..when you’re having fun. …when you’re sick. … when you’re not paying attention.
All these happened to me this week. But what struck me most was a Memory that popped up on my Facebook feed from exactly seven years and one day ago when my family and I witnessed in person the inauguration of the first African-American President of the United States. What a privilege to be able to travel to Washington D.C. and stand on the Mall with about 1.8 million others!
How far we have come in seven years! Yet, how far have we NOT come, especially given the hope and promise of that day.
But the glass half-full/empty reflection applies to my own life as well. I’ve ventured further into the frontier world of educational technology than I ever imagined. Yet how many knitting projects remain on the needles, books remain unread, relationships require tending.
As I get older, a year becomes a progressively smaller proportion of my life, which is why it feels like it’s flying ever more quickly by. *sigh* Wait for me.
On this national holiday many will celebrate the inspiring legacy of this remarkable American hero. However, like the Blind Men and the Elephant, we can easily focus on just one trait or speech or quote, leaving nuance and complexity by the wayside, ignoring the big picture. I find the whole man who was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. more interesting than the sound bite. He was a preacher, scholar, activist, husband, father, sibling, teacher, friend, AND annoyance, threat, plagiarist, criminal, enemy, depending upon whom you ask. This article reminds us of his more radical side. In seeing the extremes, we realize the bulk of the truth lies somewhere in the middle.
(UPDATE: Now, apparently, there is a new threat — “Lawnmower Parents” who don’t just hover, but clear a path.)
A number of recent articles have addressed the widespread problem of Helicopter Parents, those who are overinvolved and overprotective to the point that their college-bound children suffer from helplessness when confronted with everyday obstacles on their own. Even before such behavior had a name, educators among themselves identified these parents as impeding their children’s education, as preventing kids from the pain of struggle and the joy of discovering their own competence.
However, educators can be guilty of helicoptering, too. In revisiting her revolutionary paradigm of “Growth vs. Fixed Mindset”, Carol Dweck bemoans the flawed implementation that growth mindset is only about effort or that fails to claims to value growth mindset but fails to follow through. Even teachers with good intentions can fail to provide students with challenges that allow them to become truly confident and self-sufficient. Sometimes they water down their curriculum because of parent complaints. Teachers need to hold fast to what they, as professionals, know is sound educational practice; parents need to trust them.
Let’s all do better for our children!
These two tweets appeared ironically next to each other in my Twitter feed, a question and its answer. On the heels of the 6th Republican Presidential Candidate Debate and the eve of 4th Democratic one, candidates and pundits alike could take some advice from Amin Maalouf.
What’s saddest to me about the current low-lying swamp level of political discourse in our country is the identity we are presenting to our children and to fledgling democracies around the world. We all teach by example, whether to our own children or to history. I’m not terribly proud of us right now. I’m hoping a combination of responsible media and a critical mass of viewers/citizens say “we’re not gonna take this any more” and change the direction. I can only hope.
Image from chinatopix.com
The incomparable actor Alan Rickman died today and I am bereft. I admired his performance in Die Hard, adored him in Galaxy Quest, and fell in love with all things Alan Rickman thereafter with Sense and Sensibility. “The air is full of spices!” The internet abounds with stirring and detailed tributes to him and his work. I’m re-watching Galaxy Quest now to laugh instead of cry.
A friend on Facebook observed that the reason we mourn the deaths of artists whose work greatly affected us is not because we knew them, but because they helped us to know ourselves. That is indeed the gift of great art. RIP, good sir.
Yesterday in class I apologized for what felt like an entirely too lengthy passionate rant about the value of literature. But my students encouraged me to continue and one said, “It’s okay; it’s like a TEDtalk.”
Would you knit this?
I suppose one could get all Freudian about this project by a Dutch textile designer, but I prefer to focus on the glory that is several knitted life-size creations. Not my cuppa tea, but, hey, it’s art!
Note that she’s also produced knitted food and plants and other goodness. Love it!