Thursday, September 1, 2011
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Thursday, June 9, 2011
Monday, June 6, 2011
Thursday, April 28, 2011
Thursday, April 14, 2011
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Along with the spring renewal in the environment, I am finding myself in a perpetual state of bursting with feeling. Whatever the cause may be, such a level of feeling is a sure sign of life, and engagement with it. I am beginning to tire of this heightened level of feeling, and am having to try extra-hard to keep from smothering those nearest and dearest to me. My own level of feeling reminds me of a character in Lily Tomlin's one-woman show, The Search for Intelligent Life in the Universe. The character, Chrissy (if my memory serves me correctly), is overwhelmed by her feelings and about which another character within the show marvels, having been a person who at times has felt too little. While I am not entirely comfortable with feeling about to burst, I suspect it is much preferable to feeling too little. Until I can identify the source of this situation in order to dial it down a bit, I will continue to try to find constructive ways in which to release it. Just like the flowers and trees, it is a likely a season.
Thursday, March 17, 2011
In my neighborhood at least, the signs of Spring are becoming more and more apparent. Included in these signs are the first bits of early Spring color, the crocus flowers, and daffodils that are up in some parts of the region, though not in ours. New arrivals in our neighborhood include forsythia and cherry blossom trees. We can see a massive forsythia plant or grouping at the top of our hill. When this color begins and expands we are treated to a few weeks of glorious yellow color that is magnificent in its splendor. I am sure that I am not the only one to look forward to this bloom all year. I have now seen a few early budding cherry trees, that are preparing to burst forth and treat us to their display.
It is my considered opinion that the bursting forth of color in early Spring is an event that soothes the soul and gives hope for longer, and more clement weather to come, and to the promise of summer. How many of us are impervious to color and beauty? It goes back to my earlier theme of loveliness as a component for therapy in troubled times. Who can enjoy looking at the amazing splendor of the tulip color and crop, and not be at least temporarily relieved of our worries? Let us take a good long look, and return often to treat ourselves and to help us step back and see what nature has in store through spring renewal.
As is my custom, I took our two office dogs out for a walk this morning. It is a beautiful morning and others, both human and canine, thought so too. The office dogs are prone to maniacal behavior when confronted with people/dog combinations that is not really a threat to anyone, but is a statement all the same. We encountered three sets of people/dog combinations (who had the nerve to enjoy the beautiful morning outside), and a number of dogs behind their fences, to whom the office dogs felt the need to remonstrate. While the benefits of tired dogs are substantial, I may need a few days break to recover my resolve to provide the opportunity to walk and exercise in the fresh air for all three of us.
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Loveliness is a quality measurement of something lovely, and as such is a spectrum that provides quality of life for its viewers. Whether a little lovely, or very lovely, loveliness is a balm for me that helps to soften the sometimes jagged edges of daily life. How could we live without it, I wonder. Though loveliness is most definitely in the eye of the beholder, I suggest that it is one of those features that can soothe a savage-beasty, whether it is an irritant or annoyance, or a major calamity. I also suggest that promoting loveliness can help to make the world go round (so to speak).
Though not lovely per se, our dogs are often very energetic and even maniacal when on the walking path. Three young ladies were waiting at a bus stop this morning when we happened by. F&G as some of you know, show their enthusiasm for getting acquainted by lunging and emitting a sound very close to a growl (no doubt it is the strain of lunging). However, these young ladies did not know that F&G merely want to make their acquaintance so that they can progress to being their very best friends forever. Perhaps it was the lunging that was off-putting. We did manage to get past them, and move on our merry way. Oh, to be so misunderstood!
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Like many of my colleagues in higher education, I am accustomed to students whose math skills require remedial attention in a college environment. Increasingly I am alarmed to find more and more students with fundamental math and writing skills that are in desperate need of remediation. I am more alarmed that I have been in past due to the level of math skills absent, not just poorly understood, but missing altogether. However, math is not the only basic skill that is missing. Many students are unable, or mostly unable, to write a sentence with a capital letter to begin, and a period at the end. Assignments are sometimes submitted using the jargon and language that has been developed for texting, and for popular social media venues. In addition, many students do not read textbook assigned chapters, or instructions prior to submitting assignments. There is seemingly a huge disconnect between what we need to know to compete in the global workforce, as well as enough education to read and interpret a newspaper, choose from a menu, keep a checkbook in balance, etc. and what we do know. This is very scary considering what it takes to make a living in a difficult economy.
Having been a product of the U.S. public education system myself, and having had to work to through my own educational deficiencies in the past, I can attest that those who find themselves unprepared with respect to a quality education can indeed triumph in higher education given time, persistence, and encouragement.
However, I am increasingly afraid for our future generations given that we are not fixing our education system in this country nearly fast enough, if at all. My own K-12 education was sub-par at best, and with the current indicators from my perspective discouraging, it may be that the state of our education system is dire. We can no longer wring our hands and say that we might well lose a generation of children if we were to take the drastic steps to tear down our education system to its foundation, and begin again with a new model, because we have already lost a few if not several generations to an abysmally inadequate system.
I propose that we begin by rescuing our youth, one person at a time. By this I mean that I will pledge myself to helping each student individually, if at all possible, to begin the process that is bridging the gap between what they do know, and what they must know. Because I am very fond of all topics mathematical and scientific, this may be an opportunity that holds at least as much benefit for me, as it may for those who need the knowledge and the ability to apply it. Nothing feels quite like the learning process, and that is a good thing!