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Monthly Archives: January 2013

I tweeted this out last night and commented, “It could be the end of day rays embracing us” or words to that affect. But, I could not pass up on this as a beginning of day re-blog with a beautiful image and wonderful little poem to greet the day.

TINY LESSONS BLOG

First shy rays of light

peek over the horizon

a new day on earth.

Fresh, full of promise

the day opens its loving arms

fulfill its purpose.

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Accepting This

When Kathy and I decided I would teach one more year, I wanted to make it the best year possible. I tired last year, was in physical pain, and it was difficult to be there for students as I wanted. I examined my life as Socrates suggested. I realized I focused on things I had little or no control over which is unlike me. I knew I wanted this year to be different and I worked hard the first 1/2 of the year in that respect. I remind myself I can only do what I am capable of doing. I stopped planning and organizing that which is not plannable or organizable and take a breath now and then. I choose to accept my life as it unfolds and as I author it in this moment. I owe this to the students and their families who support them and me.

Mark Nepo reminded me today of this as I read this beautiful poem.

Yes, it is true. I confess,
I have thought great thoughts,
and sung great songs—all of it
rehearsal for the majesty
of being held.

The dream is awakened
when thinking I love you
and life begins
when saying I love you
and joy moves like blood
when embracing others with love.

My efforts now turn
from trying to outrun suffering
to accepting love wherever
I can find it.

Stripped of causes and plans
and things to strive for,
I have discovered everything
I could need or ask for
is right here—
in flawed abundance.

We cannot eliminate hunger,
but we can feed each other.
We cannot eliminate loneliness,
but we can hold each other.
We cannot eliminate pain,
but we can live a life
of compassion.

Ultimately,
we are small living things
awakened in the stream,
not gods who carve out rivers.

Like human fish,
we are asked to experience
meaning in the life that moves
through the gill of our heart.

There is nothing to do
and nowhere to go.
Accepting this,
we can do everything
and go anywhere.

This quote reminded me of the new Margaret Wheatley book, So Far From Home. We each have a small contribution we can make to the world and its sustainable future. Some of it is opening our eyes, heart, and mind to the reality of this moment we live in. Another is preparing our children to live life moment by moment and do the best they can to build relationships with each other and the world.

Practical Practice Management

“I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.”  ~ Helen Keller

1406911_dirt_road_with_maple_trees_in_winter_sunrise

09/15/14

 

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Shoulders

Yesterday, a student grumbled about not liking Math. I responded by saying I did not enjoy it either in school. She looked at me and asked me why I taught it. I explained I am not a Math teacher which elicited a comment about how good I was at it. It all reminded me of the adage: “We do not teach subjects. We teach children.” Or that is what I should do.

I looked for a poem that addressed this need to be a teacher of children. It is a calling. I think of the teachers I had who enjoyed being in the classroom and they carried each of us gently. Naomi Shihab Nye spoke about this lifting up of children and learners. I choose to be a learner with my students. I owe them being able to teach them Math even if I don’t enjoy it.

A man crosses the street in rain,
stepping gently, looking two times north and south,
because his son is asleep on his shoulder.

No car must splash him.
No car drive too near to his shadow.

This man carries the world’s most sensitive cargo
but he’s not marked.
Nowhere does his jacket say FRAGILE,
HANDLE WITH CARE.

His ear fills up with breathing.
He hears the hum of a boy’s dream
deep inside him.

We’re not going to be able
to live in this world
if we’re not willing to do what he’s doing
with one another.

The road will only be wide.
The rain will never stop falling.

I have always enjoyed Shel Silverstein’s quirky humour. I also learned he wrote A Boy Named Sue sung by Johnny Cash. I knew he wrote many songs, but did not know that tidbit. And I too will write a book with my computer when I can think of what to write.

Silver Birch Press

Image

WRITER WAITING

by Shel Silverstein

Oh this shiny new computer–

There just isn’t nothin’ cuter.

It knows everything the world ever knew.

And with this great computer

I don’t need no writin’ tutor,

‘Cause there ain’t a single thing that it can’t do.

It can sort and it can spell,

It can punctuate as well.

It can find and file and underline and type.

It can edit and select,

It can copy and correct,

So I’ll have a whole book written by tonight

(Just as soon as it can think of what to write).

###

“Writer Waiting” appears in Falling Up, poems and drawings by Shel Silverstein (HarperCollins, 1996), available at Amazon.com. (And I recommend that everyone have a personal copy of this delightful book.)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Chicago native Shel Silverstein (1930-1999) was a poet, songwriter, singer, cartoonist, screenwriter, and author. Other notable books include The Giving…

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To be of use

Yesterday, I spoke with a frustrated parent. Our little school thrived because parents contributed in meaningful ways to their children’s education. This parent said she was felt like an unpaid employee whose efforts were no longer valued. Now, she could have been just being nice, but she told me she felt welcomed and appreciated in my classroom.

When we ask people, of all ages, to do something they should feel welcomed and worthy of the effort they give. Marge Piercy wrote about this human need to do real work. We find purpose, worth, and identity in our calling. Voice and vocation come from the same etymological roots. We find voice in the work that chooses us. Real work calls us and makes us whole.

The people I love the best
jump into work head first
without dallying in the shallows
and swim off with sure strokes almost out of sight.
They seem to become natives of that element,
the black sleek heads of seals
bouncing like half submerged balls.

I love people who harness themselves, an ox to a heavy cart,
who pull like water buffalo, with massive patience,
who strain in the mud and the muck to move things forward,
who do what has to be done, again and again.

I want to be with people who submerge
in the task, who go into the fields to harvest
and work in a row and pass the bags along,
who stand in the line and haul in their places,
who are not parlor generals and field deserters
but move in a common rhythm
when the food must come in or the fire be put out.

The work of the world is common as mud.
Botched, it smears the hands, crumbles to dust.
But the thing worth doing well done
has a shape that satisfies, clean and evident.
Greek amphoras for wine or oil,
Hopi vases that held corn, are put in museums
but you know they were made to be used.
The pitcher cries for water to carry
and a person for work that is real.

I know I am a couple of days late, but here is a great visual of the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial with the wonder of his words.

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