Friday, October 30, 2015

I needed this today...

...maybe you do, too.

"... 'Paradoxical Commandments of Leadership:'
  1. People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered. Love them anyway.
  2. If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives. Do good anyway.
  3. If you are successful, you win false friends and true enemies. Succeed anyway.
  4. The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
  5. Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable. Be honest and frank anyway.
  6. The biggest men with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men with the smallest minds. Think big anyway.
  7. People favor underdogs, but follow only top dogs. Fight for a few underdogs anyway.
  8. What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight. Build anyway.
  9. People really need help but may attack you if you do help them. Help people anyway.
  10. Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth. Give the world the best you have anyway."
This is by Kent Keith (not Mother Teresa as it is often attributed) and it is piece of a pamphlet titled: Dynamic Leadership in the Student Council.

The fascinating story about how this became "by Mother Teresa" is here.  

I was sitting here feeling sad and frustrated and trying to not be overwhelmed by the sadness.  ...anyway with whispers of these commandments came to my mind, so I googled it.  

Here is the version we usually see, though it is intact:
The Paradoxical Commandments
by Dr. Kent M. Keith

People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.

If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.

If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.

Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.

The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.

People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.

What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.

People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Help people anyway.

Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway.

© Copyright Kent M. Keith 1968, renewed 2001

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Poetry Thursday, Advice from L. Erdrich

Advice to Myself
Louise Erdrich

Leave the dishes.
Let the celery rot in the bottom drawer of the refrigerator
and an earthen scum harden on the kitchen floor.
Leave the black crumbs in the bottom of the toaster.
Throw the cracked bowl out and don't patch the cup.
Don't patch anything. Don't mend. Buy safety pins.
Don't even sew on a button.
Let the wind have its way, then the earth
that invades as dust and then the dead
foaming up in gray rolls underneath the couch.
Talk to them. Tell them they are welcome.
Don't keep all the pieces of the puzzles
or the doll's tiny shoes in pairs, don't worry
who uses whose toothbrush or if anything
matches, at all.
Except one word to another. Or a thought.
Pursue the authentic-decide first
what is authentic,
then go after it with all your heart.
Your heart, that place
you don't even think of cleaning out.
That closet stuffed with savage mementos.
Don't sort the paper clips from screws from saved baby teeth
or worry if we're all eating cereal for dinner
again. Don't answer the telephone, ever,
or weep over anything at all that breaks.
Pink molds will grow within those sealed cartons
in the refrigerator. Accept new forms of life
and talk to the dead
who drift in though the screened windows, who collect
patiently on the tops of food jars and books.
Recycle the mail, don't read it, don't read anything
except what destroys
the insulation between yourself and your experience
or what pulls down or what strikes at or what shatters
this ruse you call necessity.

Somewhere in there was supposed to be a little hummingbird, but maybe he/she flew away before I snapped these?? Do you see the bird?

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

NRU education edition college for philanthropy? Sounds interesting and potentially awesome and potentially dangerous depending on who is giving the classes.

I can't even offer commentary on this piece about UC and whether or not they are spending enough on their core mission ... just read it and you decide.

Something else I am too tired to offer commentary on ... better late than never?  Or just WTF? Or please, it's just too little too late? I don't know, but here it is.  When teachers are crying in their cars or on their kitchen floors due to the pressure, and students are routinely not performing well, one has to question the value (and/or the purpose) of the standardized test.  And Florida is dealing with its own conflicting feelings about testing: superintendents hopping mad about tests used and statisticians rating Florida students as top five.  It certainly leaves me thinking that putting so much stock into standardized tests is at the very least deeply troubling.

As I am tangentially connected professionally to this topic, I can only offer this as an interesting read.

I hope this is really a good thing because too many companies have been taking advantage of the poor, marginally educated and undocumented folks when it comes to "higher" education.

On a happier note, mindfulness in schools is not only catching fire, it is also getting noticed in the media.  Except for the crazies who will sue the school for religious freedom, this is a good thing (ala Martha Stewart).

And here is what using data productively (instead of pejoratively) can do for a school.  Outstanding! This is the kind of school where I could be a happy teacher.

One more silver lining in the education edition:  East Los High, a netflix original series, is apparently not just a teeny bopper show, it is a teeny bopper educational experiment.  Now that is an interesting use of technology and education.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

sunrise, again

Sunrise has become a very special treat ... though sleepy, I am happy to catch the day beginning, the world coming back to life.
These are not from my early start yesterday -- but last week.  Yesterday the fog hugged the hills like a soft blanket, maybe fall is finally within our reach.

Monday, October 26, 2015

NRU silver linings

Here's one way to make lemonade out of lemons... share what you have even when the chips are down rather than cry over your drink. Love it!

Not really sure this qualifies for a silver lining, except that though this man died alone, the folks in this story spent a lot of time unraveling the story of his life.  In death, he was not alone, sort of.

I have a few more questionable silver linings to share ...
1) Junot Diaz stood up for Haitians against the government in the Dominican Republic, his homeland, in return the government took back an award it made to Diaz.   I daresay Diaz is more proud of losing the honor than for taking a stand.  My response is to give Diaz the good person/standing in his truth award.  Silver lining?
2) This man standing by his wife shouldn't be exceptional, but apparently because he is in the NFL it is?!  So, though I am suspicious of the notoriety, it is a silver lining(-ish) that his fame allows him the ability to shine a light on something we generally pretend is not happening.  May their strength and courage inspire other survivors to ask for help and receive it.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Proverb Thursday

Whatever you have in 
your mind - forget it;
Whatever you have in 
your hand - give it;
Whatever is to be 
your fate - face it!
~ Sufi proverb

Monday, October 19, 2015

NRU mostly CA sights

I was reminded of an episode of Star Trek Next Generation when Jean Luc is transported to a planet dying of drought as I read through the news articles this week.  So, here are some of the roundup, drought watch articles: 
This may not seem like something brought about by the drought unless you realize that our overuse of energy has a lot to do with our drought.
Not sure if using disposable plates and plastic ware will really help with the drought ... perhaps the compost-able ones?
Turn your pool area into astro turf? Well, that is another "solution" folks are instituting in times of drought.
Of pumpkins (and corn mazes) and drought ... when we lose our "precious" traditions, will we still see the value of our overuse of fossil fuels or our complicity in the climate change?
Finally, making a young boy's shark week dreams come true, climate change brings feeding shark to the dock near Alcatraz?
[There was also the poisonous snake that washed up in my hometown (a lot of coverage of the snake) ... thanks to El Nino - it has brought the snakes and the mudslides but what we need is slow steady rain and some snow in the mountains, so not sure it is the lifesaver some think it will be.]

In other news, yes there were a few news stories not drought related:
This sounds like a promising way to bring humanities professors to the academy - though admittedly not a necessarily replicable or sustainable.

Who knew there were so many people speculating about Disneyland's Haunted House? The only speculation really necessary, for me, is will it be open when I visit?!  Love that place ... always on my must "ride" list. [And ... should the article have had a posted warning that it was sponsored because why else would you do this story?!]

Wish I could have been home for this ... this is the real story of Junipero Serra and the Native Americans of California ... may they all rest in peace. I am still fighting mad over the *saint* status, but it is far more important that the truth of the "missions" be told.  If you can help on the last leg of their journey between LA and San Diego there is link on this page for places to stay, meals, coordinating...

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Poetry Thursday, RUMI!

I love my friends
neither with my heart
nor with my mind.
Just in case
heart might stop,
mind can forget.
I love them
with my soul.
Soul never stops
or forgets!
~ Rumi

Friday, October 09, 2015

NRU parenting edition, rant-y

I love small children.  LOVE THEM.  I find them infinitely fascinating and hi-larious.  I connect with them more often than not ... sometimes it is just through the eyes though sometimes it is talking or playing -- even with complete strangers.

I have always loved small children (I like the bigger ones, too), though I have never wanted to birth them.  I am also utterly perplexed by why so many parents of small children do not seem to know the first thing about these little creatures.

In this vein, I noted with interest and a little confusion some posts about toddlers.  While this one is hi-larious, and clearly true for many, many parents, I wondered at the post because it was so obvious.  Was it just for comedy or did this writer think it was a revelation?  I was also somewhat sad to see the way the parents respond in these "dialogues" because they frequently seem to not understand what the children are doing.

This other piece, nice but in some ways pedantic, also is perplexing.  Could it be that parents of toddlers not know what children are doing when they engage in this kind of negotiation or devolve into tantrums? 

Let it be known, I thoroughly enjoy walking through these conversations with my niece (who is four) and not so much with my nephew (who is 11).  I can see how tiresome it can become after long periods of time --  the "instructive" piece from the *child development specialist* points out the long term benefits and how adults can *forgive* themselves for getting it wrong sometimes.  The more often you are willing to be the adult (which sometimes equals the bad guy) the less often this conversation will turn into a meltdown. 

Kids *are* super skilled at pushing buttons, particularly in their parents, they are nothing if not the most able observers of the human condition.  Just ask any kid -- she or he will tell you all about the people around him/her.  If kids are watching adults meltdown in order to get their way, they have already learned that this is the easiest way to what they want.

When I saw that video about the six year old pleading for her mother and father to get along, I did not applaud her -- I felt sorry for her.  How much of this has she had to live through that she is not using it for her own gain (a kid's primary job/objective), but rather as a way to get her parents to stop warring.  Let's let kids be kids ... in all their sometimes annoying glory -- and let's be the adults who help them to learning how to deal with the world in a respectful way!

I did warn in the title it was rant-y!

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Poetry Thursday, in honor of the genuises

Love after love
-Derek Walcott

The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine.  Give bread.  Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.

Wednesday, October 07, 2015


Had another early start and was rewarded with this! 

Monday, October 05, 2015

NRU education

I was cleaning my email inbox (yes, I must have many other things to do that I am occupying my time with this), and I found a bunch of articles about education I have been apparently hording.

Here they are for your pleasure...

This is a little piece about testing, framed so that it purportedly takes on the parent perspective.

It should not surprise anyone that Jeb! is a fan of common core -- but it is somewhat surprising that he not take the party line on every little thing.  I think since this article, and Trump not going down in the polls, he is starting to sound more like a teabagger every day though.

Not really about education, in a schooling kind of way, instead this is about mothering.  In fact, it impacted me because it talks about how often we put our hearts and souls into something, like education, and even with adequate resources, time and effort, we cannot change a tragic (or stupid) outcome.  It is rare for mothers to admit this -- so I really appreciated the bravery in this piece.

I can't remember now if I shared these two already (could be) and I was just keeping them so that I could look at the transcripts ... but gonna share again, just in case I didn't before.  NPR covered a lawsuit against the school district in Compton about trauma.  I do not disagree that trauma causes students stress at school (at home, in life, etc.), but I am not sure how the school district labeling these students as disabled will help with the problems created.  My personal experience with IEPs does not lead me to believe that students will get better educations or more help in dealing with the issues.  If the problem is so great, it seems like the district might pursue healing projects, like mindful schools or peer counseling, that would benefit the entire student body.

This opening of the school year was very difficult for many districts, including Oakland, because of teacher shortages.  It is super interesting to me given the anti-teacher climate in the media.

Friday, October 02, 2015

NRU mishy and mashy

It is heard to know what to think or how to feel about this piece on a young woman with cancer who decides to have her brain preserved through cryogenics.  On the one hand, everyone needs to deal with death in their own way, and if they have the means to do this, who are we to say no?  On the other hand, money trumps everything?!  So, if young people stricken by brain cancer can get enough money together, they can attempt to stave off death?  But young people in the same condition who want to hasten their deaths, do not have that right?  At least the legislature in California finally got it together to send a bill to the governor - we'll see what he does with it.  I don't think citizens have a right to opine on the life decisions of other citizens -- but it seems that laws should not either.  I may or may not disagree with either of these young women, but ultimately it should be each individual's choice what to do with his/her life.

I am not trying to say that clowning or playing music for small children is in my immediate future, but I was inspired and impressed with Robert Markowitz's story finding joy and how what we do for a living is connected to that.

Volunteered at the food bank recently and discovered just how far we have come in getting fresh food into the hands and homes of people in need. It was wonderful to be a part of the endeavor.  Looking forward to this event to find reasonably priced, easy to produce food to be sold at "bodega" like stores in neighborhoods with limited healthy food options.  I love the whole idea - and can't wait to taste the chefs' creations!

An unlikely art collector discusses his obsession with art, in general, and how he came to Chicano art and the group CACA -- better than an ironic mustache, I promise.

I cannot believe I have to write about this *again* [and the irritated tone of voice my president used to describe his grief, anger and frustration sums it up pretty well].  I have a tremendous amount of respect for Sheriff Hanlin for denying glory to the coward who took innocent lives rather than get help, figure out his shit or just shut up and go home:
Sheriff Hanlin said at a news conference that he would not speak the gunman’s name.
“Let me be very clear, I will not name the shooter,” he said. “I will not give him the credit he probably sought prior to this horrific and cowardly act.”
 He also encouraged reporters “not to glorify and create sensationalism for him. He in no way deserves it.”

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Poetry Thursday (repeat, I think)

i carry your heart with me 
(i carry it in my heart) 
i am never without it 
(anywhere i go you go, my dear; 
and whatever is done by only me 
is your doing, my darling)
                                                      i fear
no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) 
i want no world
(for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; 
which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)
“[i carry your heart with me(i carry it in]” Copyright 1952, © 1980, 1991 by the Trustees for the E. E. Cummings Trust, from Complete Poems: 1904-1962 by E. E. Cummings, edited by George J. Firmage. Used by permission of Liveright Publishing Corporation.
Source: Poetry (June 1952).