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Tag Archives: Educational Leadership

Morning Haiku

When I taught, I used haiku for a various reasons. They are included in two curricula: Language Arts and Social Studies. In Language Arts, students are asked to select words that bit fit rhythm and message of a poem. In Social Studies, haiku were part of a unit on Japan, its history, and its culture. The unit included traditional and contemporary examples. Last, but not least I enjoy haiku, as well.

I think students sense when teachers are passionate about subjects, but conflicting messages adults send can be confusing them. At times, students came to school and said a parent questioned them about why I made them learn “stupid haiku.” I worked for an administrator who made a similar comments. I tell others that leaders pick words carefully and poetry helps us learn how to make those choices.

I love poetry and haiku because they challenge me to think about choosing words, spaces between them, and punctuation. Language and its rules have power that we often overlook.

Sonia Sanchez wrote this haiku and it reminds me how I experience my day tells others something. When I responded to students about why we learned haiku, I chose my words carefully, tempering the conflict that arose because of how I experienced poetry versus how a parent did. I hoped the words I chose signaled something about my day well so that others could enjoy their day.

Let me wear the day
Well so when it reaches you
You will enjoy it.

Patience: Darkness and light, conscious and unconscious

Night after night, darkness enters the face of the lily which, lightly, closes its five walls around itself, and its purse of honey, and its fragrance, and is content to stand there in the garden, …

Source: Patience: Darkness and light, conscious and unconscious

The link includes a lovely picture of lily accompanied by a Mary Oliver poem, The Lily. The poem reminds me of the passage from Luke describing the lilies and wild flower, just being and growing.

Nature is what it is. There is a mindfulness in its creation and how it dresses. The lilies wait in their splendor for us to notice them and realize how they are always present. Nature and lilies teach us. To paraphrase Confucius, they open the door and we enter when we are ready.

Walker

Antonio Machado reminds us that the path we follow is both made anew when we walk it and that once we step we can no longer go back.

We can look back and see where we came from, but that is a distorted image and, the further we move away from that point in time, the more distorted the memories we recall. We can reflect upon those moments and steps in a caring way that takes place only after the step.

It is in mindful walking that we make the path. There is an awareness and senstivity that only happens in the very moment we exist in, the present. Our presence is important in that moment as we step and live at that point on our path of life.

The mindfulness of our steps is important when we realize we lead others in their steps. They cannot walk the identitical path to our path, but the way we compose ourselves is a model for how they might live.

Walker, your footsteps

are the road, and nothing more.

Walker, there is no road,

the road is made by walking.

Walking you make the road,

and turning to look behind

you see the path you never

again will step upon.

Walker, there is no road,

only foam trails on the sea.

Dear Universe

Dear Universe.

When you go to the linked article, you will see it is dated. However, it is not dated in that it carries a timeless message that we are able to share each day.

Kathy and I were blessed with our first grandchild in April, 2014. He is beginning to walk and his reach in the world is growing.

Similar to Mimi, new questions arise as we enter into a relationship like grandparents. We become elders and see the world through a new lens. When I spend time with our grandson, I do not feel rushed like I did at times when I was a parent with young children. I enjoy his laughter, when he plays with the little boy in the mirror, and as he snuggles and falls asleep in my arms.

I wish for a better world for all our grandchildren and children. One where we see each other in our human being and human becoming.

RUMI

RUMI.

As Rumi suggested, perhaps we look in the wrong places. When we pause and take time, we can sense where we are being called to look.

It is like an old country song which suggested we are looking in all the wrong places.

It is an issue of private shame

It is an issue of private shame.

The link is not to a poem, but rather to a series of quotes about hunger and the personal shame that comes with it. Politicians use hunger and other social justice issues as talking points and not seeing it as a matter of private and public shame in countries such as Canada and the US with their wealth.

On the left, we have politicians who would subscribe to giving people something. On the right, politicians would blame those who go hungry including the children. Giving people a hand up is important and walking with them is a part of the longer journey. Solving issues such as hunger is community work. It takes neighbours helping each other in those moments of need. Regardless of what we have, we share. Wouldn’t that be a powerful learning in our schools.

quotation: Henry David Thoreau (above morality by points)

quotation: Henry David Thoreau (above morality by points).

Thoreau provided great insights in living off the grid long before we thought seriously about that idea. Living life based on a checklist of moral behaviour is nearly impossible. Living a life that we are good at is a growing experience.

We cultivate our lives like farmers and gardeners when we pay attention to our work, our living. It is in the moment that we realize and recognize the ethical needs. Certainly, there are rules to live by i.e. The Ten Commandments and The Three Universal Truths of Buddhism. When we live life and include those rules and truths, it is in living that we become who we are. It is in living we become good for something.

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