Sunday, January 30, 2011

In response to Egypt

What can one say? As we turn on the evening news and see the world in Egypt turned upside down. As a teacher of American history I cannot help but to think back to our own time of political upheaval that led to the American revolution or the anti slavery movement that freed a people or the anti prohibition movements that over turned a constitutional amendment or the activist movements of all the brave women who earned their right to vote or the civil rights movements that brought about equal rights for all Americans. Each of these started as a group of citizens who loved their country enough that they wanted better for it and understood that it could be better.

These movements did not kill our nation but instead breathed live in to her and caused us to strive to be something more than we were. This is my hope for Egypt. As they begin their path of change may it be change for the better and change for the good of all and not just a few. In the land where some of the oldest and greatest forms of civilization have existed and have inspired mankind for thousands of years may their actions in the coming days, weeks and months once again serve to inspire the world as to the power that mankind has when it strives to work together to create a better way.

So as we head to bed here in America let us remember the struggle of those in Egypt as they strive for freedom!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Upon Turning 45

45 ....this was once an age that I considered to be old and I am not even sure that I ever thought about what life would be like at this age. I have said before that from a meta cognitive point I have often thought about my own dad while I have been making my way as a father because Jacob and I are the same age apart as my father and I and I am also almost the same age my father was when I was Jacob's age! This has provided many interesting moments for self examination. But we will safe those for another day.

Today I am more interested in turning 45. Turning 45 means that I have been alive in the 60's, 70's, 80's, 90's, 00's, and 10's. I have also lived in two centuries and 2 millenniums. I have also been alive for 16.436 days. I have seen our space program put a man on the moon, build the sky lab, fly many space shuttle missions, and build the international space station. I have lived through Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush Clinton Bush and Obama as president. I have seen the transformation of technology from computers that took up entire rooms to the Ipod and Ipad....from the party line telephone to a telephone clipped to your ear.....I have seen gas prices go from 32 cents a gallon to $4.40 a gallon. And I have lived to see the days in which evil has come to be called good and good...evil.

But in the end it has been a great ride and the biggest changes have been made with in myself. If you have been a part of this journey than I owe you a thank you for touching my life. By doing so you have helped me to grow and change and have helped me become who I am today.

With that I will say happy belated birthday to me for this is one day late....and an early happy birthday to my son who turns 16 tomorrow! May your journey be as wonderful as mine has been so far!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Rolling Ball

Have you ever been sitting in a science class where your teacher is explaining the forces of motion by drawing a picture of a large ball sitting at the top of a hill? If so then you know that that ball has POTENTIAL ENERGY and that when an outside force that is greater than or equal to the mass of the ball acts upon the ball that the POTENTIAL ENERGY will transform into KINETIC ENERGY because the ball is now in motion. As the ball continues to roll down the hill we learn that there are outside forces working against the ball's state of motion like GRAVITY and FRICTION and that no matter the amount of POTENTIAL ENERGY that this ball once had these outside forces will eventually rob the ball of all of its KINETIC ENERGY and the ball will once again return to a state of rest. And such is the state of motion.

We of course are not unlike the ball. Each of us is filled with a certain amount of POTENTIAL ENERGY that just needs the right amount of encouragement or persuasion to get us out of our state of rest and into motion. The interesting thing is that it does not matter how much POTENTIAL ENERGY an object has if it is never put into motion. This is also true of each of us. After all, it is not the state of rest that matters but the journey we take while we are in motion that really counts!

For it is in or journey that we live and experience life and change those things we come in contact with. Sure there will always be those who try and get you down (GRAVITY) or who work to stop you (FRICTION) but they can not do so without you entering into the state of motion. And while we are in that state of motion we can make a difference. And always remember, that GRAVITY and FRICTION have not stoped you, they have simply returned you to a state of potential just need another little push to get going again!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Bird Feeders: An allegory for Society

As I stand with my back door wide open filling my bird feeders one at a time and refilling the bird bath, I am struck by the image of all the birds fleeing for safety as I opened the door. You would think that after some 5 years of providing feed for my feathered friends that we would have a more trusting relationship. After all, I am the one sacrificing my hard earned money to provide them with a source of food and unfrozen water. But in the end, they are only here to take my food and drink my water with no intent on friending me.

Now do not get me wrong, I do enjoy seeing all of my feathered visitors filling my feeders every day. It is a wondrous sight to behold. And over the years, I have gotten to see some birds that I am sure that I would have never seen with out the feeders. But still, in the end I am no more than a free meal.

As I thought on this, while filling the feeders, it reminded me of people and the issues we have in our society today. With our down turn in the economy and the slow recover their are many people who have been forced to depend on others for assistance whether it be the government or family or a neighbor. For those parties who have the ability to help it feels good to see others be blessed by what we have and we hope that some how these people will be blessed. When these people become frequent visitors it is easy to believe that they have also become our friends. (and this does not just pertain to the needy but to customers, students, parents, patients, doctors, or any other place where we can become regulars!) But in the end we are all just like the birds at my feeders. Once we get what we need we fly off to be with our own family and our own friends. As the old proverb from the 16th century taught us "Birds of a feather , flock together."

So in the end if just because you request the same waiter, always use the same hair stylist, have had the same doctor for years, or have helped the family down the street through a hard time do not expect them to leave their flock to join yours. After all, would you leave yours so easily?

In the end I will have to be content with the fact that my feathered friends are fat and happy on this cold winter day!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Giant Squid

I remember the first time I read 20,000 Leagues under the sea. The only reason I picked the book was because of the giant squid on the front of the book! I wanted to read about the battle with this horrible monster that was attacking Captain Nemo  and his crew. But, as I read the book I began to understand a certain discord ran through the story. I became less sure if the Squid was really a monster and more uncertain about who the real villain was in the story.

I have come to realize that the battles in life are more about figuring out who is really good and who is really a monster. Often the giant squid is just a side attraction in the battles of life and if we get distracted by the battle with the squid then the world sneaks up and takes us by surprise.

In the end it is best to keep our eyes focused on the prize and let the world fight with itself!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Trouble in the Air

The Fluff in the Tuft spoke with a huff..."How queer to hear the sound of fear coming through the air!" For the Fluff could fell a strange tickling in its ear that was coming from some where near.
In the thrush just past the brush there came a sudden hush.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Teenage years

You are warned about the terrible twos but does anyone really tell you what it is like to be the father of a teenager? I have heard from many the words "Just wait!" but what does that mean? As the father of a 16 year old and a 13 year old I am sitting here and wonder what it is I am supposed to be waiting the end I guess I can make a list:
I now have to wait for the shower
I wait to use the bathroom
I wait for the over flowing trash to be taken out
I wait for a new trash bag to be put in the can
I wait to use my house phone
I wait to use my computer
I wait for them to come to the car after school
I wait for them to make 4 trips back into their friends house to get all their stuff
I wait for them to come to the dinner table so I can eat
I wait for them to show me the papers I have to sign yesterday!
I wait for them to pick up their rooms
I wait for them to call and tell me when and where they need picked up
I sit here typing waiting to find out if their plans will out weigh my plans
I wait for my turn to pick a show to watch
I wait at an inconspicuous spot for them after a movie so I do not cramp their style
And I wait, and wait and wait.....I am not sure that this is what my friends meant but it is what I do. I sit back and wait and watch as my children find their place in the world. It is not easy and I do not always wait quietly but I can tell you that so far it has been worth the wait!

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Road

The Road is an analogy for the travel we are each on every moment of our life. Some times these are well trodden and well marked paths and t is easy to see our way. Other times the roads are less traveled and oft hard to see. But the most interesting times are those where we find ourselves in a place where there are no roads and we must make our own way and trust in our own navigation. These are the times that are filled with fear and excitement. The challenges of the unknown.

It is my intent to record the road on which I travel. Not the everyday walk but instead those times when I find myself in the uncharted waters of life. Hopefully I will learn as I reflect on the coarse that I have taken.