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Tag Archives: Educational Leadership

¡Nunca más!

¡Nunca más!.

The link is to a short poem in English and Spanish. If our children do not learn, we may not teach them. The role of parents is teaching their children.

It is not that what we teach will be accepted. Children, as they become more independent, become more able to set their path.

Teaching is inviting others into learning. It is not about guaranteeing learning. The world changes and the result is what is needed to live in the world and be in relationships is changing. Perhaps the best thing we can teach our children is to be thankful for what they have and live in the moment recognizing what they have in each moment.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Dialogue Lost

Weekly Photo Challenge: Dialogue Lost.

Dialogue is a flow of language which requires listening. Listening is the often overlooked component of dialogue. Without listening, the flow is broken. It is not that we do not listen; however we listen to answer, to correct, to defend, etc. meaning the flow is broken. When we just listen, the silence speaks volumes and the flow remains in tact.

Listening is not limited to human-to-human listening. It extends outwards to other sentient beings and non-sentient phenomena. When I listen, the wind speaks as it rustles leaves, blows through leafless branches, and across the mountain’s sheer rock face. Even the wind, has nuanced voices telling me something and guiding me in life. The wind asks questions which call me to explore and seek the next question.

I Am Much Too Alone in the World, and not Alone Enough

Today, I talked with students whose main concern about school is they do not like it. One thing I gleaned was a reluctance to accept personal responsibility which should be something students learn in school. There are reasons for this lack of responsibility. One that is overlooked is responsibility is taken away from children.

What made this an interesting conversation was some of these students are ‘special needs’. In many ways they are bright, articulate problem-solvers frustrated by a system that has failed them leaving them to feel as if they were failing. They see school as a place they have to go and not a place of learning.

What was disconcerting is I am told just get them these students through the system. These children are someone else’s problem next year. We shuffle these students from school to school in this fashion, in effect sorted out of the failed system. Educators, politicians, and bureaucrats fail them daily.

Rainer Maria Rilke wrote this poem and it reminded me of one thing humans want in life: free will and to be part of conversations about them in honest ways. School is not  a game played with unrevealed rules, but a place of learning. What if adults took time, listened to children, and helped them find the path where we each learn new words each day?

I am much too alone in this world, yet not alone
enough
to truly consecrate the hour.
I am much too small in this world, yet not small
enough
to be to you just object and thing,
dark and smart.
I want my free will and want it accompanying
the path which leads to action;
and want during times that beg questions,
where something is up,
to be among those in the know,
or else be alone.

I want to mirror your image to its fullest perfection,
never be blind or too old
to uphold your weighty wavering reflection.
I want to unfold.
Nowhere I wish to stay crooked, bent;
for there I would be dishonest, untrue.
I want my conscience to be
true before you;
want to describe myself like a picture I observed
for a long time, one close up,
like a new word I learned and embraced,
like the everyday jug,
like my mother’s face,
like a ship that carried me along
through the deadliest storm.

Tolerance and Flexibility

Despite the weather, we had a great day. Many students do not attend Fridays. In past years, we attended every second Monday. Our administration changed that this year without consulting parents or me. I struggled with it for several months and made a dramatic shift a couple of months ago. I decided to devote Fridays to art i.e. drawing, painting, and building. I am not an artist in that sense, but was able to get access to resources from a friend who is an artist and an excellent teacher. The students enjoy the change. We built kites today and I felt a positive and life-giving energy in the room. I thought of this poem by Lao Tzu.

Living humans are soft and limber.

Dead they are hard and rigid.

Living, the 10, 000 grasses and wood species are soft and crisp.

So “hard” and “rigid” accompany death.

“Soft” and “limber” accompany life.

So if armies are coercive, they do not triumph.

When wood is strong, the axe comes out.

Strength and dominance reside below.

The soft and limber belong higher.

Children Will Listen

I tell people when I facilitate workshops we do not teach human qualities, we model them. Good sportsmanship, integrity, and kindness, to name a few of those qualities, are prime examples. We seem to live in a world of “do as I say, not as I do”. Children are observant and intelligent and see through this so easily. They know when things do not add up and are inconsistent. In a world that changes so rapidly, adults need to be vigilant, authentic, and careful about the modeling they do.

Stephen Sondheim wrote this song for the musical, Into the Woods. I enjoy songs with deep meaning in the lyrics and this one is a prime example

How do you say to your child in the night?
Nothing’s all black, but then nothing’s all white
How do you say it will all be all right
When you know that it might not be true?
What do you do?

Careful the things you say
Children will listen
Careful the things you do
Children will see and learn
Children may not obey, but children will listen
Children will look to you for which way to turn
To learn what to be
Careful before you say “Listen to me”
Children will listen

Careful the wish you make
Wishes are children
Careful the path they take
Wishes come true, not free
Careful the spell you cast
Not just on children
Sometimes the spell may last
Past what you can see
And turn against you
Careful the tale you tell
That is the spell
Children will listen

How can you say to a child who’s in flight
“Don’t slip away and i won’t hold so tight”
What can you say that no matter how slight Won’t be misunderstood
What do you leave to your child when you’re dead?
Only whatever you put in it’s head
Things that you’re mother and father had said
Which were left to them too
Careful what you say
Children will listen
Careful you do it too
Children will see
And learn, oh guide them that step away
Children will glisten
Tamper with what is true
And children will turn
If just to be free
Careful before you say
“Listen to me”

Life’s Purpose

Professional development days at school leave me wanting so much more. It is a pretense of doing something, but is busyness personified. I am left tired, unsatisfied, and with a bit of headache. I just want a choice. What fuels my spirit?

Day’s end arrives,

Quiet seeks me out–

Busyness dissipates;

A frenetic pace abates–

No hurry,

No frantic pursuit of something;

Whatever that thing might be

Remains uncertain…

Unclear,

Lost in a mist

Focus a little off–

I remain unsatisfied

Until, I wonder aloud:

What is life’s purpose?

Or is life its own purpose.

That Space, That Silence

It has been another long day. I am not always a politically correct person in the way some want. I struggle to say what the dominant group of the moment wants everyone to say. A reason we have polarization in the world is we want others to agree with us sometimes without giving reasons for it to happen. I might agree, but what about those who are not present?

That invisible space between us–

Between our truths

Sacred ground

Till it gently.

That silence you hear–

Almost imperceptible;

It is reverent

Hold it gently.

That space,

That silence,

Emerge magically

No recipe needed.

That space,

That silence,

Easily chased away–

Shhh…

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