Appreciated

11

May 8, 2018, Prescott-

Last week was Teacher Appreciation Week, in our school district.  Today, on a national scale, is Teacher Appreciation Day.  As with Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, most will be honoured and appreciated.  Some will meet with hostility or indifference from their charges.  Well, we can’t legislate love and honour,now, can we?,All in all, this year I feel appreciated and respected-both by my colleagues It is a work in progress, just like last year, but day to day we are on point and have proactive plans that are student-centered, rather than centered on outside interests.

My own perspective and focus have also returned to that which I held in the 1990’s, before the political firestorms of 1998-2001, and before Penny’s health became my be-all and end-all. Back then, it was the total student who mattered.  The building and sustaining of wide-ranging goals and dreams are again front and center.

Appreciate people and they appreciate you back.,

Where I Need to Go

14

May 4, 2018, Prescott-

I went back onto a Facebook site, where I had been inexplicably trolled, about a week ago.  There are just too many good friends on that page, and the one troll is probably gone by now.

I went into work, a half-hour early, as is my practice, so as to set things in place for a successful day.  We had carnival, this afternoon, and one of the students spotted the rides, whilst we were on our daily walk.  That took us to carnival early.  It was no use trying to talk that student out of heading onto the carnival grounds, especially once she saw the Tilt-a-Whirl.  Three rides sufficed, though, especially when our weekly movie and popcorn were mentioned.  The needs of our students are relatively simple.

I am headed down to Tempe, tomorrow, as the Baha’i meeting planned earlier, will take the entire day.  The Prescott area is where I need to focus, most of the year, for the next three years.  Of course, emergencies could always happen elsewhere, and plans change.  Right now, though, I am fine with being here, eleven out of the twelve months.

My head and my heart are pretty much in sync, after all the fumbling and misinterpretations into which I have fallen, during my extended period of mourning.  I’m grateful for the large number of friends who have surfaced, from every corner of the world.  It’s said:  Quality, not quantity.  Well, I can testify that one does not negate the other.

I am letting necessity determine my locus and love light my path.

NEXT:  Catching up with Antonio

May, and I’m Not Away

4

May 1, 2018, Prescott-

There are 3 1/2 weeks left in our academic year.  I have two days off left- Tomorrow, for a Baha’i Holy Day- the Twelfth Day of Ridvan (more at that time) and a dental appointment, in two weeks’ time.  Otherwise, weekdays will find us finishing what we started, for our four remaining students.

I won’t leave the state of Arizona until Memorial Day weekend and another “Where’s Waldo?”month.  There is so much yet to do and to thoroughly enjoy, in the meantime, that I am hard put to make preliminary arrangements for June.  You know, though, that I’ll get ‘er done, in plenty of time.

I’ll be back in Tempe, on Saturday, for a daylong Baha’i conference.   Sunday will be spent reconnecting with a few long-lost friends, and honouring a very special young lady, on the cusp of her high school graduation.  Mother’s Day weekend means Prescott Valley’s 40th anniversary.  I may also head to Tucson, to see an ailing friend, if he’s up for a visit.  The third weekend will be mostly Baha’i business, planning and prepping for the summer months.

One of my friends here has posted about making a Vision Board.  I might try my hand at that, either next week or the following.  It’d be good to do this in the presence of our peer tutors in the classroom, as it might inspire them to do the same.

May is sweet, hot (at least after this coming Saturday) and a time of culmination.  I intend to truly savour the blessed days.

Chains: Part 1

20

April 26, 2018, Prescott-

I walked, and stood alongside, my co-workers this morning. We are among many, in several states, who are making a statement in favour of actually showing the nation’s public schools that they are important to our nation’s security. This includes granting teachers and other school workers a living wage. By living wage, I mean that a family of four can pay its rent/mortgage/ property tax, insurance, utilities and basic living expenses, which include savings and modest leisure pursuits, without the need for one or both parents to hold down two (or more) jobs.  Most people in this community get that.  There are a few who think otherwise, and I note that they have theirs.

Let’s be clear:  I believe in EARNING one’s way. I do not believe in indentured servitude or de facto slavery.  A job well done should be a job well remunerated.  A few conservative thinkers, believers in the free market system, have shown how this can be done- without shorting the colleges and universities, or the public health system.  (Both are cited by some legislators, as reasons why the schools should make do with less.)

I do not buy the argument that “only Communists” want teachers to get higher pay. (Yes, this has been advanced by some legislators here, because ONE teacher admires Noam Chomsky.)  For the record, I have co-workers who love President Trump and who are adamant about raising revenue to improve the schools.  Also, I am a political independent, who loathes dictatorships of any kind.

There are other chains I want to break.  More is coming, as is Part II of the Antonio Ribeiro story.

Observations on A Mid-April Morning

6

April 19, 2018, Prescott-

I appreciate the attention so many have paid to my reblog of the post on Bleach Enemas.  In what dimension anyone could think such a procedure is anywhere near good, I don’t know.  My blessed mother fought tooth and nail for our well-being, and would have clobbered anyone who even dared hint at something of this nature.  Dad loved us dearly, and would have had one thing to say to the suggestion of bleach enemas:  “Pig’s neck!” (His polite term for BS.)

Barbara Bush left a grand legacy of literacy promotion, continued by her daughter-in-law.  The gift of literacy is one key element, in the package of empowerment that loving people can offer to others.  Long may her legacy thrive!

Ridvan begins tomorrow evening, at sunset. It is the twelve day festival, commemorating Baha’u’llah’s Proclamation of His Mission to the world and His departure from Baghdad, towards Constantinople (Istanbul), on horseback and on foot, in April and May, 1863.  My Lord lived a life of exile, imprisonment and torture, yet, like unto Christ, never once turned His back on humanity.

Chalk-It-Up is Prescott’s annual art fair, at which a wide variety of chalk art is available for public view and on which viewers may vote.  I will be insanely busy on Saturday, but Sunday will find me taking in the wonders of human imagination, in that temporary gallery.

Arizona’s educators are winding up a vote, as to whether to walk out, or not.  I’ve cast my vote and will keep my own counsel on the matter.  My first loyalty, in any event, is to the students.

Speaking of whom, several students at our school will be out on the front lawn, in a 17-minute vigil, tomorrow morning, honouring the memory of the Parkland shooting victims.  They will then return to their studies.

Have a blessed day, my friends.

What If

5

April 10, 2018, Prescott-

We went over to the local YMCA,

this morning,

and the students did several elements

of gymnastics.

I confined myself to the trampoline pad,

doing five rounds of three minutes each

and a rest in between each.

Cardiovascular is critical to good health.

What if I had hung from the high rings

and jumped into the foam pad pit?

I have thought, quite a bit,

of through-hiking,

when I am about 74 or so,

perhaps the Pacific Crest,

or the East Coast Continental,

which subsumes the AT

and Florida Trail.

Maybe, I will get really

ambitious, and walk

from Nordkap to Gibraltar.

A veteran through-hiker

says it takes lots of money

to do any of  this.

I suppose one could argue

that it takes lots of money

to do anything worthwhile.

What if I did it on a shoestring?

These are random thoughts,

on a languid Tuesday.

 

Day by Day

6

April 3, 2018, Prescott-

A friend referred to things being too crazy.

Yes, we can see it all around.

The President supports this bill.

No, wait, he’s against it.

There will be negotiations with a foe.

“Are you kidding?  We can’t possibly do THAT!”

The stock market is headed for an epic crash!

Oh, well, that was yesterday.

Maybe again tomorrow, though.

“The Constitution says that mentally ill people

are entitled to possess a firearm,

for their protection.”

So much for a well-regulated militia.

Day by day,

it’s enough for me to love,

educate

and safeguard

our four charges.

It’s enough for me to serve

the Lord of the Age,

and work to unite

the human race

against the Forces of Darkness.

It’s enough for me to tend

to my own healing

and  that of my community.

The craziness will run its course,

and our Sun will continue to shine.

“Be Bigger Than Your Small”

13

March 31, 2018, Phoenix-

I just completed “Rich Dad’s Cashflow Quadrant”, by Robert T.  Kiyosaki, also well known for his previous book, “Rich Dad, Poor Dad”.  He reviews his own struggles with finances and concludes that the world of finance is comprised of four quadrants:  E (Employee); S (Self-employed); B (Business owner) and I(Investor).  The upshot is that the path to ending financial struggle ultimately lies in investing- using other people’s money to create wealth for oneself.

Mr. Kiyosaki goes far beyond dabbling in the stock market, though he does give several pointers on how to be successful in that aspect of finance.  He is not as big on diversifying, as I would have expected.  His emphasis is on intensive financial education, especially reading financial journals-and The Wall Street Journal.

What I’ve taken from this first reading of a powerful book is that I need to continue on the course I have set, though part-time work (which he says to make as temporary as possible, whilst saving and, bit by bit, investing) is likely for the academic year to come.  He says to learn from mistakes, not to try to bury them.  “Be bigger than your small!”, meaning to not let mistakes define oneself.

This is perhaps the greatest lesson that I have learned from the past seventeen years.  It’s reassuring to see a “high marker” corroborate it.

Rising

9

March 26, 2018, Prescott-

I attended a gathering, yesterday, at the Native American Baha’i Institute, which is 4 1/2 hours’ drive from here.  The occasion was an intensive flute making and playing workshop, by a long-time flautist, who is a friend.  Kevin visited our home, years ago, when Penny, Aram and I lived on the Navajo Nation.  His work is always worth supporting.

I will have more to say about the flute, and about the event, in my next post.  Today, though, a brief word is in order about the rising of those who have been subservient.

In the mid-1990’s, my mother-in–law would insist on the Victorian dictum, regarding children maintaining silence.  She would later come to regret that stance, but at the time, it was her way of keeping our son and his girl cousin in check. I disagreed, vehemently then, and do now. Children should be seen, heard, believed- and properly educated and guided.

Women have largely been relegated to a subservient role, over the centuries- across the globe.  Thankfully, this nonsense started to unravel, as far back as 1965, though people like my mother have never been content to have their voices go unheard.  The presence of so many strong women in my life has made such a state of affairs seem totally absurd to me, forever and a day.

When I was a senior in high school, one of the seminal events was the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., fifty years ago, next week.  In my social studies and English classes, I would raise the issue of civil rights, to a largely deaf audience.  My school, at that time, had five African-American students.  I knew two of them, brothers, who were kept at home, the day after the senseless murder.  There were hoots and hollers, expressions of satisfaction, by young men who have long since overcome their prejudice, born, as all prejudices are, by ignorance and fear.  There were tears shed by more enlightened young women, who dared to date young Black men, from the next town over.  My hometown is a more open-minded place, nowadays, and people are increasingly, though not completely, expanding their circles of friends.

There is a new world, a better place, rising from various ash heaps.

Enough

17

March 24, 2018, Prescott-

Great minds think for themselves.

300 people marched in our town

of free-thinkers,

a conservative majority,

and a vocal liberal minority.

Today, the conservatives

liberals,

and folks like me,

who are neither,

walked together,

had mostly civil discussions,

and in the end,

conservatives, liberals

and none of the above

stood together,

in a minute of silence.

There is no one trying

to sell the odious

Victorian-era epithet,

“Children should be seen

and not heard.”

Children should be seen,

taught to think,

and heard.

When what they say

is truth;

when what they  do

is sensible,

they should be believed.

Then, they should be supported.

On the edges of the march route,

there were 3-6 armed civilians.

They were not there to intimidate.

They were there to watch out,

for any crazies.

Ditto for the police

who were present.

One lone man

carried a sign

saying “Abortion is murder.”

He’s largely correct,

but it is not

up to men,

to tell women

how to manage

their own bodies.

It is up to women

to exercise their

consciences.

This is, though,

a topic for another post.

For now,

I need to remain

clear headed.

I need to remain

available to support

these two generations

of children and youth,

who are taking

responsibility

for themselves.

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Yes, there was a Trump supporter standing with the kids on the Courthouse steps.  There is something about people not being killed, that appeals to each of us.