Saturday, December 20, 2014

Bear witness this Christmas

This holiday season, as you go about in the hurly burly of festivities, do remember to take a moment to slow down and ask about the people around you. While your world may be set ablaze with the lights, the parties, and the spirit of the Yuletide season, many are going through the darkest times of their lives. The winter nights are long, the cold foreboding. Remember to welcome people to the hearth of your fires, to share the glow of your heart. The holiday commercials may dictate for us the norm to laugh and be merry. Yet it is just important, just as needed, if not more so, to share our burdens, to reach out a hand, to cry together, and to remind those who are alone, are in need, in sickness, in sorrow , or in trouble that they are in fact not alone. Christ, born of a humble birth, is the allegorical anticipated hope. May we embody the star that not only lead the wise men to worship him, but to those bowed low in search of salvation. Bear witness, bear witness not only to the good of our year, but bear witness to the struggles of those around you, for they are real and worthwhile. Bear witness to them who fight silently, bear witness to those who put on a straight face that you may have a smile on yours. Sometimes all it takes is a casual hello, a knowing smile, and a simple exchange of words to speak volumes; to say "I see you and I acknowledge you."

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Lest we forget

May we never forget the sacrifices made,
By young men and maidens like,
Who to far off shores laid down their lives,
That we may keep our homes from terror ' s blight.
Their blood flow upon sandy beaches, and muddy trenches
Their hearts stopped beating on foreign soil
With their blood, sweat, and tear they secure our future
With courage and defiance, with a simple call to service they marched on
Into the worst of times, into the thick of battle
Their screams and agony, the price for our tranquility and serenity
And so we give them thanks, and so we honor them,
Those who gave their youth that we may raise our young in better times
Those who stood tall and proud when the tides urges us to turn and bow low
Those who redeemed our humanity in our darkest hour
Through faith, duty, and loyalty, for G-d and country

We give you thanks, members of the armed forces, at home and abroad, past and present
And to your families, may they know we are ever grateful of their contribution and their suffering,
May they know we will never forget.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Give it all you have got, even if what you got is not a lot.

There is no denying some days are tougher than others. When you open your eyes and debate whether to even get out of bed, open the shades, and face the world. You may not feel ready for the world, and that perhaps it is just better to close your eyes and drown yourself in drool as you sleep it off. Yet the world waits, it even knocks on your door, and I say ready or not, just go ahead and face it. You may not feel up to it, but if you just get down with it, you will find it is the right thing to do. After all, giving it your best does not always mean the instant results are spectacular, it just mean you give it all that you have got for that moment, that day. Not every act you do, every word you say is going to be this amazing masterpiece. Yet if you keep at it, little by little, what you attain is character, integrity, and discipline. Giving your best on a good day is easy. Giving all that you have got on a bad day? That is the road to greatness.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Some People Don’t Know

Some people don't know
how important it is that they exist.

Some people don't know
how good it is just to see them.

Some people don't know
how comforting their smile is.

Some people don't know
how good it feels to be near them.

Some people don't know
how much poorer we would be without them.

Some people don't know
that they are like Heaven's gift to us.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The imperfect teacher

I think there is fear instilled upon students not to make mistakes.  I think there is an expectation for students to conduct as themselves as they perceive their instructors expect them to - a perfect specimen.  Yet, I firmly believe if we are truthful about it, then we must embrace the fact that we each and every one of us is flawed.  That as consummate a profession as we may want to project ourselves, the truth is we are imperfect beings constantly and consistently aiming for perfection. That we are all in the process of fine tuning ourselves and the art and science that we practice.

The goal, then, is not to have students avoid mistakes, to tread with trepidation, but instead to show them that here at the big leagues, we are capable of screw ups, but more importantly we are capable of overcoming it and turn it into art.  A teacher, then, is not someone who was perfect, but someone who is smart enough to learn from the mistakes of others, and to own up readily those they make themselves.    

We are like bullets aiming for the bull's eye, unless we are inches away, the reality is we will always travel a deviated course dictated by laws of nature, accounting for gravity, temperature, and wind.  The goal is not to shoot straight, but instead to learn to adjust accordingly until the aim is true consistently, no matter the changes in circumstances.

That takes a lot of trial and error, that takes courage from knowing that it is likely we will miss, and hope eternal that we have a chance of hitting spot on.  Confidence, therefore, does not stem from a controlled environment, or rigid adherence to standards of perfection.  Confidence stems from knowing one has a reasonable expectation of screwing up royally but still overcome it in the long run.  Confidence then becomes an innate factor and not an extraneous variable.

Fear creates unnecessary tremors. Unrealistic expectations begets undue stress.  An educator's objective should therefore create an environment where it is alright to mess up.  After all, when and where else can a student afford to blunder if not under the auspices of a teacher?  Energy is wasted on fear.  We dare not approach if we create an ideal image of perfection.  After all, isn't that the same with dating.  We don't ask someone out because they are perfect, but because there is a chance beneath all that "perfection" is an equally flawed being who will accept us and grow with us.

On a side note... don't date your students or teachers, it complicate things.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Keep reaching for the stars

There will always be voices of dissent, criticism, and small mindedness. They often seem louder, and pertinent. This is in part due to the ennobling factor in good people to focus on what is wrong and potentially make it better. Sometimes, good people take it a step too far; they gave too much credence to such criticism, so much so that it cripples them. Yet if you listen closely, the boos and jeers may be loud, but the quiet support and approval of many will overtime overcome. Therefore stay the course, weather the storm, and make compassion your guide. Realize that what you do matters if someone at least has taken the time to criticise. Figure out the parts that are valid, that is true, that gave the critics grounds to criticize. Improve on it, discard the needless emotional content and move on. No need to be drawn in by their misery, no need to be pull down to their level. The beauty of flight is there is always gravity to overcome, still we soar, still we reach for the stars.

The flower grows, not only because the sun draws its adulation, but because it too rakes sustenance from crap heaped upon it. A car moves because of friction allowing the tires to gain traction. So will progress occur, not in a vacuum unchallenged, but through the refinement of constant bombardment, like pebbles carved smooth by running water, pearls from irritation, silver polished by fire.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

I want to be the reason you have children

I want to be the reason you have kids.
I want to be the reason you think it is great to bring a life to this world.
I want you to feel safe to have a daughter because you know there will be guys like me who will know to treat her right.
I want you to be comfortable to have a son because he will have a good role model to guide him straight
I want you to have children because they will always have someone avuncular who will look out for them.

I want to be the right kind of friend, the kind who inspires trust and faith.
Who throws the right kind of party where you met that special someone,
The friend who is never shy of innuendos and double entendres.
Who keeps pouring until your cup runs over and the two of you is forever drunk with love.

I want to be the glue- the kind you can count on when your handle on things is broken, 
And life becomes unhinged. 
I want to remind you of what is important - your family, and your loved ones, 
Oh, and most importantly to have fun.  

I want to be the reason you can trust the world will be a good place for you children.
Because you know they will have a friend- just like me, 
And they will become themselves great friends.
I want all of us to be the reason every one of us wants to have children.