Is what happened today tomorrow’s history?

Bird Droppings June 21, 2013
Is what happened today tomorrow’s history?

“Forget mistakes. Forget failures. Forget everything except what you’re going to do now and do it. Today is your lucky day.” Will Durant

At times I find a piece a bit of wisdom and or knowledge that has significance to me as I wander reading here and there. This morning is no different sitting on a screened in porch overlooking Sylvan Falls in North Georgia. If I were at home my ear phones would be on and I would be absorbed in music here I am totally absorbed in the flow of life and water. I was looking at a quote yesterday that caught my eye by Will Durant a historian and philosopher and in reviewing and investigating found William James Durant founded General Motors and a different Will Durant wrote “The Story of Civilization” I looked further and found ideas that interested me and so a quick introduction to Mr. Will Durant.

“The one escape worthy of a mature mind is to rise out of the moment and the part and contemplate the whole. What we have lost above all is total perspective. Life seems too intricate and mobile for us to grasp its unity and significance; we cease to be citizens and become only individuals; we have no purposes that look beyond our death; we are fragments of men, and nothing more. No one dares today to survey life in its entirety; analysis leaps and synthesis lags; we fear the experts in every field and keep ourselves, for safety’s sake, lashed to our narrow specialties. Everyone knows his part, but is ignorant of its meaning in the play. Life itself grows meaningless and becomes empty just when it seemed most full.” Will Durant

Perhaps for some a bit heavy duty but in this writing there are several key thoughts. One of the ideas is that of total perspective, looking at the whole instead of simply the moment yet paradoxically he in the starting quotes focuses on the now. It is interesting in his life he transverses many social and political arenas as he searched for his own place but in reading about the man, he definitely lived what he believed in. I will often use my toilet tissue theory to refer to a narrow window of perception where someone sees only a minute part as Durant indicates instead of the whole. There are times focusing can be a blessing, but remaining focused can hinder learning and walking to the next crossroads.

“Knowledge is power, but only wisdom is liberty.”

“Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.”

“Man differs from the beast only by education, which may be defined as the technique of transmitting civilization.” Will Durant

Sitting here earlier this morning I was reading about a man who died nearly thirty years ago yet has words still ring true. In this moment as I think back to various meetings I have been in talking about education and trains of thoughts within learning and such this is so very true. We all too often get too caught up in where we are right now yet on one hand it is crucial to be where we need to be. This could be or sound like a riddle or a paradox you might say. Yesterday as I was worrying about my own issues in life and others came to me with their issues all in all some dwarfed my own simple day to day worries. One in particular concerned me as a young lady had recently gone through a life altering situation and stood as we were talking actually pacing is a better term. Time was of the essence and our talk was cut brief but key elements were disclosed enough to reflect on. She literally ran off to go running making the statement that it hurt physically and mentally a brief second in time a minute, a moment yet I was where I was too be at that moment to hear to listen even with the narrow window of time that allowed only a few sentences to be discussed.
As I got back to my room last night I received an email from a dear friend commenting on previous days Bird Droppings and how we still have progressed some but still a question was left. The question is really why is ‘kinder and gentler’ harder to achieve than ‘nasty and vicious’? My evening reflection now had some serious pondering to do. I took a quick sip of my green tea and honey to spur the thought process and fire up the next line. As I think about Durant and this question and how does the event of the young lady at today all tie in or do they? I will often refer to a dream I had, sometimes depending on the audience I will call it a vision, of a puzzle, a giant jig saw puzzle all falling into place each piece more intricate than the next millions of pieces all falling into place one at a time. Continually in my dream I try and see the puzzle face to understand what is this great puzzle coming together before me.
As I try and look the puzzle moves away from me turns and only reveals the gray backing. Occasionally I see an individual piece clear and precise but when I focus on a piece the process slows down for I have pulled a piece out of time and out of the effort to fall into place. I have broken the momentum of what is going on. Carefully I try and insert back into the continuing placement of pieces. Life is that puzzle, it is falling in place as we sit and read each note and ponder each thought, around us the pieces fall should we sit and ponder and dally too long on a single piece? Perhaps we should slow the process yet as Durant says in his starting quote forget the mistakes do it now.
I see not sitting and pondering the puzzle piece thus slowing the process but seeing the piece for what it is and putting more in place knowing you are part of a whole, an integral part. Each aspect of your life is unique yet still intertwined in all that is so as I Am writing and thinking today and you think and dream keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your hearts as world and national issues draw us continually to the front. Try and make an effort to give thanks as you wander through the day namaste.

For all my relations
Wa de (Skee)
bird

Is history what happened today or tomorrow?

Bird Droppings June 11, 2011
Is history what happened today or tomorrow?

I am sitting on the porch of the Long House at the Foxfire property listening to the rain side of the mountains. Several miles away thunder is brewing and I can smell rain. There have been discussions of history obviously at this place of antiquity and artifacts of a by gone age. Nestled on the the side of Black Rock Mountain the Museum is a collection of old cabins and out buildings collected by the high schools classes back in the early days either donated by folks or purchased. The cabins and buildings were dismantled and rebuilt on the property. There is a history here and as I ponder talking with current teachers and future teachers a history in the making as well.

“Forget mistakes. Forget failures. Forget everything except what you’re going to do now and do it. Today is your lucky day.” Will Durant

At times I find a piece a bit of wisdom and or knowledge that has significance to me as I wander reading here and there. I was looking at a quote yesterday that caught my eye by Will Durant a historian and philosopher and in reviewing and investigating found William James Durant founded General Motors and a different Will Durant wrote “The Story of Civilization” I looked further and found ideas that interested me and so a quick introduction to Mr. Will Durant.

“The one escape worthy of a mature mind is to rise out of the moment and the part and contemplate the whole. What we have lost above all is total perspective. Life seems too intricate and mobile for us to grasp its unity and significance; we cease to be citizens and become only individuals; we have no purposes that look beyond our death; we are fragments of men, and nothing more. No one dares today to survey life in its entirety; analysis leaps and synthesis lags; we fear the experts in every field and keep ourselves, for safety’s sake, lashed to our narrow specialties. Everyone knows his part, but is ignorant of its meaning in the play. Life itself grows meaningless and becomes empty just when it seemed most full.” Will Durant

Perhaps for some a bit heavy duty but in this writing there are several key thoughts. One of the ideas is that of total perspective, looking at the whole instead of simply the moment yet paradoxically he in the starting quotes focuses on the now. It is interesting in his life he transverses many social and political arenas as he searched for his own place but in reading about the man, he definitely lived what he believed in.

“Knowledge is power, but only wisdom is liberty.”

“Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.”

“Man differs from the beast only by education, which may be defined as the technique of transmitting civilization.” Will Durant

Sitting here earlier this morning I was reading about a man who died nearly twenty five years ago yet has words still ring true. In this moment as I think back to various meetings I have been in talking about education and trains of thoughts learning and such so very true. We all too often get to caught up in where we are right now yet on one hand it is crucial to be where we need to be. This could be or sound like a riddle or a paradox you might say. Just before school let out as I was worrying about my own issues in life and others came to me with their issues some dwarfed my own simple day to day worries. One in particular concerned me as a young lady had recently gone through a life altering situation and stood we talking as the bell rang and classes were changing focus is on the bells. She ran off to class making the statement that it hurt physically and mentally a brief second in time a minute, a moment yet I was where I was too be at that moment to hear to listen even with a bell stopping and changing directions.
As I got home I received an email from a dear friend commenting on yesterdays Bird Droppings and how we still have progressed some but still a question was left. The question is really why is ‘kinder and gentler’ harder to achieve than ‘nasty and vicious’? A quick sip of last night’s green tea to spur the thought process and fire up the next line. As I think about Durant and this question and how does the event of the young lady at school between classes all tie in or do they? I will often refer to a dream I had, sometimes depending on the audience I will call it a vision, of a puzzle, a giant jig saw puzzle all falling into place each piece more intricate than the next millions of pieces all falling into place one at a time. Continually in my dream I try and see the puzzle face to understand what is this great puzzle coming together before me.
As I try and look the puzzle moves away from me turns and only reveals the gray backing. Occasionally I see an individual piece clear and precise but when I focus on a piece the process slows down for I have pulled a piece out of time and out of the effort to fall into place. I have broken the momentum of what is going on. Carefully I try and insert back into the continuing placement of pieces. Life is that puzzle, it is falling in place as we sit and read each note and though around us the pieces fall should we sit and ponder and dally too long on a single piece? Perhaps we should slow the process yet as Durant says in his starting quote forget the mistakes do it now.
I see not sitting and pondering the puzzle piece thus slowing the process but seeing the piece for what it is and putting more in place knowing you are part of a whole, an integral part. Each aspect of your life is unique yet still intertwined in all that is so as I Am writing and thinking today and you think and dream keep all in harms way on your mind and in your hearts as world and national issues draw us continually to the front.
namaste
bird

Children Learn what they Live

Bird Droppings May 20, 2011
Children Learn what they Live

It is such a beautiful morning and quiet out side, I had the opportunity to sit and meditate for nearly an hour under the full moon today. I took our dog out and the air was still and nearly silent however the quiet and sounds that permeated were fantastic. A great horned owl periodically pierced the quiet along with a whippoorwill. As I listened a bit more carefully, still little noise even in the background other than handful of crickets and a soft breeze in the trees. I had burned some sage leaves in a bowl with a smidgen of sweet grass and the aroma added to the ambiance. For the first time in some time there were few human interferences available. Air conditioners were still as it was cool, cars were not quite moving on the nearby roads, and most normal animals and humans were still asleep. I started thinking about my on views on education and raising kids. I came back to some old ideas I have had around for some time.

“Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.” Will Durant

I have used this story several times over the years having shared this short thought in previous droppings and in classes. It is a story entitled “Our nature” which is from ancient Zen thought and writings I found this on a professor from Rdyer University’s website after seeing the story numerous times thrown out on the internet.

“Two monks were washing their bowls in the river when they noticed a scorpion that was drowning. One monk immediately scooped it up and set it upon the bank. In the process he was stung. He went back to washing his bowl and again the scorpion fell in. The monk saved the scorpion and was again stung. The other monk asked him, ‘Friend, why do you continue to save the scorpion when you know its nature is to sting?’ ‘Because,’ the monk replied, ‘to save it is my nature.’ “ Dr. John Suler, Ryder University

As I look at this story there are many possible reactions. How foolish is the monk who gets stung, first he knows it is a scorpion, then he also knows scorpions will sting, and lastly he has been already stung once. What lesson is being taught in this passage? There is also a similar story Dr. Suler uses from Native American lore of a fox and scorpion crossing a stream. I find there are applications to parenting, friendship, and teaching within the context of a stinging scorpion. As I read this morning looking through various articles by Dr. Suler and Sydney J. Harris I came up on this article from Harris’s column Strictly Speaking. .

“The student, who could really get an A if he wanted to, cannot really get an A because he really doesn’t want to. And the wanting to is an essential part of the achieving, not a separate thing, as parents imagine, that can be injected into him like a shot of adrenalin. All genuine and meaningful and lasting motivation comes from the inside, not from the outside. The carrot and the stick work maybe only as long as the carrot is in front and the stick behind. When they are withdrawn, the motivation ceases. You can get a mule to move this way, but not a person for very long.” Sydney J. Harris, Motivation, a key part of Talent

Yesterday in class I was listening to students tell why they have low grades as we get into finals. One made the comment “but I am passing I have a 70” and another blurted out “what do I need this crap for anyhow”. As I listened and looked through various notes and ideas I wondered how we instill the idea of motivation in a child or student. How do we change the attitude of so many? Most of the students yesterday when told about the monk getting stung would say he was stupid, just step on the scorpion or why waste your time. Occasionally a person will pop up and say, “The scorpion has a right to live too and that is why the monk helped it”. Somewhere when I first started working with children back in the dark ages I found a poster around 1972 or so in a shop outside Philadelphia. The poster is entitled “Children Learn what they Live” and was written by Dr. Dorothy Nolte in 1972 and goes as follows:

Children Learn What They Live
By Dorothy Law Nolte, Ph.D.
If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn.
If children live with hostility, they learn to fight.
If children live with fear, they learn to be apprehensive.
If children live with pity, they learn to feel sorry for themselves.
If children live with ridicule, they learn to feel shy.
If children live with jealousy, they learn to feel envy.
If children live with shame, they learn to feel guilty.
If children live with encouragement, they learn confidence.
If children live with tolerance, they learn patience.
If children live with praise, they learn appreciation.
If children live with acceptance, they learn to love.
If children live with approval, they learn to like themselves.
If children live with recognition, they learn it is good to have a goal.
If children live with sharing, they learn generosity.
If children live with honesty, they learn truthfulness.
If children live with fairness, they learn justice.
If children live with kindness and consideration, they learn respect.
If children live with security, they learn to have faith in themselves
and in those about them.
If children live with friendliness, they learn the world is a nice place in which to live.
Copyright © 1972 by Dorothy Law Nolte

Everyday I look across my room and there hanging is that ancient poster still as viable today as it was in 1972. Sydney J. Harris couldn’t put a finger on motivation but he mentions in his article how parents want it to be like adrenaline and we could give a shot of motivation. The monk showing kindness to the scorpion, an attribute that had been learned by observation by seeing and by example, is it that motivation is from inside. Harris states and as Dr. Nolte so eloquently points out in 20 or so statements it is what children see and feel as they grow up that provides them with that inner drive that inner spark.
Children do learn what they live and as parents and teachers we are modeling their future. We are what they will be and can be.

“If children live with security, they learn to have faith in themselves and others.” Dr. Nolte

It really is not that difficult. How can we expect a child to be motivated to succeed if we take away any of the twenty possibilities presented. No matter how big the carrot dangled in front of us it must come from within as well and eventually we as teachers, parents, and friends need to be providing that support and effort. Today a beautiful day please keep all in harms way in your hearts and on your minds.
namaste
bird

PS. Maybe, just maybe it is Dr. Nolte’s thoughts hanging on the wall in my room for the past thirty nine years that has kept me going and not to stepping on scorpions.