Update Friday Fish

It's a while since I did a Friday fish post so here are a few web links worthy of your attention caught in my net browsing this week, many of which deal with the common theme of learning. 

( I have added the beautiful and timeless song Teach Your Children Well since doing the original post.)

Yesterday's post featured a poem by Naomi Shihab Nye, which several enjoyed.

She has become a favourite of mine too and this link takes you to more of her work.

The link above takes you to a full transcript of the PBS video below. 

What an inspiring woman !!


                       Watch Poet Nye: 'Telling a Story Helped Us Figure Out Who We Were' on PBS. See more from PBS NewsHour.

 You can watch her read more of her work on the Art Beat page at NewsHour.PBS.org.

Also this week I was delighted to discover a facebook page by Parker J. Palmer, another fantastic writer. For anyone who missed it, the link is on my facebook page and here.

The end of August sees the beginning of a new term at school for many so there are a few posts that deal with this.

A great  post on remembering his first day at school and the influence teachers made throughout his life from Fr. Austin Fleming  can be read here at  A Concord Pastor Comments.

Parker Palmer's facebook site also has praise for teachers. Although it focuses on America, the content transfers well to the UK and other countries too.

This is his post..

"LET US NOW PRAISE TEACHERS: It's August, and K-12 teachers are gearing up for the start of a new school year. These folks are at the top of my list of "culture heroes." Five-plus days a week, often under adverse conditions, they help our children find their way into a challenging future.

For many teachers, caring about students goes far beyond goo
d lessons, long hours, and endless patience. Among other things, they buy needed supplies that schools can't afford, and provide breakfast food for kids who come to school hungry. (From my Almanac of Intolerable American Facts: at least 20% of our school-age children live at risk of hunger, in "food insecure" households.)

But it's not only social conditions that make growing up a challenge. There's also the child's inner life, something we adults often forget about, even though we were once young—in the last century!

Here's a Billy Collins poem that reminds us of what kids sometimes feel, and why they need "soft eyes" from all of us. Reading it, I'm filled with gratitude for all the teachers who care for our kids with compassion as well as competence."


On Turning Ten

The whole idea of it makes me feel
like I'm coming down with something,
something worse than any stomach ache
or the headaches I get from reading in bad light--
a kind of measles of the spirit,
a mumps of the psyche,
a disfiguring chicken pox of the soul.

You tell me it is too early to be looking back,
but that is because you have forgotten
the perfect simplicity of being one
and the beautiful complexity introduced by two.
But I can lie on my bed and remember every digit.
At four I was an Arabian wizard.
I could make myself invisible
by drinking a glass of milk a certain way.
At seven I was a soldier, at nine a prince.

But now I am mostly at the window
watching the late afternoon light.
Back then it never fell so solemnly
against the side of my tree house,
and my bicycle never leaned against the garage
as it does today,
all the dark blue speed drained out of it.

This is the beginning of sadness, I say to myself,
as I walk through the universe in my sneakers.
It is time to say good-bye to my imaginary friends,
time to turn the first big number.

It seems only yesterday I used to believe
there was nothing under my skin but light.
If you cut me I could shine.
But now when I fall upon the sidewalks of life,
I skin my knees. I bleed.

Billy Collins

If you haven't seen this video yet it should bring a spring in your step . 

It underscores how important early life experiences are in nurturing and fostering love of music.

It is a great example of how joyful learning can and should be.

It also tells us something important about how simple acts of parental care and attention bring happiness and are so formative in creating bonds with others.

It serves as a reminder that as we get older we need to take time to reconnect to that childlike carefree exuberance in each others presence.

Click here for a link to a veritable feast  of yet more excellent stuff from Parker.J. Palmer at the USA Centre For Courage and Renewal. 

This extract by Parker Palmer below is taken from his facebook page and describes the purpose of the Centre. 

"As founder and senior partner of the Center for Courage & Renewal, I take deep pride in the way this small non-profit organization provides support for people in the serving professions.

Since 1997—working through a network that now numbers nearly 200 facilitators in 35 states and 50 cities—the Center has offered programs to help teachers, physicians, clergy and others “rejoin soul and role,” renewing their passion for their work, reclaiming its basic values and deepening their service to others."

 Under the leadership of my good friends Terry Chadsey, Marcy Jackson and Rick Jackson, the Center's staff has done a remarkable job of putting wheels on some of the things I wrote about in "The Courage to Teach," "A Hidden Wholeness," "Let Your Life Speak," and "Healing the Heart of Democracy."

More than 45,000 people have been directly touched by Courage & Renewal programs and retreats to date.

At age 73, it's clear to me that, of all the things I've put my hand to, the Center's work is the most important. That's why I've decided to give this work most of my energies in the years ahead.

If you already know about this work—as tens of thousands of people do—I hope you will want to deepen your participation in it. If you are new to this work, I hope you will want to learn more about it.

I hope, too, that you will want to join me, the Center’s board, staff and friends, in helping to secure and expand the Center's important contribution to the growing movement to reclaim integrity and courage in professional and public life."

I wish we had a similar programme in the UK.

Some may remember this great song from Crosby and Nash.

Teach your Children Well 

Finally, one of my favourite quotes from Mark Twain that I often gave students when I was a lecturer.

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