Looking back and thinking forward

Month: April, 2010

Weary to the bone

Quote of the day:

We filter our discipline strategies through emotional memories of punishment. Me from my Power Point presentation.

Last night it was so good to lay in my own bed with little Ada snuggled up close to my feet. Yesterday had been a long day of walking the convention center's concourse, up, up, up the escalators and down, down down again. Talking four hours straight, answering questions, trying to be intelligent, humorous, aware, observant, alert, and welcoming. 

My heart became heavy with people recounting about how they were punished as children with beatings, whippings, name calling and cold showers. By the end of the day, my soul was aching for the human condition. 

I wonder despairingly:

How will we ever develop compassion in this world if so many people have suffered so much humiliation and anxiety as young children? 

How are teachers able to wrap their hearts and minds around our youngest children with compassionate guidance, when their earliest emotional memories are clouded by fear and resentment?

My sister, Elise, sent me a message the other day in response to an email I had sent to the family (on quite a different matter). 

I read it this morning, and plan a new day:

Buddha says live for the day – never think of the past because you are the
past and not tomorrow because you will waste your precious present time in
those thoughts of the future.

A year ago at Mining Nuggets: Faces of sixty

It occurs to me …

… as I sit in the airport waiting for my plane to Columbus, Ohio, that some people might think that my recent post dedicated to my father-in-law’s birthday, referred to them.
For, I wrote that Dick reads my books specifically “to get to know me.” Educational books are usually read critically or analytically. Whereas, my father-in-law is clear about his motives for reading my work, especially the chapter he read over the weekend.
I exclaimed passionately about that because it felt really good to me!
Kind and fatherly.
In the past some of my posts have hurt family members, and I do not want that to happen again.
Hence … this explanation …
Just in case …


Quote of the day:

There is a destiny that makes us brothers, no one goes his way alone;
all that we send into the lives of others, comes back into our own
 (From CCIE)


Gathering pieces of my past.

Cyber connections pull us closer and closer.

Closing holes and feeling whole.

A year ago at Mining Nuggets: Be back soon

Nelle, Dick and me … life partner taking the picture … this past festive weekend!


Traveling Tam

 Quote of the day


[Thanks, J.B.]


Keisha and her mom are preparing to fly out with me to Ohio this week. We have work to do and tales to tell. Presentations, and even a book signing are in store. 

But, even more important than that, I will get to visit with very important old friends!

Invisible no longer


[The second orchid Dick and Nelle sent me for Christmas this year. Dick observed me weep with joy at the beautiful orchids in Longwood Gardens many years ago, when we took him there for a visit, and sent me my first one that same Christmas]

One of the things I love about my father-in-law is that I never feel invisible with him. I mean, the man reads my books in order to get to know me better – and not for any other reason! He does not read my writings to monitor what I say, or to check the validity of my statements and feelings. He reads me in order to get to know me better

Yesterday, as I was quietly trying to slip out to feed the birds, so as not to wake him and Nelle, I noticed he was lying on the couch in the soft, dawn light reading my latest book. When I returned, he told me he had read the introduction (my chapter), and then made another comment, which showed me he understood something very important about me, and his son. 

He notices me. 

All my life, I have struggled with feeling invisible. Either, trying to make myself more invisible, or the opposite – doing all manner of actings-out in order to be noticed or acknowledged. Indeed, just recently I realized that it is critical to understand what we all did as young children in order to gain our parents' attention. Those patterns of behavior we developed so long ago, are some of the hardest to let go, and as we become older we need them less and less. In fact, I have started talking about this in my recent presentations. Now, when I ask teachers to consider the ways they were punished as young children, I go one step further, and ask them to think about what they did to gain attention. It becomes a fascinating discussion. Especially since teachers are always complaining that children do this or that "just to get attention." After our discussion about what they did as children to get attention, I am amazed how quickly they understand how important it is for children not to feel invisible. Indeed, we all needed attention, acknowledgement, or validation. It is just a matter of finding out what we had to do in order to attain it! 

And, with my father-in-law, I do not have to do very much for him to notice me. Indeed, I just have to be me. He simply cares enough to observe, notice, and makes an effort to find out more. 

Today is his birthday. I dedicate this post to him with great love and gratitude that he is in my life, and, indeed, in my home at this very moment.

Dick fishing 

[Dick fishing in Idaho

Happy birthday to a father I finally have the very good fortune, and honor of sharing!

A year ago at Mining Nuggets: Happiness is …

A very short note …

Quote of the day:

One cannot have too large a party. Jane Austen from CCIE

… and we are heading into one. Dick and Nelle will soon be here and then it is off to inspect the house … the house … the house …

A year ago at Mining Nuggets: Gaining on pain; & One more month

Moving on …

These past twenty two years I have moved 6 times. First from Israel to America. And within the United States, five times after that. Indeed, it works out to an average of every five years. No wonder my hair is gray and my bones creak! 

I notice that my plants and cat are content and secure, flourishing and blooming in the familiar grounds they are acquainted with. The thought of moving them saddens me. Am I thinking of them? Or do I allow myself to feel it through them? 

I wonder. 

We are in the process of buying a house. It was always our intention to buy something permanent since we arrived in Philadelphia five and a half years ago. We would rent our apartment and wait until we were both settled in our new places of work before finding a home of our own. 

And now the time has arrived. 

Life partner, me, the cat and our plants: We have all laid down our roots in this charming apartment with the edge of Fairmount Park and the Wissahickon Creek as our back yard. Most days I take a four mile walk under the arbors of the huge, old trees of Chestnut Hill. Just a few yards from our large living room window, the birds of the Wissahickon eat daily at our feeder along with, at times, deer, fox, raccoon or opossum. The enormous oak tree that towers up and up and into the sky above, stands close to the bird feeder, housing countless squirrels, woodpeckers, nut hatches, and birds of all shapes and sizes. Many times, I have stood in the living room staring at that tree, feeling its solid constancy taking comfort and peace during moments of anxiety or loneliness. I wonder how will we bid farewell to all that. For, if all goes through with the house we have fallen in love with, we should be moving in less than two months. 

As sad as I am to leave this beautiful place we have called home these past five years, I must say I am excited to find a home of our own. A place that feels like us, open spaces and fine woodwork. "Don't worry," I think silently to Ada, my plants, and … me, "Perhaps we will all be able to stay in our new home for longer than five years this time."

But, then I smile to myself. After all, who knows? 

I must admit, there is something exhilarating and renewing about moving on to a brand new era of my life. It keeps me open to new places, people, feelings, or ideas.  

And, besides, I think, too, that we just might have found the home of our dreams …

Old is as old does

Quote of the day:

"You're an old lady …" said a three-year-old preschooler to me yesterday while I was visiting one of my early childhood education students in her field placement. 

The little fellow sauntered up to me and asked my name. I told him, and then asked him his. "D.J," he replied. I asked if he would like to shake my hand and he agreed. I took his little hand in mine and as we shook them in greeting I held his wrist gently, tenderly with my other hand. He smiled warmly as did I. 

Then he leaned over the table where I was writing notes about the student, playground, children, cooperating teachers, and such. He looked up into my eyes, and said matter-of-factly, "You're an old lady." I nodded. "Yes, I am," I replied. "But, how do you know?" He pointed to my hair. "Ah," I said. And then he ran off to slide down the long, winding, curly yellow slide.

I sat quietly for a moment and smiled to myself, "I guess I am an old lady," I thought. It felt good. Comfortable. Real. Sincere. The children played on. I had forgotten just how honest and open small children can be. 

As I drove away, D.J. waved goodbye from the top of the slide in the playground. I waved back.

A year ago at Mining Nuggets: Quote of the day; & Count down … continues

Music, at the top of my day

Starting my day with it. Thanks to Normblog

A year ago at Mining Nuggets: A musical start to my day