We live in a time where the majority of formal schooling is not done at home so we have come to rely on various public school systems. There is a flaw, unfortunately one of many, due to the nature of the beast, a flaw that no school or even any family can get around: if more than one child will be taught at a time you can’t tailor a specific curriculum to each student and have the system work. Students will be of different ages, different levels of development, and different skill-acquisition levels. Given that all people are different, there can be no equality in education; the same fields and skills may be taught but every person will receive and process the information in a different manner. There is no easy way to change the system we use now and possibly no desire to; since that is the case, students shouldn’t be castigated for their different achievement levels, but should be accepted for what they can and have accomplished. Once our society is truly recognized as non-homongenous, acceptance could come to be more universal and understanding among people a possible, though distant, goal. Understanding of differences and acceptance of the many avenues of learning are the basis of adult understanding and acceptance. Shouldn’t we support an ‘understanding and acceptance’ curriculum starting even before formal education?
‘Round the bend is a euphemism in our culture that means you’re going crazy. But consider where that connotation may have come from. Throughout history people have had dreams of exploration; at first exploring new lands, the seas, and space and also exploring the regions of the mind and body. As technology has driven us further and further up, out, and inward there has never been a dearth of people who want to do or participate in that exploration. In past years, seeing someone off on a journey to search for objects or concepts new and old, one could see them go, go around the bend and be gone. Sometimes it was a crazy venture they’d embarked upon and did not end well, but sometimes great strides were made, for mankind at least, and new knowledge was acquired. unfortunately one of the things that has remained is the concept that going ’round the bend’ is a futile, reckless, or insane undertaking that could yield only negative results. This is an unfortunate point of view since we’d have significantly less knowledge, know fewer places, and be much less aware of ourselves and other beings than we already do. Without this scope and variety of knowledge we are and could be much less able to make decisions that could affect all of mankind. Wouldn’t you like to go ’round the bend occasionally and discover something new and exciting?
When asked to speak in front of a group, or have our picture taken, or are to be seated in a prominent place we strive to present the most impressive figure we can. We all have images of ourselves that assure us that we look best in certain attire, or in a certain position, or with selected props. This may be true or it may not but we still hold those beliefs to be true none-the-less. Others might find these affectations ludicrous, silly, or wasteful of time, failing to recognize the same tendencies in themselves. Having these tendencies is a good thing for it shows that we have a part of us that we are proud of; it also shows others that we’re proud of ourselves too, and care enough to want to make the best of ourselves that we can. It doesn’t hurt to strive to put some effort into creating a pleasing and comfortable outer-self for encounters which might make you a bit nervous or frightened. Your efforts will be noticed and appreciated since there will be others who have put the same effort and thought into their preparations that you have; they will feel validated and know that their efforts were not wasted upon another or others who did not care enough to prepare themselves or show themselves to their best advantage. If you are going to present yourself or be presented at an occasion, wouldn’t like to have your best side showing?
Some people are truly different from most others and, since uniqueness is generally admired and envied, frequently the qualities of their uniqueness are picked up on and imitated. While it is fine to imitate the dress and mannerisms of a person or a group you admire, as long as the dress and mannerisms is not harmful to yourself or others, it is important to remember that you are not that person and that a group is not a person, but is made up of individuals. Recognizable characteristics often define a group or organization and that is a source of pride to those groups; specific names may even be given to such groups, as in generational names, names given to a particular way of thinking, or formally organized entities. The foundation of all these groups, however, is human beings. As human beings we have certain boundaries and can only do what humans do, mentally and physically. There are two important things to remember: one, you are the same as everybody else no matter how you change your looks and mannerisms, and two, you are unique and different from anybody else, with your own thoughts and feelings. Don’t you love to take comfort and pride in your humanity and to savor your own uniqueness?
We try mightily to create a place welcoming and comforting and comfortable for ourselves and our loved ones; many times we succeed in that effort and we and others find the place we’ve put together a friendly and warming place to be. Others find a temporary home more to their liking and build a series of families and homes throughout their travels. Yet others prefer the mobility of a moveable home, whether on land or sea, always with the option of picking up and leaving. And there are those who have no established home, either by choice or by circumstance. But all these definitions of home involve the assumption of a place or a non-place. In truth, we all carry the only real home we have or can ever have with us, encircling us, all the time. For the only true sense of home can be found internally and only with the desire and ability to know ourselves intimately and only by taking the time to honestly answer the questions we pose ourselves. The most important aspect of a home, comfort, can never be achieved unless we are comfortable with ourselves and therefore comfortable in our interactions with others so that we can invite them into our space. Though we may not be carrying our home on our back, we do have it with us and are responsible for it all the time. Are you comfortable in your home?
Both beginnings and endings happen within our selves all the time. The balance between welcoming the new and learning from the old is more often than not very difficult to maintain. Much of the time we don’t maintain that balance and when we don’t we are losing or missing out on a lot life has to offer. We become so busy with making a living or gathering achievements or serving the greater good that we leave the care of our young to others and refuse we have time to listen to the older. Surviving in a totally separate and isolated generation is not healthy or satisfying to us and it is surely not for the younger or older generations who are unable to connect with us. Loss of connection with other generations ultimately leads to an inability to connect with our own and, eventually, with ourselves. When we lose our ability to connect with others and with ourselves we are living in an unreal world, our decision-making becomes compromised, and we become unhappy and feel worthless and isolated. The remedy is so easy and painless and obvious that we can miss the opportunity to connect and continue to wallow in woe. The remedy is to speak with others of different generations and listen, don’t merely nod and continue with your own thoughts; listen and learn what they have to offer. You can also reply and institute an real conversation. Wouldn’t you rather create or sustain contact with all generations than stagnate alone with only your own?
Most of the time we think we’re seeing things exactly as they are, or we may think we are not seeing things exactly as they are, but both assumptions are quite likely incorrect. It is true, when we look and things and try to see them dispassionately and accurately, we are seeing them exactly as they are to us. What we tend to forget is that everyone sees things just a little bit differently. What is pleasing to one person is anathema to another and vice versa. We could be denying what really is if we don’t want to see it for some reason, even though the consensus of the group we identify with shows us what most of our society believes. A consensus about perceptions, morals, scientific ‘facts,’ and behaviors is what binds a society together. An action or belief held by one societal group is often perceived by another to be impossible to understand, offensive, and wrong. With tolerance of other societies’ ‘distortions’ we can forge a whole planet community where we could live without disagreements leading to war and atrocities. Then the trials and tribulations we need to deal with would be natural disasters, troubles that do not have to do with humans and their opinions. With acceptance of what we define as distorted world views we could focus on the health and well-being of the planet and the inhabitants on the planet. Is proving you are right more important than life?