Trying to understand giving thanks, war and teaching

Bird Droppings November 24, 2011
Trying to understand giving thanks, war and teaching

I had a difficult time sleeping due to some sinus issues I have concerning the dry heat from our gas furnace. When I got up and started to walk around and downed a large mug of mate and black tea my head started to clear a bit and I began to wonder about this day we declare thank you for all about us. So many times as in days before I open news articles and look through emails before writing or even thinking about what I will be writing that given day. I made a few comments on several thoughts and proceeded to ponder today’s thought and ideas. As I looked through several posts and will be listening to family members argue the cons of the current administration this email with this thought struck me this morning.

“Thanksgiving Day, Americans across the country will sit down together, count our blessings, and give thanks for our families and our loved ones. American families reflect the diversity of this great nation. No two are exactly alike, but there is a common thread they each share. Our families are bound together through times of joy and times of grief. They shape us, support us, instill the values that guide us as individuals, and make possible all that we achieve. I’ll be giving thanks for my family for all the wisdom, support, and love they have brought into my life.

Today is also a day to remember those who cannot sit down to break bread with those they love; the soldier overseas holding down a lonely post and missing his kids, the sailor who left her home to serve a higher calling, the folks who must spend tomorrow apart from their families to work a second job, so they can keep food on the table or send a child to school.

We are grateful beyond words for the service and hard work of so many Americans who make our country great through their sacrifice. And this year, we know that far too many face a daily struggle that puts the comfort and security we all deserve painfully out of reach. So when we gather, let us also use the occasion to renew our commitment to building a more peaceful and prosperous future that every American family can enjoy.” President Barack Obama, 11/24/09

Words are simply words and how we hear and or read them again is then perception which is a learned and acquired factor. Somewhere along the way we developed and took into an account varying stimuli that led us to how we see the world. As I read again this short note of thanks from our current president good or bad, democrat or republican, black or white they struck a chord. There is so much we have in this world to give thanks for. Myself thankful I can at least breathe a breath of air through clogged passages for some today I am sure there is pain and sorrow. Dr. Michael T. Garrett in his writings discusses the theory of opposites. We need to have a balance in life which provides then definitive points for the other. Perhaps my growing up in Quaker Pennsylvania influenced my own thinking of pacifism and philosophical view of believing we do not need war. Yet around us worldwide strife is ongoing Thanksgiving day or not. It is inside of us we need to seek answers for our own understandings and acceptances of what we perceive within this world. Perceptions do change albeit not easily. But they can they are not engrained at birth but a learned and acquired commodity.

“Internal peace is an essential first step to achieving peace in the world. How do you cultivate it? It’s very simple. In the first place by realizing clearly that all mankind is one, that human beings in every country are members of one and the same family.” His Holiness the Dalai Lama

Within the passage is perhaps a key to humanities survival on this planet. It will never be done simply by who is most powerful, or who has the biggest guns and missiles. We must at some point accept others and understand others. As I read each morning and bits and pieces hit me my slant tends to be towards education and learning and I do see that there is a tremendous responsibility lying in the laps of teachers. Throughout the world teachers have daily more input into students lives than any other human being. As I finished a paper on technologies nearly a year or so ago I saw how impact on youth, actual human contact is dwindling daily.

“Preserve the fires in our hearts… Our world needs teachers whose fire can resist those forces that would render us less just, less humane, and less alive.” Sam M. Intrator and Megan Scribner, editors Teaching with Fire

I found this book several years ago on a Borders trip. The two editors have taken poetry that means something to teachers and with explanations from those teachers as to why this poem means so much created a book, Teaching with Fire. Over the years I have had similar questions asked. It has been only a few days since another a teacher asked me, had I ever hit my own children, and I said no. I was looked at funny, “you have never hit your children?” I in all honesty could not remember ever hitting my own children. Perhaps I have blocked out the dark side of my personality. Several weeks ago I was asked similar, your kids never hit you or your wife or did this or that, and again “no” was my answer then as well. “Well I guess you just are not normal” was the answer both times.

“Normal is not something to aspire to, it’s something to get away from.” Jodie Foster

As I wonder at how others see the world like Jodie Fosters thought. Several weeks ago when first asked about my children hitting me I asked my son on the way home what he thought about it and his response was “normal is what you are used too”. I thought back to a graduate school discussion of philosophy about Foucault and how he defines normal after he finishes defining abnormal.

“The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.” Albert Einstein

It is up to us somewhere and somehow we as teachers and parents must set an example to the children. Looking at various books such as, Teaching with fire, The Passionate Teacher, The language and thoughts of a child, and I see that surround me as I write, maybe answers are here. The answers are right among us, we are the answer. It is not some big secret. Several times over the past few years I have shared Dr. Nolte’s 1970’s idea of “Children Learn what they live”. I tried to use that with the discussion trying to explain to the teacher asking me about hitting my kids, and that teacher had a difficult time seeing the point.

“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

Looking back historically, Gandhi had a difficult time selling nonviolence, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had a difficult time selling nonviolence and both were killed for it.

“Man is not logical and his intellectual history is a record of mental reserves and compromises. He hangs on to what he can in his old beliefs even when he is compelled to surrender their logical basis.” John Dewey

As a teacher, the position I am in each day is one of being on a pedestal being watched seen by hundreds of students each day. As a parent seen by my children each day or when they are home from college or work. Each of us is seen and understood in context of perceptions and understandings of that moment. Over the past week while out of school and about I have seen several students wearing t-shirts that are banned in dress code rules, because of racial over tones. When you ask students why they wear t-shirts that are illegal, answers are always vague and noncommittal never because of race. One of my favorite is always “only shirt I had” so you will get kicked out of school for your shirt because it is the only one you had is my general response.
Two events several days ago made my day. The first a simple one, I made the comment I was pissed off at a student for something, another student said “Mr. Bird I never heard you cuss before”. Actually I do not swear and did not consider pissed off as swearing either, however in that person’s context it was. But the remark they never heard me swear is what caught my attention, I had been setting an example and did not even know it. The other comment came as an email. A remark as to my wisdom, I wrote back that wisdom is fleeting and only momentary, as you teach wisdom is transferred and soon you must learn more to be wiser.

“We must become the change we want to see.” Mahatma Gandhi

“When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative. The time is always right to do what is right.” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

We are the pathway and the direction and the example for others to see. Never should anyone question hitting another person and try to justify it. Never should a person even in a small way feel doing harm to another in any way is justifiable. As a teacher, parent, or friend go out and show in your life what is, normal. Running parallel through religions worldwide is a rule, a guide, a talisman for some just a thought, treat others as you wish to be treated. It is about Teaching with Fire, teaching with example. Learning what we live and trying to live it and see what impact can be made. Today as we all sit down please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your hearts. Harm is a large word and covers so many be it the passing or illness of a loved one, a friend overseas fighting a war for freedom, a relationship that is abusive, a child too hungry to raise their head, let us be thankful today and try and ease the harm in the world if only one kind act at a time.
namaste
bird

Teaching is far more than wanting to

Bird Droppings November 21, 2011
Teaching is far more than just wanting to

“I want to say one other challenge that we face is simply that we must find an alternative to war and bloodshed. Anyone who feels, and there are still a lot of people who feel that way, that war can solve the social problems facing mankind is sleeping through a great revolution. President Kennedy said on one occasion, “Mankind must put an end to war or war will put an end to mankind.” The world must hear this. I pray to God that America will hear this before it is too late, because today we’re fighting a war.” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

When I saw this quote earlier today it reminded me that wanting to in any endeavor is a powerful force. Yesterday a friend asked about the idea of wanting to teach and maybe I should write about that. As I am working on a paper while not on that subject it is about the art of learning and how we take away from kids that drive, that wanting to. Having taught in public school eleven years now and as a parent being involved for nearly twenty years or more in public schools I have seen many teachers who do not want to be teaching. For whatever reason they are there and how they impact kids is directly related to their lack of motivation for being a teacher far too many times. I just had to bold the following quote.

“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” William Arthur Ward

I was subbing during my planning period a few days back and ran into a paradox. On the wall a sign stating you earn respect and yet the teacher I was subbing for demanded respect from students. Several students had mentioned to me that fact about this teacher. Granted third party conversation, especially from students is not always the best. However I know many teachers who walk in a room and demand respect that think in being a teacher students should bow down and worship the ground they stand on. Granted in some cultures teachers are revered. However a teacher in that particular culture also has a different view of their teaching. When respect is demanded many students take offense and immediately back away. Some students as in the situation with one of my students become antagonistic and fight back and argue against demand. So how do we then inspire daily and weekly and monthly and for a lifetime as Ward states.

“Teacher’s Prayer: I want to teach my students how to live this life on Earth, to face its struggles and its strife and to improve their worth. Not just the lesson in a book or how the rivers flow, But how to choose the proper path wherever they may go. To understand eternal truth and know the right from wrong, and gather all the beauty of a flower and a song. For if I help the world to grow in wisdom and in grace, and then I shall feel that I have won and I have filled my place. . That I may do my part. For character and confidence and happiness of heart.” James J. Metcalf

I want to teach, a simple statement but a basis for all that then transpires in a classroom. Over the years I have read many books on education, learning and on teaching. One that has always been a good read and reread is The Passionate teacher by Robert Fried. There is a need for passion in teaching.

“One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings. The curriculum is so much necessary raw material, but warmth is the vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child.” Carl Jung

“Compassionate teachers fill a void left by working parents who aren’t able to devote enough attention to their children. Teachers don’t just teach; they can be vital personalities who help young people to mature, to understand the world and to understand themselves. A good education consists of much more than useful facts and marketable skills.” Charles Platt

Many disagree with my philosophy of teaching and walk by on the other side of the hallway so as to not be infected. I recall many years ago one teacher who would go an extra hall over to avoid coming by my room. Granted there are snakes and spiders and loud kids, maybe they are afraid of snakes. I often wonder what some people become teachers. Obviously it is a paying job, with relatively good benefits. Some teachers will say they were called it is almost a sacred mission for them. But those few who simple could not find anything else or thought they wanted to teach maybe should wander away to another field. I know of several teachers simply waiting to retire and collect their teacher retirement. I wonder is it a sacred mission?

“The future of the world is in my classroom today, a future with the potential for good or bad… Several future presidents are learning from me today; so are the great writers of the next decades, and so are all the so-called ordinary people who will make the decisions in a democracy. I must never forget these same young people could be the thieves and murderers of the future. Only a teacher? Thank God I have a calling to the greatest profession of all! I must be vigilant every day, lest I lose one fragile opportunity to improve tomorrow.” Ivan Welton Fitzwater

“There’s no word in the language I revere more than ‘teacher.’ My heart sings when a kid refers to me as his teacher, and it always has. I’ve honored myself and the entire family of man by becoming a teacher.” Pat Conroy, Prince of Tides

“If you plan for a year, plant a seed. If for ten years, plant a tree. If for a hundred years, teach the people. When you sow a seed once, you will reap a single harvest. When you teach the people, you will reap a hundred harvests.” Kuan Chung

Such a powerful tool is teaching for the betterment and or the fall of mankind. As I look at how we decide who teaches and who does not, and how we train teachers I wonder. Are we training for a hundred years or next year? Looking at government’s involvement it is short term. I find it interesting how in eastern thought so often it is beyond the now. Nearby in a community is the Church of the Now sort of paradoxical. We focus so much on short term goals and efforts. Reach this score now and or suffer the consequences. When independent data is finally compiled I think we will find NCLB, No Child Left Behind has left significant numbers behind. A great teacher here and there might change some of this. We need to change legislation, views about education, and views about learning.

“There is an old saying that the course of civilization is a race between catastrophe and education. In a democracy such as ours, we must make sure that education wins the race.” John F. Kennedy

Right now education is falling behind as we spend billions fighting several wars. I often find it interesting that John Kennedy wanted to pull out of Viet Nam, and Lyndon Johnson wanted to stay and continue. After Kennedy’s assassination Johnson did continue the war for a number of years and many deaths of Americans. Several of whom would have made great teachers I knew them personally.
In wanting to be a teacher, wanting to end a war, wanting to be a good parent, or wanting to be a friend, each requires of us to put in an effort. It takes an effort to be a great teacher, end a war, be a good parent, and be a good friend. It is how much beyond is where the wanting to fits in. You will know when you get there. It is a new day and I have many more pages to write and a much to do before heading to Macon Georgia tomorrow. I hope each of you as you prepare for the holiday coming has a joyous and glorious day. Please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your hearts.
namaste
bird

How do we measure a man or woman?

Bird Droppings July 19, 2011
How do we measure a man or woman?

So many times in life over the years I have seen and heard others talk of others both good and bad. In a high school rumors run rampant literally all the time. Gossip is a way of communicating for teenagers I believe. Over a summer a few years back I attended several funerals of family and friends. In two of the funerals the lives of the folks were what impacted all those in attendance and yes people were grieving and upset yet the influence and discussion of that person is what surmounted the grief. It was easy to measure those people through their lives.
I attended a teenager’s funeral and it was of a different nature more about religion and salvation than the child who was taken at such a young age. It has bothered me as I knew this young person. Back nearly four years ago during school days on a daily basis if she was in school she would stop by my room to talk. I have participated in several websites and blogs in memorial that have helped ease that void that was left after the funeral for so many and still is being used today. People were addressing the life and measure of this young person. As I read the comments left and notes added to the facebook and myspace sites I can see a wonderful person emerge, one that will impact others for many years.

“The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good.” Samuel Johnson

Several times I have pulled this quote out the past six years. It is a good one, a philosophy of life that truly presents a universal truth in a sense. When social status has no significance and means nothing to someone to a degree they will not let that be an issue in life, nor is it simply treating people as you would like to be treated. Doesn’t that sound familiar; literally every religion has that philosophy running through it. I have always found this to be an interesting concept.

“Ah, when to the heart of man was it ever less than treason to go with the drift of things to yield with a grace to reason and bow and accept at the end of a love or a season.” Robert Frost

“We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people.” Martin Luther King Jr.

Oh to often we sit back seeing and knowing what is right but not saying anything. We know we need to treat people differently than we do and just cannot seem to take the step or climb up and do it.

“To believe in something, and not to live it, is dishonest. It is easy enough to be friendly to one’s friends. But to befriend the one who regards himself as your enemy is the quintessence of true religion. The other is mere business. The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others. Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.” Mahatma Gandhi

As I sit thinking reading through various writers thinkers I always seem drawn to Gandhi, a simple man who in his simplicity changed a nation. From his thoughts sprang new ideas and a determination with the ideas and philosophies of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

“I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. “ Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

I have been trying for this summer to come up with something along that line, how can we judge man truly judge man. If we devoid ourselves of senses such as sight, hearing, and smell can we judge a man purely on character?

“I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything I will not refuse to do the something that I can do. – When we do the best we can, we never know what miracle is wrought in our life, or in the life of another.” Helen Keller

I have always felt strongly that of all the famous people I have read about perhaps today’s youth need to read more about this remarkable woman. She stood out among people and was recognized as a great individual beyond the fact she had overcome so many obstacles. She spoke in front of the powers of the world in her time yet never saw them or heard them. For those of you who do not know Helen Keller at a very young age due to an illness lost her sight and hearing. Later on down the line a book and then several movies addressed her life in “The Miracle Worker”.
Essentially the story goes how a teacher would not give in to a child with no sight or hearing who had basically become a spoiled brat. With her teachers help a great mind was opened to the world and, “we can never know what miracle is wrought in our life, (or more importantly) or in the life of another.” Take a moment this morning and review where you are in time, in life and step forward boldly offer a hand up if needed and do not be afraid to ask for that hand if you need it. Keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your hearts.
namaste
bird

Doc Bird’s Herb garden:

Simple Sensation
from Susanne Elliot LaCranda Ca.

Couple handfuls of lavender or rose petals (half this amount if dried)
1 cup fresh lemon juice
½ – ¾ cup honey or maple syrup

5 cups boiling water over herbs in a pan and cover – steep 10-15 minutes
Strain and add lemon juice and sweetner

Courage is more than an act it is living

Bird Droppings February 8, 2011
Courage is more than an act it is living
Today I was out and about much earlier than normal which got me off to a later writing and pondering time than usual. Traditionally I start each morning going through emails and checking blog sites for news. Over the past years a good friend up in Pennsylvania who has a few chickens as pets running about his yard and has immortalized them in his Chicken Dairies which he sends out nearly daily. As I was sitting thinking about the concept of courage I recalled one of his chickens King Calico and stories of this brave bantam rooster.
“A sad situation… Calico is so ostracized by the flock that he sleeps alone in the small original coop. I never re-affixed the door which was blown off in a recent windstorm, so he had to suffer in the big winter storm last night. I would love to anthropomorphize and say he merely doesn’t want to wake up the others when he gets up so early to patrol the yard, and likewise when he retires for the night after all the others are sleeping. But more likely, the rest don’t even like him. Perhaps it is something in his past. Even his favored son stays with his buddies at night.” Alan Gold
This entry in the Chicken Diaries was nearly five years ago and in it King Calico had recently been deposed by three younger roosters. But even in his solitude he still is the guardian of the flock. Granted courage is anthropomorphized by King Calico still vigilant after being pushed aside, but then again courage is a difficult word. We use it so loosely at times, oh yes he was courageous and or she has courage. But what are we really saying. What is courage?
Many years ago young Native American warriors to show courage in battle would ride into the enemy ranks and touch someone this was called counting coop. Some warriors carried coop sticks instead of spears and weapons and rather than kill an enemy from a distance or even close at hand having another witness the touch was the bravest act of all. An eagle feather symbolizing courage was the reward. There was a single feather for an act of courage.
I was thinking as I read my friends chicken dairies and having followed for quite a while now King Calico has stood up to foxes and coyotes, dogs and hawks, numerous predators protecting his flock seemingly never concerned for himself and even in the story above deposed still guarded the flock. Courage is without reward many times. I thought back many years to a little girl I worked with she was totally encircled with a body brace to protect her back as she was incapacitated with spina bifida. This is an opening in her spinal column and many times as was the case with her she was paralyzed from that point down. But she wasn’t stopped and while she could not walk she scooted using her arms every where and talked more than many kids her age sometimes too much. One thing I remember was she was always happy and this could be courage, a child’s simple courage.
I know of a young man from my county who in a car accident became a paraplegic and has been confined to a wheel chair since. Years back my father hired him as a consultant and he worked on various projects at our office. One day he came forward with an idea about running for Probate Judge in our county. The incumbent had been around quite some time and no one ever ran against him. It took courage to run for office in our county since back in the day politics wasn’t as dirty as it is today, it was filthy and it seriously took courage to run. This man went out campaigning in his wheel chair rolling around the county meeting folks and shaking hands. Amazingly bit by bit citizens were won over and he was elected. That was over twenty years ago and he is still our county probate judge unopposed now for all those years. Now that is courage but I can guarantee he would deny it.

“The courage of life is often a less dramatic spectacle than the courage of a final moment; but it is no less than a magnificent mixture of triumph and tragedy.”- John Fitzgerald Kennedy

I have looked at the various videos of JFK’s car riding through the streets of Dallas Texas numerous times on news and documentaries. I have read about Kennedy’s illnesses that nearly had him bedridden and he was in an open convertible riding through the streets of Dallas waving to the crowds. I drove by the spot when I was in school in Plano Texas in 1968 and I still wonder how courage is truly defined.

“A ‘No’ uttered from deepest conviction is better and greater than a ‘Yes’ merely uttered to please, or what is worse, to avoid trouble.” Mahatma Gandhi 20th century Indian spiritual & political leader

Mahatma Gandhi is another man who died because of and for his convictions. Many of us simply answer to eliminate the problem make it go away.

“A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

It is another day and another image I have seen so many times but there is an image of Dr. King I recall far more vividly standing on the steps of the Lincoln memorial and standing in front of so many people. There were people as far as the eye could see lining streets and every nook and cranny spreading out from his podium. Words came from his mouth carefully thought out and delivered. My father a professional speaker and teacher for so many years considers this one speech the most powerful sermon or speech ever given in his lifetime.

“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.” I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood. I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today.” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Delivered on the steps at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. on August 28, 1963

Courage is a definitive belief in ones self and ones abilities to over come obstacles. I was looking for an end to this days thought and found a Lindbergh quote buried deep in a series of quotes about courage perhaps this is what courage is truly about.

“Any coward can sit at home and criticize a pilot for flying into a mountain in a fog. But I would rather by far die on a mountainside than in bed.” Charles Lindbergh, First person to fly across the Atlantic Ocean solo

Today keep all in your thoughts that need to summon up their inner courage to make it through the day. Keep our leaders, friends, family members and all who are in harms way in your hearts and on your mind.
namaste
bird

Caregiving and cared for we need both

Bird Droppings January 17, 2011
Caregiving and cared for we need both

“To care and be cared for are fundamental human needs. We all need to be cared for by other human beings. In infancy, illness, or old age, the need is urgent and pervasive; we need caregiving, and we need the special attitude of caring that accompanies the best caregiving if we are to survive and remain whole.” Nel Noddings

Here on a day dedicated to a man who cared pondering the true aspects of caring and the impacts on the human condition. Dr. Nel Noddings discusses how we need to care and we also need to be cared for, both sides of the coin. It is not an either or situation. On the news this morning volunteers prepared a meal for twenty thousand homeless and working poor in Atlanta in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Hosea Williams who started a feed the hungry program in our major city. In that same news cycle two news commentators had been criticized for making violent comments in regards to other people. One made reference to shooting the founder of Wiki leaks in the head and the other in a panel discussion addressed reinvading Iraq for oil to keep the prices down.
Caring is not seeking war for oil especially so major oil companies can further profit. It is true the countries where the oil is located do reap fortunes from the pumping of oil but outside of Venezuela most oil is pumped, shipped, piped and processed by a select few large oil companies who have continually made significant profits while all other industries are losing money. Interesting as well is Iraq’s oil is now being pumped by mostly US companies who are making money. Another aspect left by the wayside when we pick on a country about oil prices is Wall Street where oil is a commodity traded and US investors are driving the price up or down depending on their profitability not our needs. Most oil is owned by investors not countries. Why do we not invade Wall Street and the stick exchange and stop auctioning commodities and dealing in the so often bogus paper of the stick market? This is not about caring other than for ones self.
I am amused on this day as I recall my father, a former Navy man, a die hard republican and he always voted straight republican on his ballot, telling me this was one of the greatest speeches he had ever heard. My father made his living with his booming voice and had addressed audiences across the globe. He had sat and listened too many of the greatest speakers of the twentieth century in various capacities. My father had lectured and had his message translated in nine or ten languages in nearly forty different countries. I kind of felt for him to say this very liberal southern pastor and black man had just delivered the most powerful speech of modern day was very significant. But I also always knew my father was a caring man about his family, friends, his life’s work, and all those he dealt with around the world.
I was only in eighth grade or so when Dr. King delivered his now famous speech at the Lincoln memorial in 1963. Now we honor the man with a holiday. Many will protest and have arguments that this day should not be a national holiday. I am not one of those. As I read the words and listen to the message in this powerful speech, it is not about racism it is about humanity it is about caring. In the past presidential campaigning Dr. King had been both talked about and commented on. Barrack Obama on a Sunday at Ebenezer Baptist Church, after being lectured by the Pastor that many other great men had spoken at this pulpit had these words to say.

“If Dr. King could love his jailor, if he could call the faithful who once sat where you do to forgive those who set dogs and fire hoses upon them, then surely we can look past what divides us in our time,” Barrack Obama, January 20, 2008, Ebenezer Baptist Church

I watch daily high school kids who still hold racism deep in their hearts. I read passages on student’s websites that talk of hatred and misunderstanding. I Have been in meetings with parents where comments such as “they work too hard and I cannot get a job” in regards to Hispanic construction workers. Racism is still in our society and in our communities. How do we as human beings on a day dedicated to a man who in his lifetime tried to end racism, approach and channel such bigotry and hatred. I wonder as I sit here with school starting back tomorrow after a month off due to holidays, snow and ice how we have come far yet still have so far to go.

“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.” I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood. I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today!” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Washington DC, August 23, 1963

Oh what a day it will be when we are judged by our character and not skin color. I have a dream as well borrowing from Dr. Noddings again, “we need the special attitude of caring that accompanies the best caregiving if we are to survive and remain whole” and as I sit and ponder please keep all in harms way on your minds and in your hearts.
namaste
bird