"This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy.
Our brains, our own hearts are our temple; the philosophy is kindness."
-the Dalai Lama
I spend many hours of my time constructing blog posts for this site which I hope... might encourage and inspire "Others" like my Self... have "march[ed] to the beat of another drum" throughout their entire lives. Most people need and thrive in a system whether in the home or in the schools... everything is prescribed... predetermined and measured using a table of "norms"... and is usually based upon language acquisition skills and one's proficiency using them.
Somehow... I never ever really felt myself in sync with the public school system... or believed that it prepared "Me" to enter the world off adulthood. It was on those rare occasions when I found myself seated in a classroom , such as the one I described in the grade five classroom of my mentor Evelyn Mott when I was offered the chance to grown on my own terms... yet still at the same time fulfill the prescribed curricula. I knew even then... what "magic" was in her pedagogy which allowed me the free-agency to develop on my own schedule... using my strengths, rather than focusing upon my weaknesses or failures.
I carried that forward with me into high school and there struggled (mostly unsuccessfully for seven years) to stay with my goal to graduate. Disappointment fuelled anger and resentment... and to find approval ... respect of my peers.... acceptance and my own pride in my Self, I found athletics, and mostly football to give me a lone reason to struggle on. I met an English teacher in my graduating year, who recognize3d and acknowledged my skill set... and he alone turned my life around and helped me re-establish positive goals and specific personal work strategies which helped me to graduate and go on to Teacher's College.
Mr. Taylor tragically drowned in the summer of my first teaching year. Four of us who had shared equally in his mentor ship drove to be at his funeral together to pay our respects... and to say our own thank yous. At his graveside, I made "Him" a promise... that I would continue to pass forward his gift to "Me"... with the same dedication to the teaching profession... and young minds... who dared to journey ..." on the road not taken."
And so in fact,,, "two roads did indeed diverge at a yellow wood for "Me"... and the choice I made has indeed... "made all the difference for "Me" I'd like to believe that I helped make that so for a host of students who shared my classroom and the excitement of sharing an equal partnership in the learning process during my career of over twenty-seven years. Despite the costs I have paid, perhaps remaining too long in the crucible, I would do nothing differently. For "I" am deeply blessed and now can continue encourage and inspire I hope in a new fashion... still acting as a springboard for others to realize and share their own gifts with the same courage... conviction and pride that "I" now feel... finally after so many years!
My youngest children Liam (18) and Bryn (16) finally were able to come to Rockport to share Christmas as they always have with Deb and I. They are fine young men... both have beautiful minds. Both are vastly different from each other in their views... strengths and goals. Booth as well are vastly different from each of my other three older children as well. It is a bit bitter-sweet for "Me" to come face-to-face with the fact that they now stand taller than I... and that like the magical "Puff", have indeed gone on to other toys and fancy stuff... electronic stuff which I neither have the ability or interest to be involved in. They playfully deride my completely dinosaur view of current technology... saying that I'm still back in the R2D2 days... and truthfully... I am!
But we have instilled in all of them a love for adventure both indoors and out... and the courage to speak their minds freely and to search for truth-based fact and personal knowledge to back up those words and beliefs. In short, "They" are all ... "Free Thinkers!... and "I" am greatly proud of them. They will be okay!
Bryn made a wooden tray with folding legs for use on our patio this summer in his grade ten (junior) technology high school class. He also cooked us a meal... Udon Noodle soup... completely on his own! What pride he showed in presenting these gift offerings to us! There is no greater gift... than to give from the heart... something made with one's own hands and mind in concert.
Brain+Heart = Kindness in action !!!
Independence... Learning ... Taught?????.... or caught! There's huge world of difference... and the "evaluation scale" is open-ended and limitless!!
It is here... at the not-so-round table... where "The Four Musketeers" have shared countless meals... rousing board games... and have cooperatively solved family issues as a family unit. We are responsible for helping to formulate strategies and rituals which will both prepare... and sustain children into an uncertain Future - a future that we cannot envisage... and will most likely not live long into''
"Teach your children well!"
Teach the Children
Crosby,Stills, Young and Nash
WE are all different... and need to be recognized ... accepted... and CELEBRATED for our differences !!!
Liam... our computer techie... builds his own computer hard drives... and now software from parts he buys from eBay. He is fluent in DOS, LINEX and whatever languages he currently uses... but hated French which was mandatory in all Ontario schools??????.... until grade ten. He gifted me with a wonderful book... always a book based upon what he observes... knows I have interest in... ranging from three copies of the Dalai Lama's writings to Canadian Landscape... picture books... this one being a book based upon historically y important Canadian photos from the archives of The New York Times. Such a swell piece of reading and fact-gathering for this ol' Daddy-O!
In closing... much has been offered by me... and perhaps even boringly so at times. Often ... I question carrying on further because I could be painting more. I would close today's post with a You Tube video that Bryn asked me to view with him. He felt that it really spoke to everything he knew about me and my journey... as he saw it. I was so moved... as to be unable to speak. It validated every step which I've taken in my own life... and the words came out out of the mouth of a young mind... who by "perception"... in a hugely "white world"... has left an indelible mark on my soul... and has added fuel to my own goal to continue down this "road not taken"... till it ceases for "Me"!
Google YouTube... Why I hate School but Love Education
And to show that The Arts are indeed integrated in what lessons they offer and teach in "education"... Google Teach the Children Well... and put your ears on ... and listen with your heart! There is Hope... but that Hope depends upon YOU... and your choices!!
If this means something to "You"... please sit and share it with those you love... and pass it forward!
Love (Heart) + and Education (Brain) = Matter (Kindness)... for our Future!
Rich blessings and Peace... and a Happy and productive New Year!
"I"... am an "educated" Man!... I offer Hopefully and humbly... that Children and Art Matter!
Good Painting!... to ALL!!