Trying to watch a smiling moon

Bird Droppings November 22, 2011
Trying to watch the smiling moon

“Most of us become parents long before we have stopped being children.” Mignon McLaughlin, The Second Neurotic’s Notebook, 1966

Over the past few weeks I have been told about, read about and actually met with parents to be and new parents who are still in school. This is not still in college but in high school. As I walked outside this morning the moon was a brilliant smile hanging just over the trees peeking between the clouds. The air was warm enough that my favorite rock band of crickets and tree frogs were chirping away although slower than normal. I was thinking about these children having children.

“There comes a time when a woman needs to stop thinking about her looks and focus her energies on raising her children. This time comes at the moment of conception. A child needs a role model, not a supermodel.” Astrid Alauda, on the “hot mom” trend

When I listen to children who are about to be parents I hear all the congratulations and praises being sung but I haven’t heard about the extra burdens and nights walking the floor and holding their baby while you comfort them and wondering if everything is ok and why are they not home yet as they get older. The questions where’s the progress report, do you need lunch money, what his name or her name all seemed obscured as fancy jeans give way to maternity pants.

“If you want children to keep their feet on the ground, put some responsibility on their shoulders.” Abigail Van Buren

I think when this was written it was about giving an allowance and having a part time job and doing chores and learning those little things about growing up. I do not think Abigail Van Buren was thinking ok have a baby so you can learn responsibility. You can quit a job, you can leave you dirty laundry on the bedroom floor an extra day or two and things will be fine but a baby needs food and clothing from minute one and for years to come.

“The quickest way for a parent to get a child’s attention is to sit down and look comfortable.” Lane Olinghouse

When I first read this several weeks ago I was thinking humorously about it. Then this morning the reality of the statement hit when you become a parent there is no relaxing sitting down you are now on call 24/7. A parent is just like the emergency medical people and police and light house keepers and as a parent you are now all of these for your choices will be much akin to those that are made by such. Do I need to go to the emergency room, you have been bad and watch out you may have a wreck.
“If there is anything that we wish to change in the child, we should first examine it and see whether it is not something that could better be changed in ourselves.” C.G. Jung, Integration of the Personality, 1939

Jung too wrote so long ago yet it was not uncommon for 15-16 years old to be getting married and raising families in rural America back then. I went out to eat with my wife a few nights ago to Johnny’s New York Pizza for calzones and Stromboli. It was awesome by the way (an unpaid endorsement). My wife is in the medical field and she sees babies and young moms literally daily. I look at my own life still learning still growing emotionally and mentally and I wonder how can someone who is still a child sees the changes and issues in themselves when they have such a small tiny field of experience to pull from.

“Simply having children does not make mothers.” John A. Shedd

“Although there are many trial marriages… there is no such thing as a trial child.” Gail Sheehy

There is no money back guarantee, no refundable offer once that child is born. You have a child, a baby and each moment now takes on special meaning. I stop each morning on the way to school at a pharmacy open 24 hours and generally pick up an energy drink and digital photos from a CD that they process for me. Often I will get skittles or M&M’s for school. BF Skinner would be proud, it is amazing how well M&M’s work with high school students. Several of the girls working there have one or more children many are single moms and surviving.

“Children have more need of models than of critics.” Carolyn Coats, Things Your Dad Always Told You But You Didn’t Want to Hear

I was reading a eulogy written about a recently deceased coach and teacher it was written by a former student who is now in college. Trying is not good enough in raising and teaching children granted we cannot not try. But we need to be so wary of the fact we are being watched literally every second of the day as parents and as teachers. I went to AT&T the other to pay my cell phone bill and ran into a former student he had been out of school for three years and another student who was getting married I had five years ago. In the eulogy words such as father, so many students and children today do not have father figure at home, the word mentor was used as was guide, friend, advisor and coach. As I read this heartfelt tribute I could not but think of another issue. It was one of those children to be, who would be their mentors and fathers and guides and coaches and friends and moms? It is so easy to be critical and to write about all the mistakes and all of the troubles ahead. But for now we also need to be models, friends, teachers, coaches, fathers and mothers as well as guides and mentors so these children’s children will be able to succeed. Please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your heart.

Can we trust really?

Bird Droppings September 8, 2011
Can we trust really?

“I think we may safely trust a good deal more than we do.” Henry David Thoreau

I was asked why I was successful with the students I work with by a fellow teacher one day. Many of my students over the years are students that no one else seems to trust, I responded because I do trust them. I do not inherently trust but essentially trust till I have a reason to not trust. I will advocate for the student till I am proven wrong and most of the time I can say there is not a problem. There have been a few times that my trust was betrayed by a student but usually that is only once.

“Our distrust is very expensive.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

In the nearly nine years I have been back in teaching I have had one student I truly did not trust out of my sight. Fortunately he did not stay around long since he lived up to expectations sadly enough as students tend to do. We also get what we expect.

“You may be deceived if you trust too much, but you will live in torment unless you trust enough.” Frank Crane

When you trust, first the number of deceptions interestingly decreases significantly. It is when you start in to distrust that torment increases, quite a paradox. Most progressive teaching manuals will state that students live up to your expectations.

“The only way to make a man trustworthy is to trust him.” Henry L. Stimson

I wish I had said this and probably have somewhere along the line. We have to trust, without trust it is difficult to even walk out the door in the morning or drive on the road. So much of what we do involves trust to some degree or another.

“We’re all born brave, trusting, and greedy, and most of us remain greedy.” Mignon McLaughlin, The Second Neurotic’s Notebook, 1966

I once used the term universal trust in describing an infant’s trust of the world as I developed a trust scale. (Anyone interested I will email a copy, The Bird Trust Developmental Scale) There is no question for a small child, however sadly they eventually learn to not trust. Watching my granddaughter grow up sort of like Piaget observing I see how trust can be altered as we tend to over look small things kids include as significant parts of their limited world.We adults teach them that as they go through life. It starts as soon as we are to slow to come when crying starts or to slow to respond when hunger comes or fear. We teach distrust in simple terms often so unintentional we never know it and one day the child just doesn’t trust anymore.

“Few things help an individual more than to place responsibility upon him, and to let him know that you trust him.” Booker T. Washington

We then begin anew to learn to trust. It is funny we have to literally learn to not trust to advance in trust, to see the contrast between distrust and trust perhaps or to truly learn what trust is.

“Many people say that government is necessary because some men cannot be trusted to look after themselves, but anarchists say that government is harmful because no men can be trusted to look after anyone else.” Nicolas Walter

In dealing with teenagers and high school students I so often wonder about the concept of anarchy which many adhere to as a perfect political system. Many students wear the symbol of anarchy as a badge of wisdom or of some great knowledge that they possess and adults have no concept of. But isn’t that simply saying I do not trust anyone period and even question myself.

“Liberalism is trust of the people tempered by prudence. Conservatism is distrust of the people tempered by fear.” William E. Gladstone

Trust so often equated in politics yet where we also learn quickly to not rust anyone as well as we listen to out and out lies and spins on various topics of he said she said etc. Thinking in terms of several issues at hand now and recent political elections fear sold more votes than did any political jargon. Most bend truth to meet the needs of the moment whether it is a positive or negative impact.

“Every two years the American politics industry fills the airwaves with the most virulent, scurrilous, wall-to-wall character assassination of nearly every political practitioner in the country – and then declares its self puzzled that America has lost trust in its politicians.” Charles Krauthammer

It comes back to ourselves and how we conceive of the world and that around us and in us and through us. It is about how we see and understand the world we see. It is about the lenses we use to perceive a world so vast and amazing many times we miss pieces as we look.

“Trust your own instinct. Your mistakes might as well be your own, instead of someone else’s.” Billy Wilder

I wonder what would happen if we could set up an experiment and place two babies in a sterile cell with no others and see what happens. Would they trust each other as they grew? I was thinking sort of like the Truman Show, with Jim Carrey, and yet he eventually learned not to trust as the show progressed.

“Trust only movement. Life happens at the level of events, not of words. Trust movement.” Alfred Adler

Perhaps I am being too hard on mankind we do and have the capacity to trust deeply and in a universal way. But in history every time someone does trust universally we kill them off out of fear perhaps. I find it most interesting how we respond to these few who universally trust.

“Few delights can equal the mere presence of one whom we trust utterly. “ George MacDonald

“Government is an unnecessary evil. Human beings, when accustomed to taking responsibility for their own behavior, can cooperate on a basis of mutual trust and helpfulness.” Fred Woodworth

I was reading and thinking and found this which while referring to marriage is very much how we see trust and related components.

“A wedding anniversary is the celebration of love, trust, partnership, tolerance and tenacity. The order varies for any given year.” Paul Sweeney

It is a developmental experience, that which we call trust; we learn both distrust and trust as we go through life. Hopefully we can one day go back to where we started to that universal trust where we trust all and can find no reason for distrust. Hopefully one day but for now please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your hearts.