Do we learn from a ripple or a wave?

Bird Droppings July 5, 2011
Do we learn from a ripple or a wave?

I spent most of the past few mornings digging and planting, transplanting and repotting various flowers and herbs in our yard. I had several one poor lemon verbena that had been hiding for about a month still in a seedling pot and now about twenty four inches tall and that poor plant was very happy to be in some real dirt. My family got together yesterday to celebrate the fourth with a cookout and culminating in shooting off fireworks. My wife and I volunteered to babysit our granddaughter so younger generation could go blow things up. It seems my sister in buying firecrackers for a grandchild got some very potent ones and in the process one of my nephews a local sheriff decide they were best handled by a professional so he went and bought a watermelon to blow up. Not sure of the logic ion that but they had a good time. I have been thinking since early morning when the sun came up this morning and while I was digging in the dirt about this idea. Do we learn more from a ripple or a wave?

“Make ripples more than waves” Bob Algonzzine, Little book of Wisdom

This thought is number 298 out of 365 thoughts in his book. It isn’t necessarily in any special order it just happens to be that number. As I saw this comment in reference to a teacher in class as I recalled a legend from local Native Americans about throwing a stone into a pond or lake and watching the ripples dissipate against the edges of the pond. Technically as I looked up definitions ripples and waves are the very similar and even some said the same just in different velocities or size. But as I think this afternoon a ripple doesn’t have the force of a wave, sort of in education the difference between telling versus asking for something to be done. You are trying to accomplish the same event or solicit the same behavior but one has a lot more force behind it.

“It is nobler to convert souls, than to conquer kingdoms.” Louis Debonnaire

“People have a peculiar pleasure in making converts that is, in causing others to enjoy what they enjoy, thus finding their own likeness represented and reflected back to them.” Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

So often the teacher is the expert and it is their way period, saying such things as you will learn this now or else sort of thing. Waves have a tendency to do damage more so then sink in as they hit. Ripples are absorbed at the shore line as I thought deeper on this knowledge is no different. Is what is taught to be simply for Friday’s test or is it to be a life lesson?

“That, which proves too much, proves nothing!” Proverb

“You must make the product interesting not just make the ad different. And that’s what too many of the copywriters in America today don’t yet understand.” Rooser Reeves

I often wonder however when it is a ripple and when a wave. A new idea could knock some students over and yet be just what another student needs to keep momentum up. By coincidence my middle son was home this weekend and I recalled how he would come home from Georgia Tech several years ago to relax, the atmosphere at TECH is very stressful. A regiment of study, video games, study, read, video games and very little humanity time. On the other side my nephew would come home from another college to study because all time in his dorm was humanity time and no one was concentrating. As I think back it was funny they ended the weekend playing video games together before heading back to their schools.
As I sit here midst my debris a thought, that incessant barrage of ripples one after another nothing over whelming does sink in and it is absorbed. I often use and have cards sitting around my room at school with FIDO printed on them and on the back the acronym, Frequency, Intensity, Duration and Over Again. This is the FIDO principle and my good friend B.F. Skinner’s philosophy and eventually it will sink in.

“Continuous effort, not strength or intelligence is the key to unlocking our potential.” Liane Cardes

“Ineffective people live day after day with unused potential. They experience synergy only in small, peripheral ways in their lives. But creative experiences can be produced regularly, consistently, almost daily in people’s lives. It requires enormous personal security and openness and a spirit of adventure.” Stephen R. Covey

Covey’s idea is true however ripples or waves hitting on concrete is far more different than if it were hitting on a sponge. The big question is then how do we develop sponges as to learning and concrete as to character.

“The cynic says, ‘One man can’t do anything.’ I say, ‘Only one man can do anything.’” John W. Gardner

“Most people live, whether physically, intellectually or morally, in a very restricted circle of their potential being. They make very small use of their possible consciousness and of their soul’s resources in general, much like a man who, out of his whole bodily organism, should get into a habit of using and moving only his little finger.” William James

How often do we see people like this so restricted in movement and in thinking only a finger can be moved. Each day during school hours I can look down the hallway and see teachers who respond this way. As I have written the past several years I used the term boxed in, they are in their little box sealed up and new ideas concepts cannot get in. Occasionally they peek out but usually only to see if the wrapping is intact. Most of the time this type of teacher teaches with waves. BOOM, you got it or you don’t and I am out of here back to my box.

“I have always had the feeling I could do anything and my dad told me I could. I was in college before I found out he might be wrong.” Anne Richards

Recently I was discussing what makes a teacher. Part of my rationale is you cannot truly tell someone how to teach. In schools of Education they try and so forth in math science etc. I have found creativity and imagination get so often stifled as in Anne Richards quote by experts. We want to make sponges not concrete.

“We are hoarding potentials so great that they are just about unimaginable.” Jack Schwartz

“You have within you right now, everything you need to deal with whatever the world can throw at you.” Brian Tracy

“Make ripples not waves” I was just thinking about days gone by and making waves in a pool using a kick board you push against the water and shove in a direction and make a wave. It takes one good hard push and you have a wave. A ripple is more of dropping a stone and from the epicenter of where the stone hits ripples play out one after another till they hit the shore. Perhaps the identical force is involved in terms of physics but in the ripple effect many hundreds of ripples play against the edge or the student and with the wave it is a onetime deal. So we are faced with a wave versus a series of ripples.
Funny how we approach each day sitting here this morning writing and thinking after watching the Trial of Billy Jack, a 1974 movie that was basically a younger generation film of the time, last night. Watching the movie a comment stood out. The main character is asked in court a question about America and he responds with this country has gone so far from the origins that it can never get back to the founding fathers true aspirations. In several discussions the past few days of graft and corruption that is constantly exposed in industry and government and yet little is done as in the banking industry where many built empires and only one major player was imprisoned others were simply allowed to start over and they are almost back where they were when everything fell apart a few years ago. We do not learn from the waves and far too often that is all that is thrown at us from those in power.
So as I sit back pondering which would I rather teach and which would I rather have to be a student within? An interesting scenario in that thought as my mind wanders about today. I wonder how many teachers teach and think in terms of being a student listening to their lesson. As I look at News this morning it seems we are still at war in many places and some countries are trying to aggravate further with rhetoric and missiles. So for another day and sadly one that is special to us here in the US our friends and family members continue to be at risk and many are in harm’s way. So please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your hearts.