Thursday, March 31, 2011

Is it really so Hard?

Today as I leafed through the daily newspaper and glanced over the eye grabbing headlines I was just about ready to toss the whole thing into the recycle bin (The bathroom trash can) when an article about our current President's desire to cut our dependence on foreign oil by one third by the year 2025. The article spoke of his desire and how that this was one of his stated goals less than 3 months ago when he spoke in his State of the Union address. The article continued to explain that the President did not offer any plan as to how we could do this but did make the excuse that the current events in the world had taken our government's attention since the day of his speech. In the media's view it is obvious that the events of the world have out weighed the importance of our domestic recovery and that it was only natural for it to take a back burner. After all our government can only do so much!

As I read this I wondered to myself what has changed? Do we not live in the day of greatest advantages ever? Do we not have the most educated population that America has ever seen? You see I ask this because it does not appear that we, as a country are able to solve our own problems! I say this as a teacher of 5th grade students who are studying the Civil War, Slavery, and the many other events that filled this portion of America's timeline.

Let us look at the year 1862. Abraham Lincoln has been President for 1 year, the Civil War has just begun, and our government has authorized the greatest national project ever undertaken...The Transcontinental Railroad! This project was the answer to 370 years of exploration for the fabled Northwest Passage and with it's completion the United States would be connected from sea to shining sea. So I ask you how was it possible for the government of 1861 who was engaged in the worst conflict this country had ever seen to under take such a monumental task? They turned it over to private industry and allowed them to do what they do best.

You may look at this and say what does this have to do with where we are today? Let me answer you by saying that our government of 1861 offered some great incentives to the companies who were willing to undertake such a task. They gave them land and money! Each company received 6,400 acres of land and $48,000 in government bonds for each mile of track they laid. Simply put they were rewarded for success. If they failed they got nothing. Progress was rewarded not failure.

So in the end the government of the 1860's saw our country through a Civil War and also oversaw the greatest project ever under taken to date. Both changed our country forever. Our leaders, both elected and those in the business world could learn a lot from the past!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

with no thought in my head

I find that it is always easy to write when I have a clear thought or focus but what I do not like is those moments in life when I am feeling uninspired and lacking creativity. It is my believe that if we make ourselves reflect on these moments of emptiness that we often can walk away feeling renewed and inspired.
 As a teacher I find this to be very important. Everyday has to be new. It has to be charged with creativity and energy. I am the tool of change that my students are depending on to make a difference...a positive difference in their lives. This change can not must happen now......and it must happen does not matter if I am tired, cranky, sick, or longing for spring kids need change. They need energy. They need me to bring the best I have to offer everyday.
 Therefore, I often have to look deep inside myself and find that place where all things creative come from and tap an energy that allows me to work beyond my self imposed limits. I refer to this as putting on a mask or a hat. Much like an actor who leaves themselves behind as they take on a roll. Most rolls we have in our life are bigger than ourselves...teacher, father, husband, friend, son, brother....each roll is the roll of a life time! When combined they are the things legends are made can anyone live up to such a roll. The answer is that we must forget ourselves and think of our audience...put their needs above ours. When we are able to do this then we are able to inspire and lead! It requires a lot of energy and a commitment  to our cause.

So as I begin to feel a little more inspired I will leave each of you with one more thought....when you settle to just do the bare minimum who suffers?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

In a Quiet Moment

Once, long before children and before I became a teacher, I used to have days filled with quiet. I remember that in those days it seemed that it was my soul goal to find ways to fill that quietness with motion and noise. I never took advantage of the time and just sat back and reflected on the day by kicking up my feet with a good book while listening to the wind rustle through the trees. Now it seems as though I long for the days of peace and quiet.
But there no longer are days but only moments. Often we do not even notice them because they are surrounded by turmoil and upheaval. each fleeting moment of peace seems to be lost because we no longer live for the moment but rather have already moved beyond that moment and the next and even the next. With many of us so easily wishing away a day, week, or month by our simple desire to reach a time of quiet and peace.
If there is one thing I have is this...that tomorrow holds no more peace for us than today. That our only hope of peace lies with in ourselves. We have the power to find the peace we need as walk from moment to moment, as we take a breathe of air before we start our next task, or those rare moments when we actually find ourself alone because everyone else's schedule coordinated into a whirl wind that some how left us behind. What ever the moment...take a second and pause, reflect, enjoy, refrain from feeling guilty or driven to do something with our moment ....just be at peace!

Monday, March 21, 2011

When no one hears you

Have you ever had the feeling that no one is listening? Or maybe that you are being ignored? It is an interesting observation that many people are very in your face and demanding when they need you to do something for them but when the table is turned and you are the one seeking help...where have all the people gone?

This is one of the most frustrating things that I faced as an adult. I have never understood how someone can tell you what a great idea something is and then start making excuses as to why they are unable to help fulfill the idea. Do they really think we are idiots? Come on and step up to the plate and tell us the truth..."I do not care one bit about what you are doing so please quit wasting my time!" at least that would save me the work of trying to schedule around your schedule so that you could be part of my big idea that you say you support and would love to be part of if you could just make it work out.
Do you remember the story of the little red hen who wanted to make the bread but no one would help her? They all were to busy and had many excuses to not help but once the bread was out of the oven they had no problem lining up and asking for some. Of course the little red hen was much more altruistic than I. She allowed them all to have some. Me? I think I am of the mind set that I would have to tell them to go pick there own grain and make their own bread as I sat in front of them eating my loaf of bread!
Some would say that this is not a very Christian attitude to which I say you are correct. However, I also read where God does not like the Haughty or the slothful. So if you are to good to help or to lazy to help please do not whine when you do not get invited to enjoy the fruits of others labors. As for me...I am sure that by the time my bread is out of the oven and cool enough to eat I will have decide to call everyone around and invited them to share in the bounty of my labors.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

On the First Day of Spring

Today we mark the first day of Spring on our calendar and sigh with relief as we see the Daffodils and the Forsythia burst forth from their wintery sleep. Our moods take on the same kind of change as the sun warms our face we cannot help but to smile and treat others a little nicer...a little warmer. But before I spring forward I wish to reflect back on the winter that has passed.
It seems that this winter was filled with many days of coldness and rain that soaked us to the bone. Their were days when the wind seemed to find its way through ever part of our being. And when we felt we could stand no more the sun would vanish for weeks at a time. It was as if our very existence was being put into question or at least our survival.
This type of winter produces to groups of people...the lonely...those who are not able to get out and visit and therefore must spend days on end in their house alone...and those the wished they were know the one who is stuck in their house with the whole family and no way out. Cabin fever, stir crazy, loony, psycho, at the end of our rope...what ever the term I was there! But, since I was in no mood to re-enact the movie Psycho or The Shining...I had to get a grip and channel that energy some way some how.
Now I know many of you go to the gym or work out on a tread mill or some other altruistic way of releasing your negative chi for something I am one has ever chased me on the tread mill so why run? And the whole gym thing seems like a big scam to take my money and sit back and laugh as they watch me have a heart attack. So instead I worked on what would make me happy. Some days that  meant that I stopped and took a nice long nap, other days it meant that I took on some project around the house, or I even broke down and played with my kids. In the end I found that on the days when I pushed through and did something extra I felt great and on the days that I took a nap because I was tired and unwilling to put up with anything so I went and took a nap I also felt great! So in the end...Winter came and went no matter what I did about it at it own sweet pace. My reason for rehashing this is that Spring has come and will soon be gone no matter what we plan accordingly, cease the day when it is appropriate and by all means nap often so that you can enjoy all that spring has brought you!