Dreams Not Deferred

5

May 21, 2020-

After visiting the newly reopened American Legion Post 6 and stopping by Bill’s Pizza for a couple of slices, which I then enjoyed at a park bench, in Courthouse Square, I headed along North Cortez Street, and made note of more places re-opening, this coming weekend.

It was another of life’s sublime pleasures, to see a fairly good cross section of our area’s graduating high school seniors, lining up in their vehicles-sedans, trucks, SUVs and Jeeps, preparing for a motorcade through downtown, after which they would go to Pioneer Park, on the north side, for a group celebration. I stayed around and cheered all of the grads, as they drove by my perch on the outside of a long-defunct Chinese restaurant.

This group has been challenged to complete their course of study, in ways not seen since World War II. People of my parents’ generation may well identify, yet at least they got to finish school in their buildings. This spring semester, at all schools, has been an intense swirl of innovation-much of it accomplished on the spur of the moment. The best of it has relied on inquiry and discussion, followed by students coming up with solid new ways to accomplish things that had relied on formula, for far too long.

I had little to do with the achievements of this class of seniors, but I did cheer one young lady, a special needs person, who learned the value of setting personal boundaries and safeguarding herself, without, thankfully, having to undergo trauma. She can now take her place among those pursuing, and realizing, their dreams-hers being to work as a cosmetologist.

May each of these remarkable souls make their mark, not waylaid by any future misfortune-either greater or lesser than the one that interrupted, but did not dismantle, their last year of high school.

Transference

8

March 6, 2020-

I went into work early today, to have a conversation with my supervisor as to her assessment of my work so far.  I had a concern about how well I was being accepted by the close-knot staff, as there have been some expressions of hostility this week.

I need not have worried.  Both my supervisor and co-teacher are more than satisfied with the work I’ve done up to now.  They both want me to stay and finish helping our special needs student-and I will.

The legacy of Penny’s time and energy with me is, primarily, that she helped me get out of my own little world, giving up alcohol straightaway in 1981, being more present and comfortable in the presence of others, than I had been before we met.  It was, arguably, the first time I truly felt accepted by a woman, outside my family, since high school-when I had relatively little trouble getting along with my female schoolmates-even if I didn’t see myself as “dating material”.    Thus, what I viewed as rejection by others had much to do with my self-rejection.

Penny helped me transcend a lot of my self-doubt.  Some of it resurfaced, in the first years after her passing, but gradually, with travel to Europe, Oahu and northwestern North America, I began to recognize that I was not unworthy of acceptance and true friendship, from a wide variety of people.

My tent is huge.  I like people from a number of backgrounds- so whether their musical tastes are Classic Rock, European Classical, Country, Bluegrass, Zydeco, Blues, Jazz, Hip-hop,  Metal, ( but not “Death Metal”), Powwow songs or Folk, I enjoy their gatherings.  Whether someone is a person of size, svelte, or (like me) somewhere in between, it’s everything else about them-their character, primarily, that matters far more.  The same goes for other physical attributes.  Ditto, with political leanings, so long as the individual is not clamouring for the death and destruction of those with opposite leanings, be they conservative or liberal.  I like my friends to leave their silos and, at least occasionally, listen to the opposite point of view with open ears and minds. Everyone has a piece of the Truth.

So, the most influential soul ever to grace my world still has a day-to-day impact on how I view myself.  The spirit tells me to exude love for those around me, as well as for my own self, as life is hard enough for most people.

The Smallest of Things

6

February 12, 2020-

Sometimes, the smallest of tasks is the most difficult for people to solve.

The most ordinary, quotidian of quarrels can escape resolution.

The most mundane of household tasks can wait for days on end.

A quiet infant can be forgotten in the back seat.

So can a sleeping dog.

We are creatures of our senses.

We think that they need to be constantly

stimulated.

We are creatures of mind.

We think, and overthink.

The Big Picture is often

what we think matters most.

It has its place-

but it is as  nothing,

amounts to  naught,

unless the grunt work is done.

The teeth need brushing,

the shoes, lacing and tying,

the floor needs sweeping

and the car needs a visual-

before the driver leaves it,

and goes inside.

There is good reason

that the Great Teachers

called attention to

care for the least among us.

So it is,

that my task,

most likely until May,

is helping to care

for one Special Needs child.

Life is full of

second, third and fourth chances.

 

Gratitude Week, Day 1: Eight Valuable Groups of Friends

6

November 18, 2018, Prescott-

I am devoting Thanksgiving week to specific reasons for gratitude. Each day will address a theme that is cause for praise and happiness. Today, I want to look at what I’ve gained, from friendships with people in ten different groups.

Senior citizens:  Those over 75 years of age (my arbitrary definition of senior citizen) have accrued the life skills and practice to address even the most anomalous of occurrences.  Those who have all their faculties intact have consistently pointed me in the right direction.

Teenagers: Having worked largely with teens, over the past forty-two years, I find their honesty and energy have been life-affirming and have kept me very much in a place of integrity. A teen’s “BS Meter” is equal to that of a senior citizen.  The current generation of youth, at least those with whom I work, seem to know that much will be expected of them, in the very near future.

Children under twelve:  Like those immediately older than they, the current generation of children has a sense of most likely needing to clean up messes made by others. They tend to have a strong sense of destiny and are the least likely to “be seen and not heard”.  I find their honesty also very refreshing, even when it is seemingly adversarial.

Happily married (both genders):  I have many friends, both male and female, who are at a good place in their marriages.  The perspective brought by a married person, with no ax to grind, actually is a blend of both their opinion and that of their spouse-thus being more grounded.  I am more likely to become friends as well, with the spouse of  a friend who is happy in wedlock.

The firm in faith:   A person who is well-grounded, but not dogmatic, in their faith is most likely to be open to the commonality of spiritual truth.  As this commonality is the basic teaching of the Baha’i Faith, to which I adhere, I find this firmness a compelling basis for my friendships with many who adhere to other faith traditions.

The happily engaged:  Whether in gainful employment or in acts of voluntarism, a person who is happy in what s(he) is doing with time, is an affirmation of my own concept of acts of service.  Happily engaged people tend to be more trustworthy and connected with others.

Lifelong learners:  Students of life, of every age group, present fresh perspectives to any given situation.  They also challenge me to keep on looking into new issues, or to look at old matters, with fresh eyes.

Special Needs people:  Whether simple in nature or full of complexity, my friends of  special need are always up front about what addresses those needs.  It takes intuition, to understand the feelings and wants of a special needs person.  Anything that hones intuition is a good experience.

Having friends in each, and sometimes several, of these categories is largely what has contributed to the richness of my life.

 

 

 

 

PrescottWinter

2

January 10, 2017, Prescott-

Small patches of dirty snow,

chilly fog in morning- “Jan-gloom”.

Daily walk to start the morning,

boys find the puddles,

splash, and bemoan the cold.

Less tussling, and verbal bravado,

now that a Special Needs mom,

is in charge.

Here we are,

in the prime learning stretch,

between New Year’s and Spring Break.

The Road to 65, Mile 95: A Place for Everybody

8

March 3, 2015, Chino Valley- About 1:30 PM, as my students of the day were working on a lesson about contractions (the grammar kind), a little boy walked in, quietly took a seat and pulled his coat over his head.  I patiently coaxed him to take the coat off, and asked if he would like to work on the same lesson as the other students, having determined he was a Special Needs student and only in the room for a short time.

The Inclusion Specialist was with us for that hour, so after a few minutes of saying it was not his regular lesson, he walked over and joined her small group.  He did just fine, writing the contractions along with the three other children, and proudly brought the paper to me for review.  After a few extra minutes in the group, he was off again- back to his self-contained class.  This time, he walked with confidence.

Education, these days, is developing a penchant for several pathways:  Besides the neighbourhood/wide area school, and its long-time alter ego, the private school, there are charter schools, computer-based academies and home schooling.  The idea of one size fitting all is going by the wayside.  There are many upsides to the idea of education being a bazaar, of sorts.

The point that matters most, though, is the mindset of the educator.  Having been brought up to include everyone who happens by, in whatever I am doing at the time, whenever possible, the idea of marginalizing or of outcasts, leaves me rather cold.  Especially with children, the circle must embrace and raise up those who might easily be forgotten or displaced.  It doesn’t take all that much effort, and for the Post-Millennial generation, it is the most natural thing in the world to encourage those viewed in former times as misfits and outcasts.

I was reminded of this again, this afternoon, while reading a post from another blogger about the haughtiness of some in a tony suburb, in another state, and how easy it is for them to draw tight lines around their social circle.  Perhaps adulthood, such as it is, can have this effect on people- but who is the more mature, in such a situation?