Can we add color to a gray world

Bird Droppings November 9, 2011
Can we add color to a gray world

In recent days I have been taking brilliant color photos and converting to duotones or simply black and white often with striking results. It was several nights back I had been having a series of vivid dreams or visions some might say. One in particular I was in a very repetitive series of images over and over looking for a solution. After several times waking up and falling right back to sleep and into this same over again dream it hit me. I was missing a simple piece to my puzzle in life.

“Never claim to know anything till you have experienced it.” Bear Heart, The Wind is my mother: The Life and teaching of a Native American Shaman

So much of what we teach in high school is third person and information and students never really gain an understanding because they never experience that bit or piece. It lacks relevance to them and becomes simply a moment in time.

“Stress is the body and mind’s response to any pressure that disrupts its normal balance. It occurs when our perceptions of events don’t meet our expectations and we don’t manage our reaction to the disappointment. As a response, stress expresses itself as resistance, tension, strain or frustration that throws off our physiological and psychological equilibrium, keeping us out-of-sync.” Doc Childre and Howard Martin, The HeartMath Solution

By chance I got into a discussion on perception a few days ago in with a graduate class. Amazing how we all seem to see the same world so differently. What my years of experience and learning see and what eighteen year olds limited years and even another person of my own age who has equally experienced life. Each of us has been different places, seen different things, and learned different methods and strategies in life.

“Cancer is my secret because none of my rivals has been that close to death and it makes you look at the world in a different light and that is a huge advantage.” Lance Armstrong

I remember waiting to here after my father was wheeled into surgery for stomach cancer we had been given the grim future by the surgeon just before he was taken in and were waiting as a family for news after. Amazing how the threat of death offers new perspective to life, it seems each second becomes so much more precious. Friends who have been in similar situations take a new outlook on life cherishing each moment as if it were the last.

“Do not say,” it is morning,” and dismiss it with a name of yesterday. See it for the first time as a newborn child that has no name.” Rabindranath Tagore

When the surgeon walked out and said this was the smallest tumor he had ever removed from a patients stomach and still paraphrased, with but. It was a relief, life though had been redefined within our family. Meaning to each moment had been altered and our perception of each new moment somewhat clearer.

“What you see and hear depends a good deal on where you are standing; it also depends on what sort of person you are.” C. S. Lewis

Our experiences and understandings and beliefs do have input and effect on our perception of each instant in our lives. They are sort of the filters we see and hear through and conversely understand through. I have a student who is extremely conservative and views everything as being altered to be politically correct. My student sees each item in their life as having been spun as in how the news media spins various news items. Many of us do as we watch news biased by opinion of the news broadcaster but I am amazed as I see one thing and my student’s view is nearly opposite.

“The solution to stress management lies in how we perceive the stresses in our lives. It’s not really the events taking place in our lives that cause stress. Stress depends entirely on how we perceive the events that happen to us. The good news is that since stress is a response—not the event that triggers the response—we can control it. Once we shift our perception of a situation and see it with more clarity, the stressful reaction can be reduced or released.” Doc Childre and Howard Martin, The HeartMath Solution

The difficult aspect however is changing perception, it has taken time and effort to come to the world view that we have. I think to my student whose views are so conservative at times. While they are hers on one hand many are handed down by her parents and family as well. The experiences of a family or society often impact the view of the individual as well.

“You can complain because roses have thorns, or you can rejoice because thorns have roses.” Ziggy

“You have to ask children and birds how cherries and strawberries taste.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“The appearance of things changes according to the emotions and thus we see magic and beauty in them, while the magic and beauty are really in ourselves.” Kahlil Gibran

A cartoonist, a philosopher and a mystic poet would see a world differently perhaps yet there is an understanding among these three that the world has varying and differing views. Is the glass half full or half empty even though the amount of water is the same? We seem to be asked this in teaching quite a bit nearly daily. Of course then either way we are to fill the glass.

“All that is gold does not glitter; not all those that wander are lost.” J.R.R. Tolkien

“It does no harm just once in a while to acknowledge that the whole country isn’t in flames, that there are people in the country besides politicians, entertainers, and criminals.” Charles Kuralt

Amazing how a linguist and newscaster see so similar, though one is famous for realism and the other for fantasy. Charles Kuralt’s trademark was his to the point clarity in news casting and J. R. Tolkien for his brilliance in creating a world where fantasy and magic are real for all who read the words.

“We don’t see things as they are; we see things as we are.” Anais Nin

“No life is so hard that you can’t make it easier by the way you take it.” Ellen Glasgow

“The eye sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend” Henri Bergson

I often wonder as I go about each day as to how people see and hear what they do. What are the biases and prejudices that make their world appear as it does. So many people allow hatred and negativity into their lives through their limited perception of existence. I sat with a young man a few days ago helping him calm down, he was stressed by the actions of another student. He had been stressed to a point of wringing his hands till there were red. The other student walked away I am sure laughing how he had pushed this other fellow to near the breaking point, “all in fun”. Seems he was a big man on campus and it was part of his image.

“The greater part of our happiness or misery depends on our dispositions and not our circumstances.” Martha Washington

“Men are disturbed not by things, but by the view which they take of them.” Epictetus

One student sees humor another sees ridicule and shame. One student walks away laughing and another student sit in severe pain.

“Miracles seem to rest, not so much upon faces or voices or healing power coming suddenly near to us from far off, but upon our perceptions being made finer so that for a moment our eyes can see and our ears can hear that which is about us always.” Willa Cather

It is so difficult to pass judgment when perception is involved, yet life should be about doing no harm and doing no harm means not finding humor in another’s pain. When someone asks you to stop whether you do or do not see the issue, stopping is the only alternative. We have to learn our perception is not the sole perception in this reality. I have seen to many tears these past weeks walking down the halls of the school. I have seen too many clenched fists.

“Only in quiet waters do things mirror themselves undistorted. Only in a quiet mind is adequate perception of the world.” Hans Margolius

So often emotion tints the glass of our vision and anger allows us to see color only in gray or see grays in vivid color.

“The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.” Marcel Proust

“Better keep yourself clean and bright; you are the window through which you must see the world.” George Bernard Shaw

If only we could provide free Windex to all what a world we would have. It might take a little Windex to clean the perceptions of the world, and to help clear the grime off so many windows and let in the light. Thinking to a recent commercial where a husband is sleeping in a recliner by a large window and his wife comes by cleaning with Windex and the sunlight wakes him up and he stumbles into the newly cleaned window. I really do not want everybody seeing the world alike that would be boring but somehow leveling the playing field. Maybe just providing corrective lenses to others so they can see my way and I am color blind. Always there is the big if only? Please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your heart.
namaste
bird

The Day after

Bird Droppings November 2, 2011
The Day after

“Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” Mark Twain

I find myself using age to my advantage when the little girl at the register at Kroger asked for senior citizenship or not. I carry my AARP card with pride when it gets me 15% off my hotel stays or car rentals. One of my favorites however and unfortunately true at times is; what did you say your name is? It seems I cannot remember or I gave you what grade yesterday seems folks at my age cannot remember to well. Sadly with nearly two thousand students in the school I do not always remember everyone and I have my days when kids in my class I play the where did you come from routine. You are really in my class?

“Nobody grows old merely by living a number of years. We grow old by deserting our ideals. Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul.” Samuel Ullman

I was standing in the hall yesterday when a senior stopped by. It has been many weeks since I had put up a photo of a ladder leaning against the new football building. I had also on the photo stated something to the effect of “when climbing any ladder some of the steps can be hard but to get to the top you still have to make them”. For me at sixty two yesterday it was easy to look back and recall. It was about this time eleven or twelve years ago I was at an away football game and experienced something that a few days after Bird Droppings got serious. I felt an overwhelming anguish and even mentioned to a friend standing beside me it was as if I saw the angel of death. At that moment a dear friend was in a car accident many miles away and eventually that night died. The next morning when I returned from the hospital I had a quote from Aerosmith attached to my computer, “Life is about the journey not the destination”?

“You are as young as your faith, as old as your doubt; as young as your self-confidence, as old as your fear; as young as your hope, as old as your despair.” Douglas MacArthur

A very great man once said this as I look at the words faith, doubt, self confidence, hope and despair. What powerful barometers for us as humans? These could be gauges for our souls and humanity’s concern for humanity.

“In youth the days are short and the years are long; in old age the years are short and the days long.” Nikita Ivanovich Panin

“The years teach much which the days never knew.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

I wrote a few days back someone I would want to meet is Ralph Waldo Emerson I am amused at how when in high school I passed him by so easily now read daily.

“Inflation is when you pay fifteen dollars for the ten-dollar haircut you used to get for five dollars when you had hair.” Sam Ewing

“Wrinkles should merely indicate where smiles have been.” Mark Twain

Pieces of the aging process and so many fight it with tooth and nail. Various anti-aging drugs and concoctions plaster the TV and media. A favorite is the smile exerciser on QVC (not that I watch QVC) but this couple have invented a rubber band mouth exerciser to cut down on facial wrinkles.

“Youth is a wonderful thing. What a crime to waste it on children.” George Bernard Shaw

Sitting watching my sister with grand children and my mother and mother in law with their grandchildren and now me with my granddaughter I might argue with Shaw youth brings vitality to the aged.

“A man’s age is something impressive, it sums up his life: maturity reached slowly and against many obstacles, illnesses cured, grieves and despairs overcome, and unconscious risks taken; maturity formed through so many desires, hopes, regrets, forgotten things, loves. A man’s age represents a fine cargo of experiences and memories.” Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

I was in a Bar-B-que stand looking and reading hot sauce labels. Tabasco sauce is made on a small island in Louisiana. The peppers are aged in vinegar in oak barrels. My nephew was a waiter for some time at, The Capital Grill in Buckhead before medical school. He was learning the wine list showing my wife and I nearly four pages of wines many of which were near my age and those had the most value. I like this age determines your worth.

“Live as long as you may, the first twenty years are the longest half of your life.” Robert Southey

Talking with and dealing with teenagers daily I can see this it is harder to remember my own teenage years or even watching my own children as they deal with the angst of teenagedom.

“A man is not old until regrets take the place of dreams.” John Barrymore

The day I stopped looking at regrets as hindrances as boulders in my pathway of life my journey gained meaning. These encumbrances simply became lessons to endure to further my journey.

“The first sign of maturity is the discovery that the volume knob also turns to the left.” Jerry M. Wright

I often am amused when a teenager pulls alongside as I am driving with the bass fully loaded and stereo blasting to a point all you hear is the throbbing of woofers ready to blow. Some cars mounted on hydraulic shocks can emulate the tunes bouncing in time. I wonder what music is being heard funny when I play certain native American drum and flute pieces students question my sanity yet it is nothing more than a quiet throbbing of a drum versus the ear numbing bass of modern pop music.

“When I was younger, I could remember anything, whether it had happened or not; but my faculties are decaying now and soon I shall be so I cannot remember any but the things that never happened. It is sad to go to pieces like this but we all have to do it.” Mark Twain

Samuel Clemons aka Mark Twain would also be on my list of those I would like to meet along with Ralph Waldo Emerson. There are so many great writers, speakers along the historical way but these two for me stand out.

“Everyone is the age of their heart.” Guatemalan Proverb

An interesting use of heart, what it referring to is not the muscle that drives blood through our bodies and as the advertising business reminds us, needing Lipitor, Advicor and or Benicor or this or that to keep functioning. Heart is that inner piece of us some call the soul. Many authors have written their best sellers about this subject, Gary Zhukov, and Thomas Moore to name a few.

“There was no respect for youth when I was young, and now that I am old, there is no respect for age – I missed it coming and going.” J.B. Priestly

A bit of humor, we earn respect at any age, that credibility and impression can be a significant factor as we go through the pathways of life and love. I find it is the lack of respect for students that often gives poor teachers trouble. I always enjoy the comment of teachers demanding respect from their students. That is earned and demanding respect usually leads to conflict. I recently attended a conference with Dr. Sutton and sitting by my desk several books on Oppositional Deviant students. Adding to the excitement across the room two students who are when they leave my room.

“I still have a full deck; I just shuffle slower now.” Author Unknown

Trying to keep up with three sons can be a task, fortunately they also like sitting still occasionally and are in college now. I have many former students and non-students who simply passed through my room with babies and youngins and watching them now as parents is fascinating. Many of these kids were problems in high school and now are moms or dads. There are some who are extraordinary parents and one or two I am concerned about.

“The first half of life consists of the capacity to enjoy without the chance; the last half consists of the chance without the capacity.” Mark Twain

“It’s sad to grow old, but nice to ripen.” Brigitte Bardot

In my childhood days Brigitte Bardot was the poster girl, the Pamela Anderson of the 1960’s. It is interesting how she is still in so many ways, still a beautiful women, I like that word ripen. I sometimes disagree with her animal rights activity which goes overboard occasionally.

“Old age is fifteen years older than I am.” Oliver Wendell Holmes

“Men do not quit playing because they grow old; they grow old because they quit playing.” Oliver Wendell Holmes

The author of Sherlock Holmes enjoyed life; he sipped each drop and tasted it to the fullest. As often as I see thoughts from authors and poets, for a moment a glimpse of whom they were and are. I told my wife no grandbabies till I am sixty. Granted I we were blessed with a granddaughter just a little under a year ago and that changed many things in our lives. So a few more weeks and we our grandbaby is one and all are excited.

“Age is opportunity no less, than youth itself, though in another dress, and as the evening twilight fades away, the sky is filled with stars, invisible by day.” Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Morituri Salutamus

The moon is still blazing away or I should say reflecting away well half way as it is waning in the morning sky in these early hours. When available stars scattered about light the night, Orion is just over my house a few hours back. I liked this illustration of how at night we see the stars and during the day they are invisible. As I age many things that were insignificant during youth now become crucial and have such significance.

“There is still no cure for the common birthday.” John Glenn

Our former Senator and astronaut John Glenn has embraced aging and made being a senior citizen cool. A movie a few years back Space Cowboys with Clint Eastwood featured aged former astronauts and test pilots who get their chance to show their worth. We do get older day by day but it is in the heart.

“Everyone is the age of their heart.” Guatemalan Proverb

This I cannot say enough and this is so true. My friends please today keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your heart.
namaste
bird

Trying to clear my head

Bird Droppings September 20, 2011
Trying to clear my head

“The hands will solve a mystery that the intellect has struggled with in vain.” Carl G. Jung

I have been a fan of Carl Jung for some time. Many teachers know some children will learn so much faster when the hands are engaged as well tactile sensation adding to intellectual pursuit. I was working with my eldest on some graduate studies last night and the text was based on research in high schools in the early seventies and the questions than pointed towards high schools today. My first point was many of the premises made in the late sixties and early seventies no longer applied considering technology and economics alone. I was thinking back to my own high school graduation.

“Never be afraid to sit awhile and think.” Lorraine Hansberry

One of the draws for me to John Dewey is his constant discussion and introjections of reflection into education process. For it is in reflection that we analyses and truly give credence to ideas and thoughts. I picked up a Smithsonian magazine this morning and was looking through various articles when I stumbled on an ad for The Rosette Stone language system. One of the principles of the system is to immerse you in the language you are learning. John Dewey would have liked Rosette Stone. As I pondered and reflected reading the ad I recalled various Human development courses and how we are told language acquisition is an early childhood development and Rosette Stone is saying immersion unlocks that aspect of our brains.

“Adults possess this same powerful language learning ability that orchestrated our language success as children. Sadly our clashes with vocabulary drills and grammar explanations force us to conclude it’s hopeless.” Rosette Stone Ltd.

“No matter where you go or what you do, you live your entire life within the confines of your head.” Terry Josephson

Perhaps some of us do far too much internalizing of where we are and why sadly so much of our existence is in our heads in perceptions and beliefs.

“People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use.” Soren Kierkegaard

I have often wondered about freedom of speech when so few even consider that unless it is generally in a manner contrary to popular thought. But then is it freedom of speech when we make laws to prohibit that which is free by limiting and delineating specific terms and conditions of what is said or not said.
“Too often we… enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.” John F. Kennedy

“Some people get lost in thought because it’s such unfamiliar territory.” G. Behn

Some people get lost because what is seen as reality is too painful for them. Working with numerous people over the years who due to whatever circumstances deem that the “real” world is harsh and bitter and withdrawal into a private realm is deemed far more enjoyable and safe.

“We spend our days in deliberating, and we end them without coming to any resolve.” L’Estrange

Each second of each day so many people squander their own reality spinning about never seemingly going anywhere. I have many times found myself in this trap looking for something to grasp, to get hold of and pull out.

“Few people think no more than two or three times a year; I have made an international reputation for myself by thinking once a week.” George Bernard Shaw

When I read this, I thought of blue collar comedy and my local favorites rednecks. Where in the definition of redneck is it that we so often need to use the word ignorant. But as Jeff Foxworthy has built his fame and industry on redneckism it is interesting his kids go to one of Atlanta’s most exclusive private schools which is ironic and sort of paradoxical redneckism.

“Belief is when someone else does the thinking.” Buckminster Fuller

Reading Buckminster Fuller often is sort of a head clearing kind of thing and when I read this, I thought back to the dark ages when society was imprisoned by those who could read and write and think freely. Sadly it was predominantly “the church” and all thought was restricted to thought allowed by the church. How many great thinkers actually perished in wrong thinking?

“Irons rusts from disuse, stagnant water loses its purity and in cold weather becomes frozen; even so does inaction sap the vigor of the mind.” Leonardo da Vinci

I have found the more I study the more I think the more I want to study and learn more which is an interesting thought so few aspects of life are self perpetuating such as thinking although going back to the immersion idea of rosette Stone perhaps language is as well.

“A sect or party is an elegant incognito devised to save a man from the vexation of thinking.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

I could not have expressed myself better than my hero Ralph Waldo Emerson. Politics takes away any sort of thinking or seriously tries to. Someone stuck an extremely conservative article folded up in my teacher’s mailbox yesterday. There are so many political aides who simply spin reality in favor of that person or ideology they have chosen to support right or wrong there’s will be most likely to be picked and do not let the populous think too much or give them time to think.

“Thoughts, like fleas, jump from man to man. But they don’t bite everybody.” Stanislaw Lec

“The world we have created is a product of our thinking; it cannot be changed without changing our thinking.” Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein hit the nail on the head we have to change our thinking or else it will become as Emerson and Fuller stated become belief and or a sect or party. It is a circular effort we begin to think which becomes common place and soon everyone follows suit and that idea becomes law and belief and then we have to rethink everything all over again. What if human nature was not so lazy and would stay in motion if thought would continue instead of constantly wanting a break.

“No amount of energy will take the place of thought. A strenuous life with its eyes shut is a kind of wild insanity.” Henry Van Dyke

So true and so much a part of so many so for today please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your hearts.
namaste
bird

There is a reason I am told

Bird Droppings August 31, 2011
There is a reason I am told

“The purpose of life is a life of purpose.” Robert Byrne

I have often wondered about this thought as have so many before me and will after I am gone. Philosophers wonder and wise men ponder, is there purpose, a reason for each of our existences. Over the years numerous books and articles show the intertwining and interconnecting of lives and of reality have been written and reflected on by many great thinkers. I have seen the interplay daily of my own life with others in the school where I teach and with my family and friends.

“To have no set purpose in one’s life is the harlotry of the will.” Stephen MacKenna

“Great minds have purposes, others have wishes.” Washington Irving

Many thinkers of one school of thought consider that we go at life with a purpose however it is with a cognitively involved rationale for existence. This is control of self of the mind within the individual and it is there that purpose exists and is carried out.

“We should all be obliged to appear before a board every five years, and justify our existence… on pain of liquidation.” George Bernard Shaw

Shaw perhaps goes a bit far but daily do we not each have to justify our own existence as we interact and are involved with others in this reality.

“An “unemployed” existence is a worse negation of life than death itself.” José Ortega y Gasset

So often I see children and adults both wandering with really no purpose. Sadly I see yet could there be more to this than a self motivated purpose and self imposed rational process that provides all answers?

“A useless life is an early death.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Are we subject each of us to others opinions as to why we are here or is this an individualistic program of deliberation of each person finding their own independent reason for being? Is there an over blanket of purpose perhaps some ethereal veil that shrouds us all in purpose.

“I love the valiant; but it is not enough to wield a broadsword, one must also know against whom.” Friedrich Nietzsche

Perhaps a bit deep but Nietzsche always is as he is drawing his illustration to that of knighthood. It is one thing to be a knight but is their purpose if there is no opposition or no foe to vanquish.

“When a man does not know what harbor he is making for, no wind is the right wind.” Seneca

Within each of us there is perhaps a compass, a directional beacon, a sense of whom and where we are in the world. That driving force, that searching for the harbor could this be our purpose in life and in existence?

“This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap; the being a force of nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.” George Bernard Shaw

A bit melodramatic and direct Shaw draws difference between seeking self indulgence versus a higher goal in our search.

“To have a grievance is to have a purpose in life.” Alan Coren

Seeing fault can be just having a different opinion or a different view and then to question, to ask why. These too are aspects of our makeup that provide individualism and uniqueness to our days.

“Men, like nails, lose their usefulness when they lose direction and begin to bend.” Walter Savage Landor

Life is a journey, how many times have I use that phrase? I think I do so literally daily as I talk with students, teachers, parents and friends. Each facet of the puzzle is as complex and crucial to the whole as the next. We each have purpose and have meaning. Far too often we under estimate who and what we are. We demean ourselves in self pity and doubt. I will use the illustration of a puzzle, a magnificent jig saw puzzle with millions of pieces. Each of the pieces has many facets each more intricate than the next. They are all falling into place, within this life. Occasionally we see the connections but more so than not we simply see the gray backing of the puzzle piece.

“We learn geology the morning after the earthquake.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Life is much like a great play unfolding although many times we never do see the script till the act is over. Please as we start a new week and with so much turmoil both here and abroad keep all in harm’s way on your minds and in your hearts.
namaste
bird

Listening intently to a buffalo snort in the dark

Bird Droppings August 1, 2011
Listening intently to a buffalo snort in the dark

“She lifted me up to be embraced by the breeze as she spoke to the wind: “Please recognize this child. Sometimes you will blow strong, sometimes you’ll be gentle, but let him grow up knowing the value of your presence at all times as he lives upon this planet.’” Bear Heart Medicine Man, Muskogee Creek, The Wind is my mother, 1996

I recall a few weeks back walking out to a slight breeze with my granddaughter and thinking along this line introducing her to the wind. I just started reading Bear Heart’s book and this line caught me. Many memories of my own as I wander back in time in my thoughts to childhood and even as my own sons were growing up.
My thinking this morning with school coming \up in a few days now I find it is always interesting the first day of school whether as a teacher or student. I recall my own nearly fifty six years ago as I walked into East Fallowfeild Elementary school outside Coatesville Pennsylvania. My teachers name was Ms. Smith and I was in first grade. Every new year since seems I have found myself on a first day of school, as I went through Junior High and Senior High school and into college, even Graduate school now seems almost forever ago and I am still in that process.

“Life is no brief candle to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got a hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.” George Bernard Shaw

In my years of searching and wandering about stepping on each stone across the stream one foot ahead of the next I have always tried to leave a little better then when I got there. It does not always work but I try. Walking down the hall ways at school always trying to smile joke get others smiling joking enjoying that moment of life.

“None of us is promised tomorrow. Today in all its beauty and sadness and complexity, is all we have. This light we see may be the last such day we have on this earth. There is no certainty, beyond the fact that one day we will have no tomorrow, and that it is not ours to know when that day will be.” Kent Nerburn, Small Graces

It has been a few years since I had to report an incident that was told to me by a student. It is difficult to when told in a sort of confidence yet severe enough to warrant reporting. In my same conversation with this student I was asked if my children ever got in trouble, I said no. The response was; “They have never run away or sneaked out or …..” Again I said no and I asked instinctively if both parents lived at home. They said “no I live with my mom”, and immediately followed with “I don’t misbehave for my dad” and so forth. It comes to be the incident was not a onetime deal it is a regular occurrence and as I talk with parents students I find my life is not “NORMAL”. Being normal is having kids who are in trouble, causing problems yelling at their parents etc. and parents who are hitting their kids drinking with then and worse that is normal.

“On life’s journey faith is nourishment, virtuous deeds are a shelter, wisdom is the light by day and right mindfulness is the protection by night. If a man lives a pure life, nothing can destroy him.” Buddha

I woke up this morning from a vivid dream I was getting my three times a year hair cut and the hair was being brushed away from my neck and I looked at a clock on the wall it was 3:30 and I got up. My dreams are generally simple ones with complexities woven in. I recall as I was preparing for my final presentation on my masters, my advisor Dr. Donna Andrews, continually used the word “weave”. Our project was about weaving all the pieces together. I actually at one point of thought had the idea to produce two covers and weave them together symbolic of that idea.
It is that life is a weaving in reality as I look at each aspect intertwined with the next, a child growing up in the context of arguing and issues finds that is normal and yet asks what it would be like to live in my family where that doesn’t exist. I smile and joke and offer solace for the moment I have with that student not so much as to change the pattern of weaving but to offer stronger thread or a tighter warp to the pattern.

“Your life and my life flow into each other as wave flows into wave, and unless there is peace and joy and freedom for you, there can be no real peace or joy or freedom for me. To see reality–not as we expect it to be but as it is–is to see that unless we live for each other and in and through each other, we do not really live very satisfactorily; that there can really be life only where there really is, in just this sense, love.” Frederick Buechner

Nearly seven years back I wrote about the 16 hour syndrome and how as a teacher I had eight hours to undo the 16 parents and friends have. Mathematically it doesn’t work. Logically it doesn’t work and some parents do not want it to work they have chosen the direction for their children and want that only.

“If, after all, men cannot always make history have meaning, they can always act so that their own lives have one.” Albert Camus

“The tragedy of life is not so much what men suffer, but rather what they miss.” Thomas Carlyle

Yesterday I was asked about absolute truths I responded and had a response from a dear friend and so forth a dialogue and the context was a positive one as we shared ideas and thoughts. When I reported the incident years ago it had happened to a student and was told it was ok, it was discussed and that child went home thinking this is how life really is it is ok. Parents and kids do yell at each other and hit each other and throw things at each other, it is ok.

“We dribble away our life, little by little, in small packages — we don’t throw it away all at once.” Robert A. Cook

“Life is a succession of lessons enforced by immediate reward, or, oftener, by immediate chastisement.” Ernest Dimnet

B.F. Skinner once said he could change anything through behavior modification. Who knows maybe he is right. Maybe if we continue picking away and smiling and joking and living life as unnormal as it may be to some others. It will catch on and who knows maybe just maybe when tomorrow comes that child who was asking about have my children ever run away will be asking how much they study each night instead or what books they have read or what college are they going too.

“Every morning I wake up saying, I’m still alive; a miracle. And so I keep on pushing.” Jacques Cousteau

I have a friend at school a breast cancer survivor who said something very similar to me for her “each day is a blessing to make the most of” and you know what every kid who passes threw her door is blessed as well.

“What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.” Crowfoot

It has been now many years ago since I raised buffalo and as I would walk out each morning into the dark I would hear an occasionally snort and blow of air from our bull as he checked the cows and calves walking about in the morning haze. I knew life then and even today I walk out and greet the morning hearing different sounds but still that faint echo of a buffalo snorting in the fog as it drifts in. Life is what we choose to make it and how we weave or how we step into the day is a choice we make. In teaching I emphasis example and having hanging on my back wall in my room a poster from my hippie days 1969 or so of course it is a black light poster. The poster’s title is “Children learn what they Live” and it goes on from there Keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your hearts
namaste
bird

A buffalo snort in the dark

Bird Droppings June 4, 2011
A buffalo snort in the dark

“Life is no brief candle to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got a hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.” George Bernard Shaw

In my years of searching and wandering about stepping on each stone to get across the stream one foot ahead of the next I have always tried to leave life a little better then when I got there. It does not always work but I try. When I am walking down the hall ways at school always trying to smile, joke, get others smiling, and joking, enjoying that moment of life.

“None of us is promised tomorrow. Today in all its beauty and sadness and complexity, is all we have. This light we see may be the last such day we have on this earth. There is no certainty, beyond the fact that one day we will have no tomorrow, and that it is not ours to know when that day will be.” Kent Nerburn, Small Graces

Just before school was out I had to report an incident that was told to me by a student, it is difficult to when told in sort of confidence yet severe enough to warrant reporting. In my same conversation with this student I was asked if my children ever got in trouble, I said no. The student responded, “They have never run away or sneaked out or …..” and again I said no. Immediately I asked instinctively if both parents lived at home. The response was hesitant but came, “no I live with my mom”, “but I don’t misbehave for my dad” and so forth. It comes to be the incident was not a one time deal it is a regular occurrence and as I talk with parents and students I find my life is not “NORMAL”. It seems normal is having kids who are in trouble, causing problems yelling at their parents etc. It seems it is parents who are hitting their kids drinking with and such that is what society seems to deem as normal.

“On life’s journey faith is nourishment, virtuous deeds are a shelter, wisdom is the light by day and right mindfulness is the protection by night. If a man lives a pure life, nothing can destroy him.” Buddha

I woke up from a vivid dream while I was getting my hour nap between taking the dog out three times last night. Just as the dog started barking I looked up at a clock on the kitchen wall it was 2:30 and I had been asleep slightly over an hour since my last venture outside. As I am thinking back to my dream, my dreams are generally simple ones with complexities woven in and through out. As I thought back nearly eight years to my starting back to graduate school. In preparing for my final presentation in my masters program, my advisor was continually using the word “weave”. Our project was about weaving all the pieces together. I actually at one point of my thinking was going to produce two covers and weave them together in a symbolic gesture indicative of my professors thought. Life is a weaving in reality as I look at each aspect intertwined with the next, a child growing up in the context of arguing and issues at home finds that is normal and yet asks what it would be like to live in my family where that doesn’t exist. I smile and joke and offer solace for the moment I have with that student not so much as to change the pattern of weaving but to offer stronger thread or a tighter warp to the pattern.

“Your life and my life flow into each other as wave flows into wave, and unless there is peace and joy and freedom for you, there can be no real peace or joy or freedom for me. To see reality–not as we expect it to be but as it is–is to see that unless we live for each other and in and through each other, we do not really live very satisfactorily; that there can really be life only where there really is, in just this sense, love.” Frederick Buechner

Nearly ten years back I wrote about the 16 hour syndrome for the first time and how as a teacher I had eight hours to undo the 16 parents and family have to deal with a child. Mathematically it doesn’t work and logically it doesn’t work and some parents do not want it to work, they have chosen the direction for their children and that is that. Yesterday I was discussing deeply perhaps too deeply learning and education in my part 1 dropping. Much learning should be occurring beyond the school.

“If, after all, men cannot always make history have meaning, they can always act so that their own lives have one.” Albert Camus

“The tragedy of life is not so much what men suffer, but rather what they miss.” Thomas Carlyle

Just before school let out a student asked me about absolute truths. I responded and had a response from a dear friend and so forth a dialogue and the context was a positive one as we shared ideas and thoughts. Again just a few days before school let out I reported an incident that had happened to a student and was told is was ok, it was discussed. Sadly that child went home thinking this is how life really is it is ok, parents and kids do yell at each other and hit each other and throw things at each other, it is ok.

“We dribble away our life, little by little, in small packages — we don’t throw it away all at once.” Robert A. Cook

“Life is a succession of lessons enforced by immediate reward, or, oftener, by immediate chastisement.” Ernest Dimnet

B.F. Skinner once said he could change anything through behavior modification. Who knows maybe he is right, maybe if we continue picking away and smiling and joking and living life as un-normal as it may be to some, others will catch on and who knows maybe just maybe when tomorrow comes that child who was asking about have my children ever run away will be asking how much they study each night in stead or what books they have read or what college are they going to.

“Every morning I wake up saying, I’m still alive; a miracle. And so I keep on pushing.” Jacques Cousteau

I have a friend at school a breast cancer survivor who said something very similar to me, for her “each day is a blessing to make the most of”. How profound and amazingly her students love her. She honestly cares about them and they know it.

“What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.” Crowfoot

Many years back I raised buffalo and as I would walk out each morning into the dark I would hear an occasionally snort and blow of air from our bull as he checked the cows and calves walking about in the morning haze. I knew life then and even today as I walk out and greet the morning though different sounds living in a subdivision but still I can hear if I listen hard that faint echo of a buffalo snorting in the fog as it drifts in. Life is what we choose to make it and how we weave or how we step into the day it is our choice. In teaching I emphasis example and having hanging on my back wall in my room a poster from my hippie days 1972 or so. Of course it is a black light poster, the posters title is “Children learn what they Live” and it goes on from there. Please keep all in harms way on your mind and in your hearts.
namaste
bird