the east today I am alone and the center of my world on most mornings. On some mornings, when temperatures allow, silken strands find their way from grass stem to weed stem literally covering hundreds of feet. It is an interconnecting web of life. Perhaps that is what drew me to this statement from Chief Seattle. So often we go about life as being the center of the universe only seeing that all revolves around us. In medieval times this was the cause for much debate being that to them man the center of all that is. I find it amazing that civilized people have a difficult time with this. In most indigenous cultures more primitive people see themselves as merely a cog a thread in a great machine or web of life. It is modern man who sees themselves as the center of all.

“This we know; the earth does not belong to man; man belongs to the earth. This we know. All things are connected like the blood which unites one family. All things are connected” Chief Seattle, 1854

There is much controversy as to actual words spoken by Chief Seattle. Some say the translation written by a friend was not truly what was said and since recording devices were in their infancy and only transcribed translations are available we are left with the words as they are. It is said many were moved to tears as he spoke these words. So many times, as I sat outside my room observing students and teachers pass by, I saw many view life from the center not as a part of all that is.

“That destiny is a mystery to us, for we do not understand when the buffalo are all slaughtered, the wild horses are tamed, the secret corners of the forest heavy with the scent of many men and the view of the ripe hills blotted by talking wires. Where is the thicket? Gone. Where is the eagle? Gone. The end of living and the beginning of survival.” Chief Seattle, 1854, these lines are attributed to early 20th C. historian and ethnographic writer, A. C. Ballard added after many years

I was intrigued as different versions of Chief Seattle’s speech seem to be recorded. There is one version that has even been suggested as having been written for Hollywood and a movie. I read the end of the speech which is the line above and perhaps Mr. Ballard did add these lines many years later but the last line interested me. “The end of living and beginning of surviving”. How far have we come in civilization to go from living off the land to trying and surviving on it? Back in the day not that long ago a family could live and do well on a small farm raising what they needed how fast quickly things changed. I recall a scene from a recent movie “The Missing”. A farm family in the west raising horses and cattle the oldest daughter goes to town to see all the new-fangled contraptions to make life easier, at a fair. Perhaps it is here we changed from living to surviving. Was it when we stopped making what we needed and started buying things to make life easier?

Soon we needed things to do with time freed up and leisure become a major part of our day. Interesting how we now need to make more income to enjoy our leisure and surviving becomes more than just food and clothing but being able to afford having a “good” time. The film was about a clash between old and new in some ways in old faith and new science. There was the under lying clash of change from living to surviving and from freedom to dependency.

“We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.” Mother Teresa

It is hard to feel at times that what we do is of significance perhaps never noted in meetings or from friends but each step each whisper each smile is carefully noted down by someone and it is meaningful to that person as they go through life. How many thousands of times did Mother Theresa feel like that drop in the ocean as she held the hand of a leper in a back street of Calcutta. How much easier and safer is it for some of us to live our lives as we do not pay attention from one point to another.

“Oneness is all inclusive. Nothing nor no one is exempt; that is the way it always has been; that is the way it is; and that is the way it always will be.” Chief Seattle

We are all connected, intertwined and each a piece of the web, a thread, a drop and yet all meaningful pieces to this great puzzle of life. Please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your heart and always give thanks namaste.

My family and friends I do not say this lightly,

Mitakuye Oyasin

(We are all related)

bird

Sitting thinking of a circle

Bird Droppings January 4, 2021

Sitting thinking of a circle

I am looking through various providers of shows, movies and miniseries for a series I really enjoyed, Into the West. I will find it one of these days. The series starts and ends with a circle of stones with a line going east to west and one going north to south through the circle. In the back area of our yard we have been off and on building a memory garden. It is basically a rock garden with numerous succulents and sedums planted among the rocks that are special to us. The garden when finished will be a circle. Each quadrant has a space which eventually will be filled with young trees. A Japanese cedar was given to us when my wife’s father passed away by my friends at the high school and now stands nearly forty foot tall. A Live Oak honors my father at the opposite side as we finish our project hopefully one day. We side tracked with a rock garden pond, planted with sedums and various other plants, some aquatic.

“You have noticed that everything as Indian does is in a circle, and that is because the Power of the World always works in circles, and everything tries to be round….. The Sky is round, and I have heard that the earth is round like a ball, and so are all the stars. The wind, in its greatest power, whirls. Birds make their nest in circles, for theirs is the same religion as ours…. Even the seasons form a great circle in their changing, and always come back again to where they were. The life of a man is a circle from childhood to childhood, and so it is in everything where power moves.” Black Elk Ogallala Sioux Holy Man

It has been over fifty years since I wrote a short poem of shorts. At that time perhaps, it was self-analysis or a self-description, “One little circle – alone – unopened”. It has been nearly twenty years since I headed towards Piedmont College to start my graduate studies and I thought is the circle alone, and or unopened. I had grown very close to the people in my cohort. As I attended graduate school I found I became a much better teacher as I became a better student. Henry David Thoreau was a teacher until he realized he must be a learner first. He needed to be a student again and in doing so he became a better teacher.

As I look at the circle I have in my own education and it is only the beginning not the ending and the circle of friends and fellow learners in my cohort at Piedmont and now as I continued my education at Georgia Southern and the teachers at my various schools all touch unto that circle and in effect keep it spinning and evolving. Black Elk an Ogallala Sioux holy man using nature to define this circle nearly a hundred years ago and Follow the Buffalo, holy man of the movie series “Into the West”, who was sitting in the sacred circle in the North Dakota hills throughout the movie addressed the white man with various other characters. My son once told me of a circle’s definition in geometric terms borrowing from Wikipedia.

“In Euclidean geometry, a circle is the set of all points in a plane at a fixed distance, called the radius, from a fixed point, called the centre.” Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

As I sit here thinking pondering my circle has grown and furthering my education. My circle includes all I have met, emailed, talked with in grocery stores, schools, colleges and numerous other places around the world. The circle continues and grows with each step, each word, each sensation and each breath I take while I am privileged to live. Please as you think about your own circle keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your hearts and to always give thanks.

My family and friends I do not say this lightly,

Mitakuye Oyasin

(We are all related)

bird

Why there should be no teasing?

Bird Droppings January 3, 2021
Why there should be no teasing?

“Before you speak, ask yourself, is it kind, is it necessary, and is it true, does it improve on the silence?” Hindu proverb

So often I speak first and clean up afterwards many times simply walking away quite generally leaving whoever I am conversing with confused and bewildered. Having a long week ahead and hoping to get some serious writing in later today I was cleaning up my email when I found one from a dear friend from nearly twenty years ago. It was the first one of that day and was about a subject we both were deeply involved with working with high school students.

My friend was a youth leader here in Atlanta area and an organic gardener as it goes several years back we discussed teasing and its effects on children. How what is said can often be more potent than any physical contact especially with teenagers. My friend offers this check on teasing and three things to look for.

“I have always said you recognize “teasing” if three things are present: There is a shred of truth to what is said, someone has their feelings hurt, you wind up saying …’I was only teasing’. We can’t take those moments back and they are often some of those life changing moments, often not for the “good” Yea, we humans need a 10 second delay like TV so we can adjust what we say…sure would make for a kinder world.”

With another Superbowl around the corner for those of you old enough to recall I wonder if Janet Jackson would take her ten seconds back from that Superbowl slip up.

“Jests that give pains are no jests.” Miguel de Cervantes

As I was wandering about the internet I came upon a website for The Center for Effective Parenting, they offer information for parents and often that same information can be totally applicable to teachers as well. We as teachers often see children for more hours awake than parents do sadly. The Center for Effective Parenting, offers a possible guide:

“Parents should try to find out from their children some specifics. For example, parents should try to find out what the teasing is about, who is doing the teasing, where the teasing is occurring, how their children have reacted to different episodes and what occurred afterwards. Parents should try to keep track of such information for a few days to find out what precipitates teasing, if there are things their children may be doing to encourage teasing, and if there seems to be some pattern to it.” TCEP, website

“Teach appropriate responses, ignore it, develop a quick tongue, Practice, provide lots of love and encouragement, Discuss it with teacher or day care provider” Kristen Zolten, M.A. and Nicholas Long, PhD, Department of Pediatrics, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

As I look at the expert’s rationale it is a simple ABC’s, the Antecedent, Behavior and Consequence scenario which I have brought up many times in looking at behavior. As I was reading this morning and thinking about zero tolerance for bullying that is in effect for most schools I came upon an interesting website, author and ideas.

“Every minute spent in school handling interpersonal problems is a minute taken away from education. Students are all-too-eager to get away from academics. When they discover their teacher is willing to stop what he’s doing to deal with social problems, it is child’s play to fill up the school day with problems.” Izzy Kalman, Bullies to Buddies

As I think back to my own teaching style I redirect, ignore often and comeback. Very seldom do I slow down to let teasing take the fore front. Izzy Kalman borrows heavily from old adage of “Sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never hurt me”. Kalman takes an opposite view to many educators in that aggression is not learned but genetic. It is an active part of the human condition and so should be dealt with in that manner. Many books and articles and doctorial theses have been written about bullying and teasing. The TABS, which is the Teasing and Bullying survey is produced by The Mental Research Institute and can be a good resource and tool for teachers and parents.

As I sit here pondering listening to the water running in my aquarium by the window and R. Carlos Nakai on the seven-note cedar flute hauntingly playing on my hearing aids which on most days I can crank up a bit louder than normal while at home. This issue of bullying is real it is in us and maybe far too often we sidestep and look away as kids tease each other.


I look back to that first statement from so many thousands of years ago, “Before you speak, ask yourself, is it kind, is it necessary, is it true, does it improve on the silence?” We can choose what we say that is not genetic that is learned and an active ongoing behavior subject to ABC. We can set an example for children, and that too is learned and not genetic. So, in effect if we sat an example can we change the world and maybe through natural selection down through time do away with teasing and bullying. Research is still out but I am still willing to put in an effort. Please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your heart and regardless of your political followings there are people hurting and dying in Haiti who need our prayers and help and always give thanks namaste.

My family and friends I do not say this lightly,

Mitakuye Oyasin

(We are all related)

bird

Trying not to trip on a grain of sand on the first day of a new year

Bird Droppings January 1, 2021

Trying not to trip on a grain of sand on the first day of a new year

I was so remarkably close to starting this day with the title of Bentley, however as I thought further some might elude that nomenclature to a rather pricey car. It was an old post on Facebook from a former student about moving and she needed help cleaning her apartment that got me on Bentley. Many years back I had a swimmer on the high school swim team. This was nearly twenty years ago and before I became founder of the INWTCSTA society (I never want to coach swim team again), I met a young lady. She had two sisters and at that time well that is another story. However she mentioned her youngest sister was in ninth grade and was a hand full, always getting into trouble. Next day as my coincidences go I met her in the hall standing with an assistant principal being written up for a dress code violation and talking back. As the years went on both she and her sister had numerous dress code issues. They had the blonde and black hair styles before anyone else knew about it and always a little too short of skirt or one too many piercings.

As the years went on the two older sisters graduated and I was left with that ninth grader who really had a temper at times. It seems she was constantly in ISS, in school suspension. It wasn’t long till near about every day she ends up in my sanctuary, my old class room studying or using the computers, often she would be asked to leave by her teachers. Finally as her senior year was coming up she was frustrated and went the route of home schooling through a local program and graduated ahead of schedule. I recall running into her a local mall and she was due to have a baby. She is told me she was naming her little boy to be Bentley. I remember thinking and wondering as youngsters have children how it will impact them. So now years later I am not at all concerned about it, she is an awesome mom with a great son. She is still taking everything in stride and not losing sight of her goals ahead working as a costume designer for the movie industry in Georgia.

“It isn’t the mountain ahead that wears you out – it’s the grain of sand in your shoe.” Robert Service

Over the years I have seen similar quotes several from Zen writings. Robert Service best known as the Yukon poet was quite a character having lived the length and breathe of Canada. As we tend to do so often in life we end up floundering on the small things. So often how we see things affects what we do and how we do it. For many years I have been of the persuasion that life is presenting itself moment by moment, the puzzle is slowly falling in place each piece one at a time. So often many people get locked in on a piece and not the whole final picture. They become limited in where and when and why.

I recall a puzzle several years ago. An artist designed the ultimate puzzle. It was white on both sides no real edges as it was an odd shape, with pieces that were very similar and yet each piece only had one place it would work. The solving of the puzzle was even quite impossible and an award was offered of $1,000,000.00 to the first person to solve this puzzle was offered. The problem was you would get so involved in each literally similar piece and could not see a whole, and without a context to work with the content went nowhere. I have said something similar about education so many times.

“If you don’t know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else.” Yogi Berra

Sometimes I wonder if in education we forget Yogi’s words, we get so caught up in the grain of sand we forget where we are going or do not know to begin with but still try and go. We end up some place else totally and often alien.

“Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.” Stephen A. Brennan

Several happenings yesterday offered me ideas for today; one was listening to a former student make a comment about staying in school to get a high school diploma, so he wouldn’t have to work at a fast food restaurant all his life. Another was another former student who had quit school in ninth grade, home schooled and was coming back, and she missed socialization and found every job application had a check box for high school graduate.

“The person with a fixed goal, a clear picture of his desire, or an ideal always before him, causes it, through repetition, to be buried deeply in his subconscious mind and is thus enabled, thanks to its generative and sustaining power, to realize his goal in a minimum of time and with a minimum of physical effort. Just pursue the thought unceasingly. Step by step you will achieve realization, for all your faculties and powers become directed to that end.” Claude M. Bristol

As I worked in Special Education, we wrote IEP’s for student’s, Individual education plans. In those plans were goals. Often they can be meaningless; seven out of ten times, seventy percent the student will not talk back to the teacher. Fortunately most students do not read their goals. I could envision a smart kid sitting there with paper and pencil keeping data just as EBD teachers do. Thinking to themselves, ok I talked back twice today out of six times I spoke with my teacher I will save up for later and be nice for a while. So just before the bell this students hammers the teacher and the teacher starts to write a referral and this wise student pulls out their goal sheet and says I am only meeting my goals, seven out of ten times I did not talk back, so you cannot write me up. I am mastering my goals.

“I learned that, before you reach an objective, you must be ready with a new one, and you must start to communicate it to the organization. But it is not the goal itself that is important.” Jan Carlzon

“One day Alice came to a fork in the road and saw a Cheshire cat in a tree. Which road do I take? She asked. Where do you want to go? Was his response. I don’t know, Alice answered. Then, said the cat, it doesn’t matter.” Lewis Carroll

Perhaps where I see the issue is the student is one hundred percent in compliance with a mastery of only seventy percent. If I graded daily on mastery that student gets an A for the day barely passing, you learn quickly seventy percent is all you need to achieve most goals and once learned that is difficult to get rid of. Why not have a goal that states, a student will not talk back to teacher and will be evaluated daily by a self-check rubric, now seventy percent means seventy percent and the student is totally responsible for actions.

“The goal you set must be challenging. At the same time, it should be realistic and attainable, not impossible to reach. It should be challenging enough to make you stretch, but not so far that you break.” Rick Hansen

So often in education we run around with buckets if sand and keep filling our shoes, and never ever get to even see the mountain we are forever cleaning the grains of sand out one at a time. As Robert Service stated, “It isn’t the mountain ahead that wears you out, it’s the grain of sand in your shoe.” However what if we carefully remove that grain and start building a sand castle, every mountain started as a grain of sand. Please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your hearts and always give thanks namaste.

My family and friends I do not say this lightly,

Mitakuye Oyasin 

(We are all related)

bird

Why am I looking for data in a data-less environment?

Bird Droppings December 31, 2020
Why am I looking for data in a data-less environment?

I read earlier this morning a dialogue of sorts from a young man who is currently serving in the military. He is trying to decide on his future as he pieces together in his dialogue options and possibilities not just in his immediate moments but days ahead and in the process asking for suggestions and thoughts on the various options he presents. It was interesting reading and moving through his process of elimination and multiple choice responses almost while in the first person from a differing view analytical and calculating. Essentially his process was taxonomy of job futures. If then this and if that then this. I began to think back to my own choice nearly twenty years ago to return to teaching after a twenty plus year vacation away.

“I’d rather be a failure at something I enjoy than a success at something I hate.” George Burns

I could easily wager most of you have never seen George Burns on TV or in a movie but then he only recently in the past few years passed away at 100 years old. George Burns and Gracie Allen were a husband and wife comedy team staple dating back to vaudeville. Gracie passed away many years ago and George continued acting in films and on the stage for many years always with his trade mark cigar in hand.

“It’s simply a matter of doing what you do best and not worrying about what the other fellow is going to do.” John R. Amos

Several years back I designated my class room name as SUCCESS 101 in a joking sort of way. Yet for some students being a success is a unique proposition. Cheering on all students in school has become a passion for me, coaching, leading, guiding students to succeed on tests and papers and to eventually graduate from high school has become my mission in life.

“The person who tries to live alone will not succeed as a human being. His heart withers if it does not answer another heart. His mind shrinks away if he hears only the echoes of his own thoughts and finds no other inspiration.” Pearl S. Buck

Perhaps I am passing by Mr. Burns original point it is not simply success that is important. Mr. Amos adds “doing what you do best” and community is added by Ms. Buck noted anthropologist and student of humanity. It isn’t only about success it is being happy and finding joy within what you do.

“Success is important only to the extent that it puts one in a position to do more things one likes to do.” Sarah Caldwell

“Real joy comes not from ease or riches or from the praise of men, but from doing something worthwhile.” Pierre Coneille
Even on days when you could swear a full moon is out and students are on the verge of perhaps somewhat less than, approaching that point that would bring sweat to your brow it should still be fun. You know what, it is still fun in all of it even when nothing seems right and then is still right, and it still should be fun. When you can have joy and happiness in what you do then you are finding success, regardless of whatever assessment tool or what others think. When a student wants to come to class when a student will rather stay in class doing what they do not want to do or so they say they do not then maybe just maybe success is near.

“Occasionally in life there are those moments of unutterable fulfillment which cannot be completely explained by those symbols called words. Their meanings can only be articulated by the inaudible language of the heart.” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

It has been a while since sitting in a research class and listening to an instructor explain about evaluative measurement and how data is something you can see and measure. Also adding that touchy feely stuff while possibly existing cannot be adequately measured. I was thinking to myself one of the greatest aspects of humanity is touch, it is that no measurable quality that we innately have within ourselves of feelings of the touchy feely. Can we truly measure happiness or joy or better yet that Jungian term synchronicity? Many years ago the two partners split over measurability of science versus “the touchy feely”. Jung knew something else existed that affected human nature something beyond Freud’s measurable data. He spent his life looking and defining that aspect of humanity and as Dr. King offers in his quote “the inaudible language of the heart” may be that aspect.

“Warm weather fosters growth: cold weather destroys it. Thus a man with an unsympathetic temperament has a scant joy: but a man with a warm and friendly heart overflowing blessings, and his beneficence will extend to posterity” Hung Tzu-Cheng

What is in a man’s heart is what leads and drives a person forward in life and it is that aspect that guides our next step across the stream and keeps us from slipping on the wet rocks.

“When you have once seen the glow of happiness on the face of a beloved person, you know that a man can have no vocation but to awaken that light on the faces surrounding him; and you are torn by the thought of the unhappiness and night you cast, by the mere fact of living, in the hearts you encounter.” Albert Camus

It wasn’t too long ago I offered up the experiment of smiling at people. Have you tried it? Simply decide to smile for a day and then look at responses from people around you. Not just smiling and grinning or staring at people, but a sincere smile. You will be amazed at how people respond. More often than not people smile back and personally I would rather be around people smiling than frowning. I have used so many times this thought from Albert Einstein in my wanderings.

“The real difficulty, the difficulty which has baffled the sages of all times, is rather this: how can we make our teaching so potent in the motional life of man, that its influence should withstand the pressure of the elemental psychic forces in the individual? “ Albert Einstein

Freud and Jung have split many scientist and teachers, those who want to have a measurable commodity to focus on and as Einstein quotes there is human nature to contend with. So how do we make our lessons so potent as to withstand the pressure of the measurable how do we take the immeasurable and find substance in it? Can we measure heart? Can we find a way to understand why we respond beyond empirical data? Maybe one day we will and all of Jung’s searching will be not have been in vain. Until then the journey continues keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your hearts namaste.

My family and friends I do not say this lightly,
Mitakuye Oyasin
(We are all related)
bird

Venting a bit on a Wednesday morning

Birddroppings December 30, 2020

Venting a bit on a Wednesday morning

I wrote yesterday and was going to be lazy today to get ready for holiday. I have not been feeling well and spending a lot of time resting. I did test negative for COVID-19 again so that was a relieve. Last night and this morning I read several alarming posts on various friend’s pages. I followed links and they led to para military groups discussing declaring a civil war. Another older link was supposedly about former President Obama forcing Trump into declaring Marshall Law in December with no information just a title and graphic. This same link led to another about how the white race would be gone in twenty five years. I read all the comments about our former President being a communist and socialist and my response is, neither socio-economic system is even closely being approached in this country. 

We are in super over drive capitalism here in the US, greed rules above all else. We have highest stock market and biggest difference between wealthy and the rest of us ever in the history of our country.  Granted the great income difference is what Marx saw and wrote about as he pondered communism. However our government and that is both parties continues the process that maintains that the elite few tend to govern. Oil companies, defense contractors, pharmaceuticals, insurance and banking are booming in profits. That’s not communism and or socialism. The recent election is a good example. Now with the balance of power changing much of the budget being suggested by the current ruling party impacts the very people who voted them in cutting social security, tax credits, child care deductions etc. are all in suggested budget of various members of congress and senate.

Better yet a desire to privatize Social Security and let an insurance company run it. Kind of like health insurance where top five health insurance carrier’s CEO’s are all paid in excess of 15 million a year each plus bonuses.  Taking away from any group of people is not socialism and or communism. I was told recently we are losing our freedoms and I asked which ones. Our freedom to not buy health insurance for an example was the reply. I offered than when you are sick cure yourself or pay your own bills. They asked you mean you would let me die and I said no you let yourself die. The worst post of the day was our highest turn out in years almost 160 million people voted and on black Friday almost that many went shopping that speaks to me more than then the idiotic posts and blogs about communism and socialism and civil war. As long as we get what we want we don’t care about anybody else. So I will borrow from Christian scripture.

Matthew 19:16 Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?” 19:17 “Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.” 19:18 “Which ones?” he inquired. Jesus replied, “‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, 19:19 honor your father and mother,’c and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’ ” 19:20 “All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?” 19:21 Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” 19:22 When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth. 19:23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. 19:24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” NIV

I am not one to use scripture often but so often those spouting all the innuendoes mentioned in various blogs above are using scripture. We could debate what is meant by this passage since it is framed by an ancient Hebrew commonly used expression for something difficult a camel through the eye of a needle, but I look more at the excess in our world and specifically in our country. No one cares about the environment, starving children, or few other things other than making a buck. The XL pipeline is a great example. There was a few years back a huge group of Koch industries employees 35,000 promoting it through phone calls and conversation. Koch Industries owns 1.5 million acres of tar sands in Alberta. The pipeline is not carrying oil to benefit us here in US it is already in plans to go to Asia predominantly China.

The tar sands have been out of the news due to cost of production and cheap world oil. Gas prices in US will not be impacted and why should they in a world of supply and demand price is based on who will pay the most we are bidding when we have paid over 4.00 a gallon with Chinese willing to pay more. Granted currently our gasoline is cheap and the US is exporting more oil and refined oil products than any time in the history of our oil industry. The revolution that needs to occur is not one of military/militia/vigilante/gangs but one of people who care about others. Interesting note tar sands oil is losing money if oil is under 80.00 a barrel as it is now and pipeline is literally not even needed.

“Non-violence is the greatest force at the disposal of mankind. It is mightier than the mightiest weapon of destruction devised by the ingenuity of man.” Mahatma Gandhi

Please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your hearts and always give thanks namaste.

My friends I do not say this lightly,

Mitakuye Oyasin 

(We are all related)

bird

Why is seeking peace so difficult?

Bird Droppings December 29, 2020
Why is seeking peace so difficult?

Around the world armies are moving as I write. There are missiles are being aimed and tanks rolling. War is a profit driving machine for industry and sadly more so about money than ideology. I have always been against war and always have felt there are other ways to solve issues.

“In this week of great destruction, we must each choose what road we are to walk and live. The road of destruction is war, it has always been so. The road of creation is deeper and more complicated; it has always involved forgiveness, love, light, prayer, and spirit. In these new millennia we have a chance to change the way we see other beings to one of connectedness and unity. We have a chance to let go of the ancient ways of war and conflict, of who is right, of being better, of senseless killing. This week has thrown us back on the old model of the last millennia.” Michael Samuels M.D. and Mary Rockwood Lane, PhD, Path of the Feather

I miss being in the Foxfire class during the summer months. Although in my current dissertation writing mode writing, research and reading is hours a day. However there is something about spending 24 hours a day with other teachers discussing education and learning that is significant. Thinking back during one moment of time between classes and meetings I happen to be sitting in at an Ingles Store in North Georgia which happened to have a Starbucks. A young gentlemen walked by with two peace symbols tattooed on his calf. It caught my attention and got me thinking back to several summers ago when I was driving up to this same spot to visit the Foxfire museum I watched seven people marching for peace in the small town of Clayton, Georgia. My writing today started with a few lines from a Navaho prophecy edited by Dr.’s Samuels and Rockwood. In my own searching reading and writing so often the contrast of peace versus war comes up, as does so many dualities in our world.

“The three hardest tasks in the world are neither physical feats nor intellectual achievements, but moral acts: to return love for hate, to include the excluded, and to say, ‘I was wrong’.” Sydney J. Harris

For many Sydney J. Harris is simply an old forgotten columnist from by gone days when people happen to actually read hardcopy. I frequently use quotes from his essays and columns. His words are powerful and I thank a dear friend from nearly twenty years ago for showing me his work. Often as I find articles he wrote from the sixties and seventies and I wonder why I missed them then. I am reminded often it was not the time, as I make reference to my Jungian philosophy and orientation. All of the pieces were not in place at that time for me to understand to recognize what it was he is saying. In my emails and communications often I see misunderstanding and ignorance, myself included. I recall a friend writing from his heart and others only could criticize and or turn away and not understand, so often not even reading the words.

“The two words ‘information’ and ‘communication’ are often used interchangeably, but they signify quite different things. Information is giving out; communication is getting through.” Sydney J. Harris

“An idealist believes the short run doesn’t count. A cynic believes the long run doesn’t matter. A realist believes that what is done or left undone in the short run determines the long run.” Sydney J. Harris

Sitting here most mornings it is so easy to formulate solutions and fantasize a world free from strife and turmoil and I as I write this morning sitting at home in my writing area having read the current news, talk of new troop deployments in Yemen which are hinted from Saudi Arabia my heart sinks. But then I walk away from my computer and wonder what is it we are trying to do in the world. Tomorrow morning a big sale at one of the local department stores, with the early bird sale masses of humanity will line up to get the best deals and gasoline will still be artificially high so our wonderful gas company’s profits can recoup several years of cheap gas and to bolster or hinder the economy, depending on whose view you take.

I often wonder who came up with thinking like that in any other business sooner or later someone would see the ridiculous, it has been nearly ten years that Exxon just about each quarter has the highest profits ever in one headline and on another gasoline is at its highest ever, such an interesting parallel we seem to miss. A good point however at least someone is thinking with the high court decisions made this week and as our Supreme Court judges slowly age, a poll was taken as to what type of judge should replace any who should step down. Most now want a moderate there are still a few wanting conservatives and only about a quarter want a liberal. Somewhere there was an extra three percent I am assuming they were undecided.

“Democracy is the only system that persists in asking the powers that be whether they are the powers that ought to be.” Sydney J. Harris

That simple reminder from Harris needs to come up every day. I am excited to be at home today with our son, his wife and our grandbaby visiting from North Carolina. It is always good to wake up to a new morning and be able to go watered my herb garden. We each need to look at our pathway and see which direction we are going. Looking back at the first quote are we choosing the path of destruction or of creation as the Navaho say. My dear friends please keep all in harm’s way on your minds and in your hearts and always give thanks namaste.

My family and friends I do not say this lightly,

Mitakuye Oyasin

(We are all related)

bird

Looking in the direction to start the morning

Bird Droppings December 28, 2020
Looking in the direction to start the morning

“Beginnings start in the east – from where the sun rises, we begin a new dawn. Each day is a good new day with a fresh beginning, a new start. East is the direction of the physical body and newness including children and newborns. It is the time of change for all is a new beginning, new ideas and seeing the light. The color yellow is the path of Life, to begin the walk as a warrior, to shine in all that you do. The sun rising in the east empowers each of us. The energy to do and to begin the action of the mind and heart is there. Animals of wings and flight are from the east include the hummingbird, the owl, and the hawk. Our words are given to the east that the smoke in the air or the voices in the air may be carried to Spirit.” Tree Song

I was outside much earlier this morning and driving around taking pictures of the sunrise. I had been showing low tire pressure as the cold came in and had to have an adjustment in my car computer.  Before I walked out I was listening to the sounds of morning in a spot I where I have been sitting now for nearly sixteen years in our backyard facing an open field. Many sounds are just beginning to awaken as the sunrises each morning. The stillness and solitude of early morning on some occasions is sometimes off in a distance broken by a rooster calling or generally more likely starters for the morning are crows and mockingbirds. Today it was a mockingbird that came to visit as I sat listening and watching the sun come up. It has been some time since I have heard a rooster crow from my door step.

“Sioux Morning prayer – Let your voice whisper righteousness in our ears through the East Wind at the break of day. Let us be blessed with love for all our brothers & sisters on Earth so we may truly live in peace. Let us have good health mentally & physically to solve our problems and accomplish something for future generations. Let us be sincere to ourselves and make the world a better place to live. Aho Mitakuye Oyasin” Unknown Author Traditional Sioux prayer

The Sioux end prayers and meditations with the phrase, Aho Mitakuye Oyasin, which means, All My Relations. Many will questioned or wonder why end with such a vague phrase? But to the Indian all about is part of who they are and it is to all that they offer this Morning Prayer or thought. I did not write the past two days as I got caught up playing and enjoying time with my granddaughter. Watching Finding Nemo a million times, searching for a very specific stuffed animal, making smoothies and basically just doing things a three year old enjoys wears an old man out and I succumbed to fatigue about nine last night. I went home sat and watched a downloaded movie for about an hour and fell asleep so I could get an earlier start today. While I did not write this past weekend till this afternoon I posted and shared several items. I kept in touch so to say.

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” Henry David Thoreau

Nearly five years ago my mother gave me a copy of her notes on my growing up childhood years. One is a story of how when very small around three years of age I ran away. I actually only went across the street into the woods. I will offer the entire story one day but since I was young I have enjoyed the solitude of the woods and nature. Most recently in another dream I was again on that same path leading to a small cave where a medicine man was sitting. There have been many times in the various pathways of my life where I would find places to go and be alone with nature. Seldom have I been confined long in a place where I cannot escape to the calls of the wild and sunrise. Recently a friend posted photos of Cumberland Island which lies along the Georgia Coast and is protected. It is considered a wilderness area and off limits to most exploitation. Sunrise on Cumberland with no one for miles can be pretty spectacular. You must camp on the island however to see a Cumberland sunrise which I have had the pleasure several times. While I started with the east today it is about the word direction that I am writing.

“I am always doing things I can’t do; that’s how I get to do them.” Pablo Picasso

I raised the question of purpose recently with a former student and in an email last night an idea had me thinking. A dear friend said four people had raised the issue of purpose in life recently and she is going through a time now seeking her purpose. Before I went out I wrote back to her, for me it is not what is my purpose, as much as I have purpose and knowing you are significant in each aspect of what you do, borrowing from the Sioux again, Aho Mitakuye Oyasin. Over the years I always thought I would one day open my eyes and see “My purpose” and I have come to understanding it is not a destination that is my purpose it is very much a journey.

It has been many years ago that I experienced a vision or a dream of a giant jig saw puzzle falling in place that sorted it out for me. I could not see the puzzle front every time I tried and look it would turn away revealing the gray backing. I had to be content to know it was falling in place piece by piece and each piece was more intricate than the last. As we seek direction on our journey as I thought and we have a powerful friend in our faith. Doors will open as they need to. I spent nearly two years sorting out where I was to go, working with indigent families and receiving enough barely to cover cell phone and mileage. A door opened in teaching and even then I was presented with tests. It was five times that my name was presented by a principal who wanted me teaching and four times I was turned down. On September 11, 2001 I was allowed to go back into teaching as a long term substitute.

I have used the illustration of a puzzle often over the years and throw the word purpose about every now and again. There is an aspect of our journey we are directly involved in and that is direction, which way are we facing as we take that next step.

“We stand now where two roads diverge. But unlike the roads in Robert Frost’s familiar poem, they are not equally fair. The road we have long been traveling is deceptively easy; a smooth superhighway on which we progress with great speed, but at its end lays disaster. The other fork of the road, the one less traveled by offers our last, our only chance to reach a destination that assures the preservation of the earth.” Rachel Carson

I was looking this morning for words dealing with direction each time I tried, mapping and directions came up. My oldest son finished his certification in GPS many years ago. He was working with an Environmental Science class at the high school mapping trees and positioning using GPS devices for a project and it hit me how so focused and reliant we have become on technology. We are at a point in our technology where we can ascertain that Sumatra moved 20 centimeters in the huge earthquakes of years past. But so often we have a hard time determining where we are going today let alone in life.

“The path of least resistance and least trouble is a mental rut already made. It requires troublesome work to undertake the alternation of old beliefs. Self-conceit often regards it as a sign of weakness to admit that a belief to which we have once committed ourselves is wrong. We get so identified with an idea that it is literally a “pet” notion and we rise to its defense and stop our eyes and ears to anything different.” John Dewey

I can always find a spot for a Dewey quote. Dewey is not the easiest read in the world, often his thoughts are in details we are not used too. Far too often teachers look for an easy fix to a complicated issue. In life far too many times we take the easy road.

“Instead of looking at life as a narrowing funnel, we can see it ever widening to choose the things we want to do, to take the wisdom we’ve learned and create something.” Liz Carpenter

“You don’t have to buy from anyone. You don’t have to work at any particular job. You don’t have to participate in any given relationship. You can choose” Harry Browne

For many they see life as a funnel, a narrowing down rather than a spreading out. It has been many years since I walked the Appalachian Trail in North Georgia. Often when walking up a mountain, there are switch backs that would be used rather than a direct ascent. A switch back is a path that cuts back and forth up the mountain rather than straight up, and with a heavy pack a direct route is often impossible. In physics displacement is the straight line distance between two points few could do that in the mountains.

“The way to activate the seeds of your creation is by making choices about the results you want to create. When you make a choice, you activate vast human energies and resources, which otherwise go untapped. All too often people fail to focus their choices upon results and therefore their choices are ineffective. If you limit your choices only to what seems possible or reasonable, you disconnect yourself from what you truly want, and all that is left is compromise.” Robert Fritz

So often in life it is the first step, or that opening of the door is so difficult. When I did go back to teaching, I could have stopped at first rejection. I applied at five or six schools. I was not certified, and in order to get provisional certification you have to be employed, an interesting paradox. For some reason a principal thought I might work out and kept pushing, and at the board meeting I was hired, then called back, my sister had been hired who I recommended and so I couldn’t work there. Then my name did not make a meeting and second effort was defeated and a third and fourth. Finally a teacher had a nervous breakdown and was out indefinitely and a long term sub was needed and eventually a teacher. The board made allowances for my sister and I started on September 11, 2001.
It was many months later when the principal was putting a list together that I was asked what day I started and I couldn’t remember, it was the week after labor day and a Tuesday because approval was needed on Monday. The first step is the roughest many times.

“You are the person who has to decide. Whether you’ll do it or toss it aside; you are the person who makes up your mind. Whether you’ll lead or will linger behind. Whether you’ll try for the goal that’s afar. Or just be contented to stay where you are.” Edgar A. Guest

“When we acknowledge that all of life is sacred and that each act is an act of choice and therefore sacred, then life is a sacred dance lived consciously each moment. When we live at this level, we participate in the creation of a better world.” Dr. Scout Cloud Lee

Dr. Lee is a motivational speaker, author of twelve books, a singer, song writer, University professor and former cast member of the survivor series on CBS. She was voted Outstanding Teacher of the Year at Oklahoma State University in 1980, and Oklahoma’s Outstanding Young Woman in American in 1980. In 2002, Lee was honored to carry the Olympic torch exemplifying the theme of “Light the Fire Within”. Perhaps this is a good place to stop today Guest states “you have to decide” and Dr. Lee offers “we participate in the creation of a new world”. I’ll end up with a line from an Aerosmith song

“Life is about the journey not the destination” Steven Tyler

Perhaps ending with a Steven Tyler quote is a good one since he is now one of the judges on American Idol. Maybe he will exemplify his song and provide direction for some young people on their journeys in life. So please my friends keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your heart and to always give thanks namaste.

My family and friends I do not say this lightly,

Mitakuye Oyasin

(We are all related)

bird