Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Persistent Plumbing

It is necessary to the happiness of man
that he be mentally faithful to himself.
Thomas Paine


One of the benefits of growing up is the liberation of being able to weigh one's thoughts in the scales of reality and results. I am weary and disgusted at having my thinking corrected by any patronizing individual whose ability to think for him or herself is suspect. I've had my acting corrected by those who daren't set foot on a stage in front of an audience. I've had my announcing corrected by those who would be petrified in front of an open microphone.

When I was in the 6th Grade our teacher Mrs. Coleman, asked the class what they liked to watch on TV. It so happened that I enjoyed watching the UN proceedings in the afternoon. They were broadcast over the PBS station with no editorial comment. Even though I didn't completely understand all the nuances of the political and diplomatic maneuvers, I was fascinated by seeing all those men from the various different countries coming together to talk about some issue. I had a map from the UN so I could see where the people came from. When it was my turn to respond to Mrs. Coleman's question and I said I liked to watch the UN in front of the entire class she called me a liar. Not having learned, at that young age, the technique of sticking up for myself, I let it pass. But i will never forget that insult. (Wasn't that the same school where Mr. O'Conner, the science teacher, told you that man could never fly to the Moon? No further questions, Your Honor.)

Be careful that someone doesn't try to exercise some degree of authority over your thinking, Most of the authorities in the world, aren't. Even if you seem to let them out of love or respect, retain the right to pass their words and ideas through the prism of your own self-knowledge. That's where you live, warts and all. Everything else is costume and make up.

Listening, understanding, compassion, advice and open discussion are good things. But beware you don't try to exercise a willful, judgmental, even well meaning, rearrangement of someone else's thinking. At the last trumpet we are alone with the creator and creation, and answerable to ourselves, to our own honesty.

DB - The Vagabond


Stuart said...

I think you speak well on this although I would want to sick apart the comment from Paine. I AM shocked that box teacher would call a child a liar in such a situation.

Leigh said...

DB, another entry to go and ponder. The one thing I've learned is that while someone else's opinion may not change my mind, I try to keep it open. Just in case they do know more than me(which is a distinct possibility), I learn by listening. The fine line to walk is in being true to yourself. Always!
Have a great day!
:) Leigh

Dannelle said...

There should be law against teachers who thwart children from growing and learning. Criticism should always be constructive and given in small doses. Love Ya, Dannelle

a corgi said...

it saddens me again DB to read about what a teacher did to squelch the creativity in you once again; geesh, I think she should have not jumped to a conclusion and called you a liar, but given you the opportunity to explain why you would enjoy watching that on TV; geesh;
great entry!

Beth said...

Shame on Mrs. Coleman!

Have you ever known one of those people who tend to automatically agree with anything you say? "You know, you're right." When I write about things, more often than not it's to clarify and organize my own thoughts and feelings. If I do anything, I'm happy to make people think about something, but the last thing I want is someone to always say, "You're right!" I'm NOT always right, ha ha!

What you wrote about retaining the right to pass things through the prism of your own knowledge is exactly...well, right! I would hope that people would take a look at all aspects of an issue and then decide what to think about it.

As for the UN, Tina Fey as Sarah Palin had this to say: "One thing that really surprised me about the UN was all the foreigners there! And when John McCain and I are sworn into office, we're gonna make sure we bring those jobs back to America!" (grin)


Joyce said...

I can't believe a teacher would do that. Mrs. Coleman should be ashamed.
Hugs, Joyce

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

As a Manager, I always keep formost in my mind the thought that you do not assign things to others that you are not willing to do yourself. We all need to roll up our sleeves and do the work at times. Never lose sight of what the assignment and effort require.

Lisa said...

That teacher should have been terminated on the spot. A child should never be called a liar by their teacher. My guidance counselor told me I would never amount to anything. It would give me great glee to go back and show him just how much I did amount to and remind him his life must be so pathetic he had to kill the dreams of a 10th grader. Like you I sat quietly at that time but given the chance now....oh the gloves would be off.
Sorry I am so behind in my reading!

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