Common sense!

Some people seem to have a knack for saying it how it should be!

My sub-heading, above, applies to many people right across the world.  But the reason that this was triggered in my mind for today’s post, was a recent item on Christine’s excellent Blog, 350 or bust.  Read more about that Blog here.  I subscribe to that Blog.

A couple of days ago, there was an article with the title of Live Long And Prosper, Already.  It started thus,

Gene Roddenberry, the creator of the amazingly popular Star Trek series, was a man ahead of his time. Here is one of the things he  had to say about humanity and our problems (with one editorial comment from me!):

“I believe in humanity. We are an incredible species. We’re still just a child creature, and we’re still being nasty to each other [Stephen Harper: are you listening?].  And all children go through those phases. We’re moving into adolescence now. When we grow up, man, we’re going to be something!”

But what caught my eye were these comments to the Post.

The first one from a Mickey Haist that read,

It’s a nice goal, but would clenching our teeth and willing progress be of any effect? After all, children don’t spontaneously mature – they’re raised.

Have to say that I was left unsure by what Mr. Haist was trying to convey.  But not so Christine!  This was the first of her two replies,

No teeth clenching allowed! Robert Kennedy once said “Each time a person stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he or she sends forth a tiny ripple of hope. And crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”

It’s not about everyone doing everything, it’s about each of us doing what we can. Not taking action because the problem is too big is not the answer.

And her second reply,

And Mickey – if the challenge of climate change/ocean acidification/biodiversity loss that we are facing as a species (taking the rest of the natural world with us) doesn’t make us mature, then nothing will.  But I believe it will – as Paul Gilding says, humans are slow but not stupid!

Paul Gilding’s excellent website is always a great read, by the way.

But do reread those words of Robert Kennedy, they are powerfully inspiring.

Robert Kennedy

Each time a person stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he or she sends forth a tiny ripple of hope. And crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.

Despite the fact that these words were said in response when South Africans suffered the tyranny of apartheid, the words are, perhaps, even more relevant today.  Mankind has to combine the many ‘ripples of hope’ and build that current that will sweep away the crazy selfishness that is preventing us from living in harmony with this beautiful planet for hundreds of years ahead.

Thanks Christine.

7 thoughts on “Common sense!

  1. Each individual does their own action, and it is by the collective individual actions of the many that humanity will rise and fall.

  2. Thank you Paul for this post, however, please read what my 16-year old daughter wrote when fellow classmates attempted to stand up for the right to be challenged in their education:

    “Today (Wednesday, April 25), starting at 5:30, there was a (Payson) school board meeting at Julia Randall Elementary school. The majority of the audience members were high school students, many of whom seniors unaffected by the decisions of the evening for next school year. These students came to protest the riff (firing) of Ron Silverman, one of six teachers to lose their job partially or completely. Despite the speeches of a teacher and of a student in support of Mr. Silverman’s renewed contract, the school board maintained and finalized their decision. Upon completion of the vote, all of the students filed out of the room, leaving it nearly empty. This is what I have to say about the meeting:

    I’m greatly disappointed to know that our school district will riff individuals who inspire deep thinking, logical arguments, an outstanding work ethic, and integrity, while keeping teachers who pass along mediocre work and fail to adequately teach students anything- despite the fact that high schoolers took a stand and physically came to protest this decision. The events of this meeting only add to my growing list of reasons to drop out of Payson high school and find an alternative.

    Can anyone give me a compelling reason to stay in an environment where thinking for oneself is considered to be a B or C grade by teachers who don’t understand higher-level thinking, and where mediocrity is rewarded and excellence ignored? Why should I continue to be a member of a school system that ignores its constituents, the students, in favor of the administration’s wishes? How can I allow myself to waste hours of my day, every day, on classes that teach me nothing I didn’t already know, and inspire naught but the completion of mindless, anybody-can-do-it busy work for a nice, shiny A?

    Though I know much of the blame for this job cut lies on the state government for so eagerly starving schools funds, the final decision to release this individual rested with the school board, who decided to eliminate a teacher who inspired students to use their brains instead of releasing from their duty one(s) who taught nothing. Despite the fact that the dollar amount of lost money was determined by the state, it still holds true that the responsibility for maintenance of the school’s intellectual assets finally came down to the six members of the school board, who failed to lessen their necessary blow.

    Behind the desks of the school board members lies a noticeably large sign with the mission statement, “Every student prepared to be a productive citizen,” printed in bold letters. Today, the members of the school board who so proudly stand before that poster decided to keep mediocre teachers who encouraged easy passing grades and regurgitative thinking over one who promoted debate, freethinking, individuality, and self-discipline. Unless “productive citizen” translates to, “living off of welfare”, the school board failed to live up to their vision today.

    In essence, I am disappointed in the events of today not because of the particular teacher who was lost. That’s not the important part. No, I am disillusioned by the school board’s decision because today we chose to glorify the lazy, the failing, and the bottom-feeders, while punishing and removing an avenue for free and intelligent thinking to flow into this school. More than anything, however, I am upset because today, the school board told us students, through their actions, that our opinion was an obsolete thing unworthy of their recognition. Free thinking, taking a stand, and letting one’s opinion be known are the most important part of being a citizen, and today, the school board made very clear that their mission to nurture good, productive citizens is not, in fact, worthy of consideration in their decision-making process.”

    How do I respond to this – other than to say, thank you for sharing an opinion and I hope the ripples of your words make adults responsible for your education think? For my children’s sake, I do hope humans grow up soon!

    Cheers,
    Michele

    1. Thank YOU Paul – what a lovely nod to my little blog, thanks so much for that. Your work is another “ripple of hope”. The wave is getting bigger every day, although it doesn’t always feel like it.

      Hi Michele –
      Congratulations to your daughter for putting her frustration into words; it’s often so much easier to respond to setbacks by throwing our hands up in despair. And it’s important skill to learn – perseverance in the face of adversity; we won’t win every battle, but there’s a chance that we will win the “war”. And it is just a chance; there’s no guarantees in the hero’s journey, which is what each of us that takes a stand for justice and truth is on.

    2. Michele,

      OK, a number of thoughts but, first, why on earth aren’t you keeping your Blog running?? You write so beautifully that it really is a great waste that you are not sharing yourself more widely!

      You will know that in many ways I’m a stranger to Payson and many American aspects of life. Thus for me to comment specifically on your daughter’s experiences would be wrong; I just don’t understand the school system, if system be the correct term.

      But here’s how I would approach it if I was chatting with your daughter. The long journey through life is full of corners around which we cannot see, indeed we usually can’t even see the corners ahead of us.

      In my case, I faced a ‘corner’ when on December 20th, 1956, my father died without warning. I was 6 weeks into my twelfth year. Upon returning to school in the January, I was bullied and picked on badly by a group of thugs because my ‘body language’ was shouting out how broken-hearted I was. A few weeks later when being taunted by the ring-leader of the bullies, I boiled over and went for him, intent on trying to kill him! I was then caned by the headmaster for being unruly!

      That made me into a ‘hero’, but much more importantly, deep in my subconscious I registered that I had to ‘manage’ the world around me, not the other way around.

      The rest of my days in school were an educational disaster which meant I couldn’t win a place at a University later on. However, looking back from the perspective of a 67 year-old, I can see clearly that the best education for your daughter will be the fire in her belly that drives her to ‘manage’ her own life, dream her own dreams, run her own races; not to mix too many metaphors! 😉

      She will have a lifetime to learn everything she wants to learn.

      Thank you so much for sharing your daughter’s letter with us, Paul

  3. OMG, another glimmer of hope for the future! Every time I turn around I meet kids like Christine, which continues to instill in me optimism for the future! Way to go Christine, don’t ever give up! Bravo!!!!
    Merci

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