I’m On The Outside Looking In

My education isn’t that of a scholar, as a matter of fact I never attended college officially. All of my knowledge stems from common sense and experiences. I have personally lived through the unbelievable traumas that most people only hear about. I can not recall a time in my life where it hasn’t been touched in some way by diseases; abuse of all natures; grief; depression; euphoric moments; absolute joy; and/or sadness enhanced by profound hurt.

Unfortunately, in the world we live in, none of that seems to matter without being accompanied by a lettered degree. So whenever I venture outside my comfort zone of silence and give an opinion or an observation it holds no weight. It dies where I placed it. Words are often not given the exalted praise of actions and yet, words are also assigned the title of culprits if others get hurt by them. I have always believed that words were powerful and the actions they start were solely reliant upon the interpretation of their associations. I love writing because it gives me the outlet I personally require to still the thoughts that race through my mind on a daily basis. Writing is my solace. Sharing my writing is the one way I hope will make a difference in this world, giving others an opportunity to see another way of looking at any subject that there is disagreement about. Perhaps I have never stopped being an idealist with pragmatic tendencies. Perhaps I take life too seriously or perhaps not seriously at all. My compulsion to write is unstoppable, I have constrained this impulse many times during my lifetime, however that time always surfaces to force my fingers to write what is heavily upon my thoughts. This again, is one of those times.

Many of my friends and family are different in their thinking. Many are college educated and still many are experience educated. I respect and admire both. Growing up in a blue collar family and working in both white collar jobs and academic jobs has opened my mind to all the infinite possibilities that exist in one’s life. Change is very possible if one truly wants that change before them. That is when it becomes one’s choice, provided their is no mental or physical obstacle that would affect their free choice. I am very grateful, regardless of my life’s traumas, that I chose to develop an open mind. I pride myself on my empathetic abilities and appreciate the wisdom that ability affords me to possess.

Many, who are institutionally educated, mock me, laugh at me, or hold no regard for my observations or opinions because they have a pre-conceived notion that because I hold no degree nor title I cannot possibly understand the mechanics of the way the world works. They actually have shooed me away as inconsequential on many different occasions. I do not let that penetrate the core of why I exist. Sometimes, like every other human being, I am dead wrong. Sometimes, like all others, I am right. I have found that counting the wrongs and the rights in life actually count for nothing in the end. What counts is intention. What counts is compromise. What counts is coming from a place of caring and concern. What matters is the realization that all human beings, regardless of education or not, are basically at their core, identical. That realization is hardly ever acknowledged due to millions of factors that interfere in believing that fact. I am one of the few that have been blessed with being able to see that realization and live my life hoping to give others the opportunity to see that fact as well.

Exposing myself to the probable possibility of more ridicule is a chance I often take knowing full well the consequence of my choice. However, not doing it, for me is worse internally. Many people think I am trying to persuade others to thinking as I do, but they would be wrong. My only intention is to share the way I see things so that perhaps one or two people might decide there is another way to look at things and in doing that change becomes very real for them if not for others. The way the world has developed through the open exchange of information has not only been beneficial, it has also been detrimental. You might ask yourselves, how could I say such a thing, or better yet who do I think I am saying such a thing? I believe in humanity, I also believe humanity is influenced greatly by circumstances, experiences and luck,hence their possibility to choose to do good or choose to do what most consider evil, is a reality that cannot be denied. Interpreting good and evil is once again subjective and relies heavily on the things aforementioned. My point in explaining my view is that judging another human being has no value unless every circumstance and every intention is so proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that a true conclusion can be drawn to force a judgement upon that human being. I have found that some judgements are arrived at too hastily, while others are proven accurate in every sense. I believe the free will we are endowed with at birth gives us the tools we may need later on in life to form such judgements, however their interpretations depend solely on life experiences, common sense and circumstances.

President Trump has been under scrutiny for the past three years. He is not an easy man to understand nor to like. His ways are not accepted by many, many people. Yet he was elected to be the leader of our country and our representative to the world. What he has proven to me is that, no matter what past mistakes he may have or has not made, the last three years he has lived up to the promises he made to the American people and he did so with compromises and above disagreements from the other government representatives. He has shown me over and over again, that despite his ego, he loves this country and appreciates the opportunities this country provided to him and his parents. He sees the same America I do, the American ideals that have shaped me, has also shaped him. Our life paths may be completely different, but our country binds us. The younger people of today have lived through a completely different experience than we have and have a very different set of ideals about America. The sadness I feel is for them. Many cannot see past America’s acknowledged mistakes. Many mock the religions for their atrocities and mistakes, that are in reality often ignored. Many believe capitalism is the evil and socialism is the hope. My worry is that they will never change their minds especially when they are encouraged by the hypocrites that feed their misconceptions about this country. I say this because I can see it and feel it. The very worse thing that could happen is if Americans both young and old continue to be unforgiving of their own country’s errors, America will no longer exist and the world will suffer from its’ demise. I do not need a degree to know this, nor are my eyes closed to the ideals of those who have that educational background. If they think, which of course I do not truly know, that America needs punishment for the involvement and errors that were made, I say we have been already in so many ways. We have had Civil Wars, have been attacked twice, have lost capitalism during the Great Depression, have lost countless men and women in our Military, and suffer everyday in some part of this country with poverty, starvation, homelessness. If we keep giving away what we need to survive to illegal immigrants just to appease our conscious, or continue to ignore Americans in our own country who are suffering in the ways I mentioned. If we continue to let elementary and high schools go without the means to succeed, if we disregard veterans and their families in order to praise those across the globe who are also suffering, we will lose our footing and our ability to help anyone anywhere. For to be truly able to care for others, we must first care for ourselves and that equates to caring for, protecting and respecting America no matter who represents it. President Trump, whether he shows it to all or not, knows this as well as I do. He, in my careful judgement, is doing all he is capable of to ensure that we take care of us so that we can take care of others. I owe him respect for that. I must support him for having these ideals no matter how imperfect he may appear to be. Yes, I am aware of how others judge him and blame him solely for the things they have judged him to have done. I watched, I listened, I read, and while I do not fully agree with his manner at times, I am able to see past the ego, and instead see that he truly believes this country offers everyone who really wants to be here, the opportunity to live in it, work in it, and become part of its citizen population. I also see, that like myself, he cannot bring himself to agree with those who come here to take advantage of the opportunities provided by America, just to continuously remind it of its past errors, hold it solely responsible for all the bad things across the globe, and benefit the country they fled from in the first place. I am not talking about customs and religions that are brought along with people to our shores, but of vile intentions that they wish to spread in the hope of displacing America’s idealism in the world. Especially because in reality America is one of a few nations that still offer its citizens unalienable rights and the pursuit of happiness.

So, yes that is who I am. I am not dumb, I am not blind, I am not a deplorable human being. All of those are facts about me. I like to write, I like to learn new things. I like people. I like animals. I love my family and my friends. I love and respect my country. I stand out of respect for the flag, the symbol of my country. I believe in freedom of choice, speech and expression, and religion. I believe we all need to believe there is something more powerful than ourselves such as God or the Universe, a mechanism for the human trait to be able to hold onto some type of hope when things are at their worse. I welcome compromise, understanding, and mutual admiration for what each of us has to offer the other. I am kind, loving and optimistically inclined. I am glad President Trump was acquitted and exonerated not only because of this call but because I know his intentions are good and his love of America is real.

And That’s the Way I See It, here in Jackson.

K

Everything Changes

Another year has passed by and I am still feeling the same way I did when I first wrote this piece.  I decided to re-post it because it expresses my innermost feelings precisely.  Please forgive me for any redundancy.

I fell asleep one night twenty-seven months ago and awoke to a startling change in my life.  Back then I never imagined how it would affect me so deeply, so profoundly.  Today when I awoke it became very apparent to me that my life would never again be the life I had known for the last twenty years and surprisingly I found I am totally unprepared.

Funny how people take their everyday routines for granted.  Some people never give it a thought, while others plan every moment.  Some people love their jobs, while others drudge themselves through it.  I suppose I had a mix of both ways, but mostly I loved my job.  The people I came to know, the help I was able to give, the feeling of accomplishment I experienced completing a difficult task.  All of those experiences gave me purpose.  I didn’t really know until today what it meant to know I can never do that job again, never meet new young people, never have a conversation with a scholar that left me breathless and learning something new or even having a debate over our different outlooks on life. It hit me like a ton of bricks today and the sadness of this forced retirement engulfed me beyond my imaginings.

I still feel too young to be retiring, but alas not being able to use my body as I did before that day twenty-seven months ago has changed all my best laid plans.  I never would have believed anyone who told me I would be so lost and so sad just from leaving a job, but I am those things and more.  Even writing, which I always believed to be my future, has lost its luster and appeal lately.  It astounds me thinking that my purpose is now gone. Good advice is ever flowing my way and ideas from others about what to do with my time now, but none unfortunately wear my shoes nor have my personality so all the good intentioned words of wisdom don’t help me at all. I compare it to the loss of someone dear.  Everyone at the funeral says they are sorry for your loss and I’m certain they are, but it doesn’t validate what you feel from that loss. Well, when you are forced to give up something you care about, as I was, it is the same as experiencing the death of a beloved friend or family member.  There truly is no consoling.  As all hurts heal I have no doubt this will also pass in time, I just don’t know how much more time needs to pass until I can feel like my old self again or if in fact, I ever will.

Am I feeling sorry for myself, probably yes.  Do I have a right to?  Without a doubt. Maybe something will change again in my life one day soon that will allow me the privilege of feeling I have a purpose on a daily basis.  Who knows?  Change is certainly apparent everywhere for everyone, just do yourselves a favor and don’t take what you have for granted. Appreciate it, go ahead sweat the small stuff cause the small stuff matters as well, savor all of the moments because you may fall asleep one night and awaken to discover your entire world is changed and you can no longer have the purpose you have today.

And that’s the “Way I See It” here in Brooklyn.

K

Teachers Appreciation Week

A week to celebrate a worthy profession
A week to celebrate a worthy profession

I have dozens of friends and relatives who are teachers.  I have worked in higher education for over twenty years.  Because of those two facts, I feel qualified to speak about teachers in today’s blog.  So here is the way I see it!

In today’s society it seems so easy to pick out the teachers who are “bad” or who make the wrong choices or who shouldn’t have become teachers to begin with or were turned into monsters from their experiences.  There is always a media hoopla nowadays about the negative aspects in teaching and the education system itself.  I don’t want to talk about what is wrong in today’s education system or about those handful of people who shouldn’t be teachers, but I do want to talk about the changes I have seen through the years in the attitudes toward teachers and about the most unappreciated profession in America today.

Many years ago a teacher was respected, they were the educators of our children.  The people who had the knowledge that we as parents and our parents didn’t have.  It took me years of working within the education system to realize that teachers, as in all other walks of life, are ordinary people with all sorts of different personalities.  However, there is that one element that I recognize in teachers that not everyone possesses and that is a desire to help children and adults alike, to open their minds and experience the power of thinking independently in order to make a difference in both their individual lives and the world in general.  The look I have seen on a teacher’s face when they have reached a person who struggled to learn and then one day that very same child or adult was enlightened is priceless.

Only a person with the calling of a teacher can truly experience such a phenomenal feeling that reaching someone through teaching can give them.  These people, these teachers have earned our respect.  Through their chosen professions these individuals have created a path and an opportunity for our children to progress toward the future and to make a difference in some way, big or small, that will affect the entire world.  These people, these teachers deserve our respect.  Yes, it is harder to be a teacher today because there are so many misunderstandings and misconceptions about teachers in the general society.  Media helps to further that belief by focusing predominantly on the negative teachers and less on the overwhelming majority of positive teachers.  This false sense of knowledge is a portion of why people have lost respect for this great profession and have in many cases passed these negative attitudes along to their children.  Years ago, there was an education system that allowed its’ teachers to be severe disciplinarians, it took a lot of change and lot of maturing to realize that punishment of children in so severe a way is totally unacceptable, unwarranted and has no place in education.  All the teachers I know today agree with that finding and strive everyday to teach undisciplined children and adults alike.  Most of them teach their lessons while children talk out in class, throw things, start fights, or worse.  These teachers hunger for ways to reach these students, but unfortunately, how can they really accomplish that if the system itself strips the teachers of all authority?  In today’s educational environment, teachers have to literally possess the patience of a saint or some other extraordinary being.  They must be politically correct at all times.  They must tolerate being cursed at, verbally abused and sometimes even physically abused.  There is no course of action for teachers today, and yet, there they are everyday in their classrooms willing and ready to try to reach at least one mind if not all.

These are the teachers I write about today.  These are the people I know exist in my family and in my circle of friends.  These are the teachers who are in the majority and these are the people who should be respected more than any other profession.  These are the people who still possess knowledge that most of us will never touch upon.  These are the people with whom we leave our children in the care of day after day.  These are the people who will shape our future world by imparting to our children the knowledge they need to make a difference in this world.  From pre-kindergarten through graduate school, these people work endlessly with one purpose in mind and for that alone they have earned and deserve our respect.  I, for one would love to see the day dawn, when power is given back to the teachers of today.  The ones who know that severe disciplinary actions are unnecessary and are things of the past.  The ones who will use that small dose of authoritative power to have a classroom of people where mutual respect exists.  History has shown us that mutual respect is the key to accomplish many great things, it is up to us as parents and guardians to instill in our children this notion.  It is up to us to impart the truth about teachers and to watch over our children and to be aware of any abuse of such power.  It isn’t the role of our teachers to be the parents or guardians.  The teacher’s role is to teach.  The teachers I know (and there are a lot) want to do just that.  They want to spend their hours in classrooms teaching for it is their calling to do so.  We can help them to do that by doing our part and by teaching respect for those who have been called to this great profession.  We can stop feeding into the belief that we know better than them and dropping the attitudes that are picked up by our children that exude an aura of disrespect and superiority.  We can help teachers to do their jobs, their calling, by supporting our schools and by check-listing the administrators instead of the teachers.  Society today tends to blame the teachers for its failing education system, when in reality it is the think tanks within the administrative side of education that is to blame for our failure in educating our children, but that is a different blog, for a different day.

Today I want to say thank you to every teacher I have ever had and to every teacher I know.  Thank you for choosing to become a teacher.  Thank you for your patience, your fortitude and your understanding.  Thank you for doing the very thing I, and many like me, are incapable of doing–teaching on a professional and disciplined level! Thank you for wanting to do that in the first place!   I hope this week each of you has an opportunity to experience the gratitude you richly deserve and that in some way, big or small, you are celebrated and most of all respected.

That is the Way I See It here in Brooklyn.

K