Beginner's Heart

Beginner's Heart

‘doubts and loves’ ~

I ran into an old poem-friend today — Yehudi Amichai’s “The Place of Right & Wrong.” I’m thinking about the images — how ‘the place where are right/ is hard and trampled/ like a yard.’ But doubts? ‘doubts and loves/ dig up the world.’

Right is a kind of scorched-earth policy, if you think about it. I’m trying (hard, as usual :)) to be less opinionated. Given that I spent class today discussing why white people need to be allies — re: pro-active — against racism, ethnocentrism and prejudice, it may not even be possible for me to separate ‘opinions’ from ‘beliefs.’

I still think it’s possible for folks to get along. But increasingly, as religions require ‘stands against,’ I find myself up against folks’ religious beliefs. Which I don’t believe I have the right to try to undo. In fact, I don’t believe anyone has the right to try to convert someone. If you’re living an exemplary life, full of joy and love and compassion, folks probably will want what you have :).

On the other hand, if your ‘religion’ calls for beating up gays, disrupting funerals, bombing clinics or banks, then probably folks won’t want what you have.

So I’m going to try to cultivate more ‘doubts & loves.’ Doubt is a good navigator — you may not know where you’re going, but chances are you’ll enjoy the journey more. Especially if there’s love in the pilot’s seat…

poetry, memory & 9/11 ~

Sometimes only poetry suffices… When my mind refuses to comprehend hatred, murder, war and profound grief, poetry is a map to somewhere out of fire and ash. A map through the darkness to a light that may still be a long way off. Even now ~

Here are other, better words remembering the ongoing tragedy which began for so many people that fateful September 11th, 2001. Thank you, Philip Metres and the Poetry Foundation — one of my favourite organisations — for reminding me that poetry is more than words. It can also be music that begins healing, records injustice. It can be a voice for those who are silent.



kindergarten teacher bashing ~

Okay, now I’m just mad. And I’m trying — as always! — to do something other than just fume. Here it is, my attempt to address grievances.  It’s far too late in the game to redress them….:(

Here’s a link to an interview w/ that spokesperson for the ultra-conservative, Ann Coulter. In it, Coulter dismisses what kindergarten teachers do. It’s not ‘real’ work, she says. Not ‘manly’ work. Really? This woman who has never entered a kindergarten classroom, most likely (she has no children), assumes she has a CLUE??

I am sooo tired of people bashing teachers. But kindergarten teachers? Really?? These incredibly hard-working men & women who not only wipe noses, tie shoes, hug and comfort and intervene and love, but also guide our most precious resource — our children — through learning how to learn? Who work on pre-reading skills (yes, that’s a real job); who introduce numbers to children whose idea of counting is 1, 2, 3, 4, 9, eleventy, 100; who teach how to sit in seats, how to collaborate, how to take turns; who cope w/ the fears of school some students enter with… The list of what kindergarten teachers do would frighten an American president!

Seriously? When did teachers become fair game? When did the honour that by far the majority of the world has for those who help our children enter the worlds of the mind become hostility? And why? I don’t get it.

I don’t know a single evil teacher. Really. And I know THOUSANDS.

(Yes, thousands… it’s my JOB) I know some I don’t care for — many who disagree w/ my faith & politics. But they are unfailingly tolerant of me and my ideas and ideologies. On the other hand? I know MANY evil politicians. And I use the word ‘evil’ knowingly. I firmly believe that there are people in office whose major objective is not the good of the American people, but the success of their individual party and their individual office. Men & women who are willing to sacrifice human lives and decency for power and gain. I don’t know of a single teacher who would ever do that.

So here’s what I propose: if Ann Coulter believes kindergarten teachers have it sooo easy, find some financially strapped neo-cons who have children, and let Coulter teach them for a year. Let her cope w/ IEPs, lackadaisical and even abusive parents, district paperwork, the chaos that is 5-year-olds, and then let’s evaluate her … as administrators feel all teachers should be evaluated — by how well her students do. NOT on how hard she has worked to overcome the poverty, the bad facilities, the lack of materials, but on how well someone who has no education in teaching, knows only the ‘law’, and has no kids of her own is able to work w/ the restless, literal, creative minds of 5-year-olds. Oh! And then let’s ask her how she feels about teaching as ‘real’ work…

sportsmanship, homeruns, and infinite good ~

This is one of the more moving videos I’ve seen. It’s about a player who hits a homerun, an injury, and the big-heartedness of a very special couple of opposing team players. This is beginner’s heart in action.

And here’s wishing that it goes viral, that our political system watches it, and that the world changes… We can hope ~


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