To Be or Not to Be

Watching replays of past Super bowls, we started looking up stats on previous players.  When we got to quarterbacks, we were fascinated.  We discovered Super bowl winning quarterbacks with more interceptions than touchdowns.  Terry Bradshaw, a 4-time Super bowl winner was about equal, some years throwing more picks.  Ken Stabler only had a couple of good years.  Looking at other quarterbacks, we saw similar across the board, a few having better marks, a couple very good. 

                Today, we’re finding it rare that any quarterback remains in charge of the offense if their touchdowns are not superior to interceptions.  And this goes with yardage.  More 300 and 400, even 500 yard passing games.  So, as football fans are inclined, we discussed the reasons, which have been talked about on shows.

                There is a constant discussion on who are the best quarterbacks.  As I see it, you can’t compare apples and oranges.  Early in the NFL, certainly near the advent, quarterbacks were hit with far more frequency, harder, and often smashed into the ground.  Terry Bradshaw was flipped on his head.  We saw hits to helmets, hits to the knees, hits from the side.  Even when the tackler hadn’t reached the quarterback before the throw, there was often no penalty.

                So, people argue whether Joe Montana or Tom Brady is better.   Here’s what I said.  You can discuss, but there’s no way to compare accurately.  Each era has different rules, different players, different coaches, and different technology, along with an understanding of the game.  It is what it is.  As far as I can see, the only way to compare, accurately, and say who the best is, you can only compare quarterbacks of the same era, for they are playing during the same years with the same rules.  Joe Montana was amazing, and like Brady, had an excellent cast.  But his career was shorter due to all the hits.  Tom Brady has played during an era where helmet and knee hits aren’t allowed, and if he throws, even if the defender is one foot away upon release, the defender is flagged.  If he hits to the head, he might be ejected depending upon the severity.  And receivers, in some situations, can’t be touched, and certainly not hit hard while looking away.  Very different times.  And remember, early in Super bowl history, quarterbacks called their own plays.  There wasn’t all the computers and people upstairs giving their data.  It was more lifelike.

                I would have loved to see Joe Montana playing during the same era as Brady.  But I could also say that about Lamonica, Bradshaw, and many others.  So what do I do?  We continue to have those talks.  We continue to debate.  There’s more to those talks.  And Belichik?  How would Brady have done with another team?  Guess we’ll get some idea in Tampa Bay, at the end of his career.  How would Montana have done with New England, in this era?  We’ll never know.  And remember, while with San Francisco, he played for two coaches before going to Kansas City.  It’s apples and oranges. 

                So, someone asks.  Who do I say is the best?  Of course, I say Tom Brady based upon stats, post-season play, and Super bowls.  On paper.  As individuals, I can’t say.  Both are amazing.4

                Then there’s going to be Aaron Rogers and Brady, and those new guys in the last Super bowl.  Who’s best?  And that guy in Seattle?  What about him.  Aaron has a more than 4-1 touchdowns to interception, and the Seattle guy 3-1 or more.  On paper, Aaron is better.  And this era.  And what would Rogers have done playing for New England, under a master technician in Belichik?  We’ll never know. 

                One thing I do know:  stats aren’t everything.  There are amazing players that never win the big one.  Tony Romo anyone? We’ve seen him play games that dropped jaws.  But he couldn’t do it time and again.  What makes one person, with all the great skills, not win, and someone like Terry Bradshaw, with all those picks, win 4?  Everything.  The coaches.  The supporting crew.  The team.  Everything.  And something else at the right times. 

Now, the last item. Brady and Rogers. I will go with Brady, though I see amazing stats with Rogers. What makes one win 6 (and go to 9) and the other win one (going to two). Someone might say Belichik. Then I would ask why Rogers stays in Green Bay. What makes one person win big and another not is not just stats on paper. It’s something we can’t quantify. Decisions. Choices. Who you surround. Can you motivate others. And so much more.

Me Me Me….

                A lot of problems we are seeing today is through the encouragement of feel sorry for yourselves.  Read all those books in stores.  Read all these blogs.  Everybody thinking I’m going through this.  I feel this.  Let’s talk about this.  Oh, I had this and that thought.  Ouch.

                One of the things I’m thankful for, today, though I fell into the new trends for a short time, was our friends never felt sorry for each other.  Yes, we complained to each other, then went on with life.  We complained.  But we didn’t stew.  And if we complained too much, we didn’t notice our friends coming around as much.  That was healthy.  Everybody has problems.  And some of the people with the most difficulties of life are the happiest, because they don’t stew.  Stewing in problems solves nothing.  Talking endlessly, writing books about, and all that draws a crowd, but they all stew in their problems, feeling like that’s the life.  It’s not.  There’s a positive side of life we’re missing out.

                And that’s what we’ve been seeing of late.  People walking around like zombies, all woe is me.  Yet we have one who refuses to live in worry, focusing on the positives, the solutions.  And there’s more.  The ones looking forward are having full lives, filled with work, responsibility, and joy. 

                A couple of experiences drove this point clear.  Those who’ve read my blogs might remember the little girl who fell right in front me.  I looked to see if she was alright, then asked, you okay?  She was about to go on playing when another lady stopped by and emotionalized her, in fact, traumatizing her with all the concern which wasn’t necessary.  I could see it happen before my eyes.  One moment, happy-go-lucky.  The next, crying her eyes out when she was alright.  The message?  Every problem now becomes bigger.

                With another student, actually a few, they were all starting to do well in class (It had taken half the year to get them on track.), finding good self-esteem in doing well and being positive examples to the others.  Well, a counselor took care of that.  By the time she was done, they all were feeling sorry for themselves and not working.  And they were getting together to hear each other’s sob stories.  Oh, and their grades all dropped.

                You see.  I care.  But our caring encourages positive behaviors, working hard, and looking forward.  As I once told a friend:  want to be happier?  Stay away from the psychic vampires.  Yes, people live off your negativity.  Surround yourselves with positive people, turn off negative television, watching positive programs, having hobbies, and you’ll start to see the sun come up in the morning.  Never mind the news.  Watch some to know what’s going on, then get on with your lives.  As such, you’ll be a positive example to others and one by one, the world brightens.

Times We Live

                For those few of you who read these articles, the time is well worth writing.  As a teacher, with the few coworkers who understood, we realized that each student, each parent, that understood what we were encouraging, looked at learning from a real place.  Like seeing each day new again.  What understanding really is. Those ah haaa moments.  And we encouraged them, well all, to see education from a different perspective.

                You see, each person that truly understands becomes an example to others.  So rather than being an “educated robot”, or one who has learned to detest learning, or relies on rhetoric or intellect, they don’t worry.  They are patient, enjoy learning, or “seeing,” and in a sense, wake up from the rules others have created because they themselves have lost the understanding and ability to think for themselves.  The see wonders all around them.  Opportunities abound.

                But I must add here, thinking for yourself is not being the source of the information.  I’ve mentioned this before, but it bears resharing.  It happened one night, looking up at a ceiling fan.  I understood it’s function, having never seen the innards ever.  This led me to realize there are many other things I instantly understood without no experience.  A book, “The Horse Whisperer,” by Monte Roberts, was an earlier “ah haaa” experience that also led me to this moment.  Without any scientist or expert, you can realize things without wondering how you realize.  Of course, what each person sees is different from others.  Makes an interesting world. 

                The understanding is not my own.  Learning is one thing.  But how do you know.  Like when you ask someone, “How do you know 4 + 3 = 7?”  One says because I was taught so.  Wrong answer.  Another says, because I can see it.  Right answer.  You “see” it.  You’re aware.  But it’s not coming from a book.

                And with this realization, faith increased.  I knew, even when alone, I’m not alone.  I can learn.  I can read.  But the understanding shines a light that’s alive. 

                If anyone ever tells you there is no right and wrong, that it’s all culture and learning, they’re either dishonest or have lost touch with reality.   Perhaps, they’ve been educated out of their common sense.  Somewhere along the way, they’ve become convinced of something that doesn’t waken people to the reality within all of us.  And that’s sad. 

                I understand things because I can “see it”.  But the seeing is alive.  It’s real.  It’s not information from books or teachers.  Else how could I differentiate between good information and incorrect?

                What we are seeing today, with all these recent events, are in great part due to young people not learning to think for themselves.  From the beginning, they weren’t encouraged to just be themselves.  They weren’t encouraged to live from within.  They weren’t encouraged to realize. Truly realize.  To ponder.  To wonder.  To question, not from the educator, but from a quality environment which brings them out.  Of themselves.  No force.  Good lessons, projects, and other creative efforts, letting that which is in all of us flower. 

                As a teacher, some might, and have, criticized me for being too strict or demanding.  I wasn’t.  You see, I provided good lessons, projects, and other creative opportunities, adapting to each class, and saw opportunities in moments that brainwashed teachers wouldn’t.  And that’s sad for them.  For as I’ve shared before, some things people are used to taking weeks and weeks to learn, sometimes years, can happen in a moment.  If you’re teaching adjectives, they already know what that is (It’s doesn’t have to be taught in the sense of lessons upon lessons.).  But we have to stick a title and definition which actually has the impact of dulling the mind.  Tell me about this teddy bear.  Oh, it’s light.  It’s brown.  It’s soft.  That’s it!  Those are adjectives.  And if you leave it right there, before you dull the mind with all those worksheets, you can go on with other activities that included adjectives without learning adjectives.  *The students will ponder upon what they already understand, but have been pointed towards what it is, without endless worksheets.  And enough of this type of learning turns their focus away from awareness and “seeing.”  And if entire curriculums and lessons are built around memorizing and dull lessons, repeating over and over, without activities that really challenge and are filled with real experiences, you can actually put the light out of people’s minds.  That’s why, as the students get older, the light goes out.  They lose that special something we all have, but individually.

                We are seeing tons of people that have lost an ability to realize.  Such people, trained to think from rhetoric, emotion, and constant assertions, without seeing for themselves, are then moldable by what they perceive as the strongest influence.  Then, some go along.  Then, some rebel.  Some realize they’re always being trained and see problems.  And many of these can be made to “feel” good by responding to someone or an organization that appears to have their best interests at heart, but doesn’t.  Then, being part of something different, they find their identity.  Yet, they haven’t really.  They still aren’t thinking for themselves.  They’ve just traded one programming for another. 

                And this learning at home might be one answer that allows many to think, learn, for themselves.  And with time, they might chart their own paths which is what this country was meant to be.

Thinking for Yourself

What we are seeing today, is the continued pressure to mold your mind. To create mass behavior and thinking. And this is the difficulty. As many readers know, I’ve always encouraged people to think for themselves, but this also carries with it, as you learn, a responsibility with the information. Like, if I know why my car breaks down, then I can help a neighbor having the same problems, even recommend a good mechanic. When I see disinformation for control, I raise the blinds so people can realize the forces and word-play at work.

With the advent of the internet, blogs, and more, we are in a time when information is everywhere. As such, their will be propagandists, socialists/progressives, and others all attempting to sway your views. But there will also be those who truly think for themselves, love freedom with responsibility, and will encourage you to ponder, consider, and come to the best decisions though we may disagree.

The difficulty is all too many have not received a quality education, haven’t been encouraged to truly learn, study, and research, and so don’t know how to think for themselves. They haven’t woken up to understanding. Not yet. And those who haven’t woken up can be emotionally controlled. Most people want to belong, want to be loved, want to be popular (at least within their circles), and want the good things in life, but also to be seen and appreciated. The problem is all these things can be used to mold you. They can be used to control you to whoever is the strongest influence. What influences those you need for love and popularity can be used to control you. So, lovingly, you have to realize, speak up, and hold to values and what you know is right in your heart.

People who truly think for themselves, will not go along to get along (except where necessary), but will hold to understanding and what they truly “see”, will endure not being popular, not being appreciated, not being loved, and not having everything. But they’ll be happy inside, and they will be good examples to others. And when we see such people, we appreciate. We are reminded of what is true. And many of those will find ways of success and happiness, but not through being molded by negative influences, but only by those who awaken us to good things.

Don’t let media hysteria use situations to create mass behavior.

A Free Country Remaining Free

Going on with the concept of thinking for yourself, we continue to find different ways, saying the same thing, but hoping more realize the importance, for this is a huge element of liberty, keeping safe, and remaining free from dictatorships.

                To keep things simple, then move onto how it grows, we will use an example we can all relate to.  Let’s say, for instance, in my youth, I’ve been told an untruth, though it may sound reasonable.  Let’s say, I’m told about germs, how they attack the body, and that I should be careful, wash my hands every chance I get, and stay free of diseases.  Through rhetoric, half-truths, texts and other books, online sources, I become immersed in this information.  Then add the emotionality of presentations, perhaps with people significant to my life, I eventually agree, taking on the habits and beliefs of those who had my best interests at heart.  For I want to be part of the “family”. 

                Now, let’s look at the mechanisms involved.  Well-meaning people, living in fear, want both to keep myself and themselves safe, so it’s in their “best” interests that I agree.  And when I agree, the topic continues to grow and a whole host of measures are taken to stay “safe.”  Washing your hands.  Covering your mouth.  Staying away from all germs.  Washing all clothes constantly.  Homes sanitized, wiped down, and more.  It goes to gloves, wiping down market strollers, and in one woman’s case, sanitizing products picked off the shelves.  Then, at home, reading medical books, researching online, and more.  A whole life in this.  And once a person “buys into” this, not seeing the influences, and who influenced the influencers, a thinking is ensconced in concrete.

                Then, there’s my life.  Working in a variety of jobs.  Working in a zoo, daily cleaning up after the animals (wheel barrel’s full), washing some, preparing dead animals for eating by lions and such, going into cages to clean, basically surrounded by germs and diseases, cleaning meat lockers that have been invaded by flies, and much, much more.  And never once getting sick.  In various jobs.  Around people from all walks of life.  In crowds.  Around kids and teens.  Going hunting and fishing.  Cleaning and preparing those animals for later consumption.  A friend of mine always going hunting and fishing, doing many outdoor activities, around everything.  Healthy.  Why?  We built up our immune systems.  And our bodies grew stronger. 

                One life spent in worry.  The other enjoying and experiencing.  Of course, we’re intelligent.  We aren’t into drugs, so no needles are shared.  We live moral lives, so maintain healthy relationships.  We do take risks, but know the risks.  And yes, sometimes things happen, but we deal with them and go on.  But we will get criticized by those who live in fear, wanting the rest of the world to live in that fear so they feel safer. 

                It’s the rabbit down the trail again.  From my youth, for some reason, my friends and I had filters.  We heard things, but our minds picked out the half-truths.  And under no circumstances would we allow rhetoric or half-truths to remain in our minds.  At least, when we discovered the truth.  And this is the crux.  For as the above, unexamined thinking takes on a life of themselves.  And grows throughout the populations.  Examined thinking is like the antidote to rhetoric and half-truths.  But it also requires a willingness to go it alone if others don’t like it.  No, we do try to get along.  We agree to disagree.  And we talk about other things.  But we observe and listen, reasoning.  And this is what has created the greatest nation ever.  But there will always be those who don’t like freedom, because in freedom, you face individual responsibility and can’t change everyone else except that, through clarity, they see things for themselves. 

                Those who don’t want you to see things for themselves are doing so for two reasons:  1)  They actually believe the rhetoric, for they haven’t developed a filter, or 2) They want control.  To control the masses, you must get between them and understanding, you must condition them to believe in rhetoric and propaganda, and you must appear to have their best interests at heart.  And you must cause them to see independent, aware, self-directed people as selfish.  To me, the most honest people are the most blunt.  They see and won’t deny what they understand.

A Life of Beauty and Interest

                Closing towards sunset, though the sun was nowhere to be seen, clouds blanketing the sky, we went fishing for trout and maybe, bass.  Air temperatures caused the fingers to tingle, an off and on light drizzle, but with the fish biting, we would stay out however long we might catch.  Sometimes, when it rains, when the sky is gloomy, we do our best.  I suppose, fish are in water all the time, so what does a little rain matter to them.  But our advantage is other fishermen often stay indoors on these days, so we have the lake all to ourselves.  And we caught a few.

                It was while we were facing what would have been a sunset that I went, wow!  Hard to describe, but I’ll do my best.  The clouds were all about, save at what I viewed as the center, where they opened up, letting in beams of sunlight though, brightening up the hill sides, like something you might imagine in a story book, save there was not a house atop.  But on the left side of this view a separate gathering of clouds were pointing towards the ground, like a huge hand with fingers, all extended towards the Earth, and closer to us than the rest.  And approaching.

                I stared for a minute.  Clouds independent of each other.  Beautiful, but also harnessing enormous potential.  The last time I had seen something like this, but more powerful, was in Pennsylvania, when a thunderstorm ensued.  Such power.  Such beauty as well. 

                The clouds resumed a more regular shape and I went back to fishing, catching a couple before going home.  I took only one trout home, it being large enough to provide a good meal.  The others were smaller, so we threw them back to catch on another day, after they’ve grown fat.  This one I cleaned so it could be put in the refrigerator freezer, saved for another day. 

                Education can be an excellent thing, but it doesn’t replace real life.  The difference between academic and real life are far and wide.  Academics should teach, but relate to real life, and projects are key to bring the book to hands-on.  I think this is why I took a few years off from college and went to work.  When I returned, I knew which professors had something real, who was about rhetoric, and who understood relating to the real person.  This is key.

                And this is where home schooling comes in.  There are so many opportunities, but parents have to get themselves “out of the box” mindset.  I would, of course, suggest reading the classics, reading books of real substance, reading science texts and doing home-safe experiments, and getting historical documentaries with books relating, discussed with parents afterwards.  As long as the kids can add, subtract, multiply, and divide with speed, all the rest can be learned.  As long as the kids can write letters, stories, and essays, work on the grammar.  All the rest, parents can look online, learn from home schooling teachers.

Tremendous Opporunity for Real Learning

Harness the Power of Aha! Moments to Help Your Team Learn |

                Make no mistake about our observations.  Having talked with the youth, some going onto higher education, I have noticed a vast difference in education and understanding between them and most in public education.  From my own experiences, the reasoning is clear. 

                When I’ve talked with home schooled students (Some include tutors, but they all have access to materials and online resources, monitored by the parents.), they understand the economy, our true history, and can discuss current events and cause and effect.  When I share my own understandings, they get it right away, having reasoned in themselves while growing up.  This tells me, the quiet times of learning at home (alone, with siblings, and working together with other home schooled kids/teens), without propaganda and social engineering, gives them the time to ponder, realize, and “see” things for themselves, something I’ve always worked towards with my students. 

                This aspect, I believe, is extremely important.  For instance, in my youth, I understood something, then told my friend.  He immediately asked where did I read that.  That was a huge awakening.  I answers, look, if something is true, and I realize it, why do we need an “expert” or publication to prove?  You see, young people are growing up relying on information not from their understanding.  As a teacher, I always encourage the students to think for themselves.  If you don’t agree with me, good.  If you agree with me, good.  But in either case, you should be able to explain why, and it doesn’t have to come from other sources.  Sometimes.  I explained this to them to awaken them to the realization that they can realize things for themselves.  And when they do, confidence grows.

                The more disturbing observation we’ve noticed is the older the public students get, the longer they are in those classes, the less able they are to think for themselves.  As they get older, we’ve seen the “light” go out of their eyes.  They lose the wonder.  They lose the independent thinking.  They lose the ability to ponder and reflect, come to conclusions that are self-evident, and see real answers. 

For instance, when I discuss with the students about how money is created (i.e. Business idea, capital, investment, and return of borrowed money to banks and investors), most hear, some get the information, but only a couple really hear and understand:  see the rabbit of reason, though we go over this a few times over the year, including discussions about entrepreneurship and business creation (Yes, I had worked in businesses before becoming a teacher.).  When I discuss such topics with home schooled kids/teens/young adults, they get me right away.  It’s this way with all topics.

                In other words, in the words of a friend, the longer they remain in one, the less educated they become.  In one environment, they learn to think with someone else’s reasoning, reacting and emotional.  In the other, they have more time for reflection, and this is key.  In one environment, they “seem” to become duller.  As said above, the light goes out of their eyes.  And they’re surrounded by a system of thinking devoid of real individuality and pondering.  It’s a very sad thing.  For a greater danger is these people grow up, and what will they impart to their own children when they grow up and marry and have their own?  Ignorance and lack of real information? 

                In college, because I had to drive a clunker, I also had to do my own auto repairs.  That entailed books, reading, researching, asking mechanics questions, and many times by the side of the road with my tool box.  Often, I was at junk dealers, pulling parts off old cars to put in mine.  But what did I learn?

                Yes, we shared that blunt speak is often the best way to bring understanding to serious issues. 

                So, what is the answer?  Already explained.  At home, perhaps with youth from a couple of households working together, purchased texts, additional and supplemental materials, online resources, and online teaching (monitored by the parents).  Experiments can be done at home.  Additional history books, again monitored by the parents, can be brought home.  Visits to the museums.  And practical experiences such as building bird and dog houses, cooking together (with measuring tools), creating a small business, and more.  There are a ton of homeschooling parents sharing their roads online.

                But, someone asked me, what if the parents are ignorant and bereft of any useful knowledge?  What if they are so seriously lacking in education, living on other resources.   Well, I explain, they still have access to texts, books, and other resources.  And at home, they have the opportunity to figure things out for themselves.  They can reflect without all the noise.  And if self-motivation is a problem, two or three parents can bring their kids/teens together to learn.  But they also won’t have all the disinformation and rhetoric distracting.  For, remember, I explained the longer they are in one scenario, the less educated they become, which explains why my 5th graders can do more than most high school students.  And understand more.  I really mean this.  What I explain to a 3rd, 4th, 5th grader, they get right away, or soon.  The same explained to their older siblings are met with stares.  They don’t get it.  Like the young one needs to teach the older.   The younger ones, still bright eyed and curious, thinking outside the box, can teach the older ones whose minds are distracted.   Not the way things should be. 

                We have a great opportunity today.  With all the resources available, young people can become the entrepreneurs and leaders of tomorrow.