Solutions Rule

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January 12, 2021-

As one group of leaders sees their rule of the United States wind down, and another group prepares to take the reins, it’s crucial to keep an eye on what answers are offered to the problems that face both the nation and the planet.

The pandemic being at the top of most lists, among matters to be resolved, I place most of my hopes for its control and eventual banishment on fostering wellness. This is actually true for most, if not all, microbial diseases. A virus or bacteria is programmed to mutate, and so can do an end run around vaccines, year after year. Those who have not contracted a given disease, even when its occurrence is pandemic, can point to their strict adherence to a wellness-infused lifestyle, with an organic-based diet, avoidance of processed sugar, regular and hearty exercise and a regular regimen of proper rest, meditation and a solutions-based mindset. I am not 100% there yet, but am working on it, consistently.

Human relations will outlast the current pandemic, as a key societal concern. To my mind, the biggest barriers to peaceful human relations are three: Insecurity; the egoism that stems from insecurity and the “silo-mentality” which follows from those two. Racial tension is a symptom of these three barriers, as is ideological division. A friend posted today about the roots of insecurity largely coming from children not being valued and nurtured, which is something I’ve noticed in the most difficult people from my past. The love they did not seem to have received led to their bullying and egosim. It also led to all manner of illness, both physical and psychological. Look at an addict, and see the mirror of failure to thrive; likewise, tyrannical behaviour and manipulative personalities.

So, as I’ve indicated in other posts, enveloping a person with love and the sooner the better, the less chance we will see a problematic individual, further along the line. The more a young woman feels treasured and supported, the less likely she is to even find herself in the position of unwanted motherhood, much less to seek deadly solutions to that predicament. The more any person feels wanted and cherished, the less likely s(he) is to pursue life-defeating alternatives to wellness or to a solutions-based lifestyle.

This is, of course, a synopsis, an encapsulated view, yet a culture of authentic love is much more likely to lead to solutions for even the most intractible of issues. Solutions, not surrenders, are what rule.

The Summer of the Rising Tides, Day 30: The Best Defense

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June 30, 2020-

In the sport of American football, it is frequently said that “The best defense is a good offense.” This has made its way into the legal profession, as well, and seems, unfortunately, to be widely applied in many areas of life these days.

When both sides are engaged in offense, with no room for discourse, the cacophony is exhausting. I recently stated that judgment, in its true state, was reserved for the Divine. A member of my own Faith roared back that, essentially, he had every right to judge someone whose behaviour was obviously reprehensible.

Well, no, he does not. The defensiveness that leads to viciously attacking another person is rooted, completely, in insecurity. The same is true of political extremism, right and left. It is also found in religious fundamentalism, which exists in EVERY Faith on the planet. Jim Morrison, of the Doors, once sang, “People are strange, when you’re a stranger. Faces look ugly, when you’re alone.” The problem is, the more one attacks others, the more s(he) is likely to savaged in kind. We see the Far Right (QAnon, etc.) claiming that the Left is a collective tool of the Fascist “Deep State”. We see the Far Left (Antifa, etc.) returning the volley against the current Administration. This back and forth is fueled, as well, by the inconsistencies and secrecy exhibited by both sides. Secrecy, outside of an individual’s private business, or military strategy, is rooted in insecurity.

I was raised by parents who taught there is always a grain of truth to what someone is saying. Acknowledging that one truth CAN be a way to help the errant person move away from those beliefs and sentiments that are problematic. No, it may not work immediately. It may not, in some cases, work at all. It is, however, something to consider.

The best defense is, actually, being in it for the long haul.

Staying Independent

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July 4, 2019, Saugus-

I will continue (go back to) my photo blogs, in the next few posts.  Jumping ahead to the Fourth of July just seems best, though.

I had a conversation with someone very close to me, during the family gathering at a niece’s home, this afternoon.  One thing rings very loud and clear, from this discourse and from other conversations I’ve had, these past few months:  Many people are feeling put upon by aggressive individuals and groups, who take a point of view opposite that which they happen to hold.  Many individuals and groups ARE resorting to the use of force, when confronted with those taking such opposite viewpoints.

I was raised to hear other people out.  My parents, social conservatives, made a great effort to understand even the most seemingly ludicrous viewpoints.  I have maintained an open mind, as a result, throughout fifty-six years of adolescence and adulthood.  Civil Rights have long been a matter of supreme importance in my life, and that cuts both ways.  The Right cannot bully people of colour, of Faiths other than that of the majority in a community, or those living a lifestyle different from that which is conventional. The Left, likewise, cannot deprive people of more traditional bearing, of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  Violent behaviour, on either side, is the stuff of fascism (even when the bully calls self “Antifa”)

I am, as it happens, an obstinate soul, when people without authority try to force me to do their bidding.  Additionally, I question those who DO exercise authority, as to the ethical basis for their actions.  That is what I get from both the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution.    That is what I get from my Faith.

So, to my family-my elders, siblings and cousins:  You all matter, greatly.  Your point of view has at least some validity and is worth hearing, and pondering.  Our family is large, so there are all points covered, on the political spectrum. I will not plug my ears to any of it, so long as you do not ascribe to a coda of violence or or a policy of defamation against your opposite numbers.

To my children, nieces/nephews, and “grands”- You are, one and all, a great hope; you are people of immense promise and, especially if you are feeling vulnerable,  are worthy of all the support and love that we, your elders, can muster.  We cannot spare you from life’s ups and downs, but we can point towards the light. This is the very least we can do, in building and safeguarding your own sense of well-being and independence.

Most of the problems we face, when it comes to intolerance and reactive violence, seem to stem from the violent ones acting out of insecurity.  In truth, though, i have to ask, “How does a person expressing an alternative point of view, in and of itself, constitute a threat to my well-being?”  It may be annoying, but it is not a threat-unless accompanied by force-which then makes it an entirely different matter.

Staying independent means, to me, that one takes the time to carefully examine issues and evaluating a variety of points of view.  It also means extending that right to independence to every one else.  These are my thoughts as the Sun goes down on another July 4.

Inside, Outside

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September 14, 2017, Prescott-

Perhaps my own wandering nature

and tendency to hang back,

in novel situations,

are partially to blame,

but all my life,

I have encountered situations,

mostly at work,

where a small group of insiders

has kept me out of the loop.

I can even recall one occasion,

where I confided in my wife,

that I was not sure that I could

trust the school district administration.

I was the principal of a one-school district,

unable to trust the people who hired me.

Frequently, here in town,

I have felt the same.

Valued by the students, parents, and my peers,

but seemingly held in disdain,

by a small, elite group,

who have been here way too long,

I’ve hung on.

The latest such situation ended, today,

and I will now be working with

members of the same, appreciative

and open-minded group,

with whom I happily worked in Spring, 2016.

I wonder what happened,

to the in-crowd,

who obviously love children,

at some level,

even if their “My Way or The Highway” mentality

sets the children off,

so unnecessarily.

Why are their wagons in a circle,

so that my job becomes

“do what you’re told and keep still”?

I’m grateful for my new/old team.

It’s not an age thing,

because, while the team lead is a Millennial,

there are others in their 40’s and 50’s,

and I will be 67, in two months’ time.

It’s not a gender thing,

because, while I am still the only male,

I am not excluded by these ladies,

from any aspect of the work day.

I’ve come to the conclusion

that insecurity breeds insularity.

The Road to 65, Mile 299: What Is School?

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September 22, 2015, Chino Valley- I am gratified that my sleep and energy levels are proving more than adequate to do the job I have been given- and will get more in tune with the students and their needs, in short order.  A lot of time and energy will need to be devoted to shoring up their skill levels, to say the least.

Much has been said about the “dumbing down” of the curriculum, with an idea that the common denominator, in a polyglot world, is pop culture.  There are uses to which phenomena, like Hip Hop can be put, but seriously, I see no good use for lowered expectations,double negatives, coarse speech and mangled grammar.

A longtime friend complained today, that teachers are getting all the blame, for students’ lack of success, and that people should stop crying Victim, every time they are criticized.  She is right on both counts, and I attribute these phenomena to false pride, if not narcissism- and both are rooted in insecurity.

Teachers are just part of the team that raises and nurtures a child.  Parents, extended family, community members, and the child herself, are equal partners in this effort.  No one should get off the hook, when a child fails.

I will need to do a lot of one-on-one and small group tutoring, both during, and outside of, the school day, in order to bring my students up to speed. There will also need to be consistent parental encouragement and efforts to provide a stable home life.  The child needs to be taught responsibility, as one of the finest supervisors I  have ever had kept saying, day in and day out, in the Fall of 2001.  That supervisor was 18 years of age.  She was a prodigy, and is now a Master Teacher, at age 33.

School is more than just a building.  It is a community, a center, a medium of exchange (in the ideal sense, not in the financial sense).  It needs to be a refuge of hope and of strength.  We have a long road ahead.