Conversations by Chance

I was having an interesting conversation with a lady (just now) discussing our sun and some of the research done.  Then, the conversation went to the prison system, where she works as a counselor, and the dynamics.  She was explaining that conversations like ours are becoming a thing of the past.
The reason I mention this is she was educating me about both subjects, information which I appreciated and will store for future consideration.  Then, as the conversation grew, I noticed something, that she had a tendency to overthink and get too excited in what her friend shared. So, I explained that there is a difference between information and understanding, and she appreciated the conversation. Never worry about what you’re learning until you truly see it for yourself.

Now, this might be difficult to understand, but I’ve seen others “get it,” my childhood friends got it, and I think she got it too.  *Interestingly, the few young adults who were home schooled “got it” immediately.  But for some reason, older people are more difficult to explain what seems so very simple to me and my friends. 
There’s a difference between “understanding” and understanding.  In the first case, you get the information, see how the parts go together, see how the information goes down the rabbit trail so to speak.  So, like science fiction, the idea of a “new” innovative electronic device is being presented.  It is exciting.  It sounds amazing, and of course, the public will like it.  But the proof will be in the pudding:  when it’s out there.  Many an entrepreneur has failed many a times on great ideas, and some experiments have shown great ideas don’t work in actual practice.  Like when the Wright Brothers attempted flight. They had to redesign over and over again.  But even in psychological reasoning this has shown.  Great thoughts.  Some work in practice, others don’t.  There is a reason. Human beings are not robots. We can’t just fix things. There are things that textbooks can’t answer. 
In the second, it truly is real.  There is a far cry difference between having information and really getting it.  The difference is like reading about the Grand Canyon and being there, seeing it for yourself.  It’s the difference between thinking you’ve solved a personal problem, perhaps talking to friends and others (In my friend’s case, a therapist.), then waking up and going “ah haaaa,  I see it now.”  Then the person’s life changes for the better.  In the first case, the information was logical, but a human being is not information only.  In the second, the person “saw” what was causing the problem, perhaps something that happened in childhood, perhaps an old resentment, and after “seeing it”, the problem fell away seemingly on it’s own.  For some people, the problem doesn’t fall away just by seeing. Perhaps there’s something else needing seeing, or perhaps something not yet understood. Perhaps time.
There is a type person that believes whatever comes out of their mouth.  In some situations, they had a “strong” parent who kept telling them things (and supported them only when they agreed), maybe a mentor later, that they were looking for to adore and worship.  From that point forward, the very personality they cling to becomes everything to them.  They are what they are.  And they absolutely can’t think for themselves.  And when they are in doubt, because someone who challenges with new and real information comes along, they rush back to their “colleagues” to get reinforcement.  Then come back stronger.  Seemingly.  But they’re mists.  They’re images. They seem to mean something but they’re lost in their will and thinking. And yet, they will do this to others.  They will demand that others agree with them or “off with their he#ds.”  A strange phenomenon.  Yet, we have seen this with historical figures, even in bosses, and certainly in clicks.  The thing to do is never doubt your own understanding.  But also, be willing to relook.  There’s nothing wrong with being the “out” person at a university, the one others don’t listen to for the rest are following their supported behavior.  Be patient.  You will find those who understand you.  They are everywhere.  It’s just that most people of clear understanding don’t go looking for others.  They’re happy in themselves, in their families, among their friends, and keep their nose to work and responsibility.
Understanding is a gift.  We’re born with it.  And everyone has it.  I have learned to put into words what was so common while growing up.  However, it seems, with all the information out there, people are getting lost in the information stream.  People are drowning from confusion and redirection.  No worries.  It’s in you.  Like in the movie, The Wizard of Oz, you’ve always had it.  Just people keep looking everywhere but where they are. 
Reading books from Nate Shiransky, C.S. Lewis, the framers of America, Martin Luther King Junior, George Washington, and many of those long ago brings back the common sense discussions and what people of understanding realized.

Living the Dream: The Reason for Thinking.

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By the way.  I want to thank everyone who attempts to bring relevant discussions on these blogs.  Most people reading understand my position of thinking for yourself.  From my youth, through growing up, conversations and readings, then tons of research, I grew in understanding, but also grew in understanding that there are type people who “truly” believe and those who feign beliefs for some ulterior motive.  The true believers have blind spots, like most people (I have discovered some of mine.), and the ones who feign have some vested interest in pressing their ideas whether others understand or not.  And it is the realization that many are subject to misinformation that I share but have also encouraged others in realization.  Socrates was a great example of this, and I would encourage many to read his works.  I don’t agree with everything Socrates said, but in his understanding of the human condition, he was spot on.  *If someone agrees with me that Socrates was a good man in that he brought awareness to the people, I’m okay, but if they spout everything Socrates said as if he were more than a man (Like, well, Socrates said this and that….), I would have difficulty with them, for even Socrates encouraged others to challenge his thinking.
    Whenever you hear someone says the science is settled, that they are trusting in the experts who must know, then look at their credentials, my red flags immediate comes up.  Especially when it comes with calling names and using barbs and rhetoric to belittle those who truly think for themselves will go to the nth degree in consideration, and have common sense which they’ve never abandoned.  I encourage readers to be brave and be willing to understand the phrase:  I don’t know.  I’m still researching.  I’m still considering.  And at this point in time, I don’t see the evidence.  Or, I see indications, and this will require more information and testing.  Perhaps, one day, I’ll know more.
    Hospital patients understand this.  We rely on the experts in the medical field to help us.  When we have illnesses, we’re grateful for those professionals who spend their lives trying to help others.  But we also know that medical science is not settled.  There is still debate regarding whether cholesterol has any impact on heart disease (Stress is probably a bigger factor.).  There are still questions on how cancer comes to some and not others, even in the same environments.  And there are many other areas.  But this is why we keep researching.  This is why we encourage patients to become their own advocates, seek others’ opinions, and bravely follow the doctors’ advice while continuing self-research, also seeking others in the field.  And sometimes, patients bring to the floor something doctors haven’t considered.  I have been there.
    Now, I know we give the title of “experts” to some people.  And in a sense, they are.  But any real expert knows they don’t know everything, if they’re honest.  Even Einstein, as brilliant as he was, shared areas still under consideration.  For he was, I believe, a man after truth.  And one such a person will pursue, but when coming across new information, will reconsider.   
    As one who has had many jobs, I have also taught others to think for themselves.  And as I encourage them, this causes me to more think for myself.  I couldn’t care less if the others see things I don’t.  Or disagree.  In fact, I love it when another brings into discussions things I haven’t considered, just as I’m using this article to further real discussions.  I love the challenge.  I love learning.  I love becoming more aware through the discussions with others.  In other words, I’m not closed-minded.  But I will have to understand your position, if you have one.  And I will filter through your thinking and words, for what you say tells me everything about your position.  And I can see dishonesty, misguidedness, errors in reasoning, or blind spots a mile away.  To those living by understanding, they see this too.  Not pridefully.  Just honestly.
    This is one of the purposes of thinking for yourself.  Of understanding.  And anyone who likes what I’m saying, then thinks they “have it” will soon discover they are right where they were before.  The same.  And one thing they might discover is that many things they used to believe are now in question.  But this is good.  For then, the person has the opportunity to examine their own reasonings, perhaps with time, truly understanding.  But I believe one thing will happen, the more you know, the more you’ll realize you don’t know.  But what you know comes through understanding.


Why Understanding is so Difficult: for Some….

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                If I say to someone, understanding is the key, most people will nod their heads.  In truth, this very simple concept is the hardest one to get across, more so to live it daily.  I must admit, I have fallen to beliefs, though I realize they’re not rational, so realized there is a part of me that isn’t rational.  I’m grateful to “see” this, though, for in seeing, I realize.  For instance, in my youth, both my sister and I had the habit of turning off a light switch repeatedly to ensure it was truly turned off.  I thought, why am I doing this?  I realized then that there is a part of us subject to doubt, but we do better when we don’t listen to the doubt.  Don’t converse with it.  Realize.  Then, just go on.

                Regarding understanding, I am going to use a very small example, then expand so readers can see its import.  In the 5th or 6th grade, my science teacher explained gravity with a bucket of water.  She swung the bucket demonstrating that the water would remain within but also would not fly away.  In this, she was attempting to share that the bucket represented gravity, a force keeping the moon to the Earth, but that the speed of the swing represented velocity which was to keep the moon from crashing into the Earth.  Which means, both forces had to be exact, over millions, even billions, of years, in order to keep this relationship.  Later, an understanding that there is no friction in space explained why this relationship could go on forever. But something in me wouldn’t buy it.  It just didn’t sit right with me.  At that time, I didn’t understand why.  But I learned some things about people and understanding, which over the next decades, through hobbies and work, through higher education, through reading and talking, which opened my eyes.

                There is a phenomena that I don’t quite get.  Some people, and they start very early, believe whatever comes into their minds as fact, and with time, is cemented and they can never be talked out of it, never mind available information.  In others, they cement their behaviors and beliefs by a relationship they have with another, be it a parent(s), best friend, mentor, or otherwise.  Then there are those that follow the strongest personalities as when we go to college, study groups are formed, and one person seems to lead the others’ thinking.  At the university, I observed this phenomena, some calling them clicks, which caused me to realize some go along to get along, but they will not separate from those ways of thinking.  I think some people believe as a survival mechanism.   Some people need to find their identity in others, groups, or otherwise.  To some degree, I think this is normal.  We want to belong.  But who are we belonging to?

                Regarding the gravity discussion above, I thought to myself.  How could this be?  I had read about planets in children dictionaries from very early in age.  They fascinated me:  the planets.  So, the Earth goes around the sun, the moon around the Earth, as with all other planets, and this is perfectly timed.  Yet, there are forces outside the universe, the sun goes through changes, and atoms have little electrons that go around the nucleus in perfect orbit for millions of years, the electrons never slowing down.   Then I learned that in space, everything is orbiting, everything in circles, from atoms, to planets, to moons, to solar systems, to galaxies, and then more.  Why, I wondered, is everything in circles, are planets all orbs, and the universe expanding with solar systems flying away from each other?  Something like gravity shouldn’t be so easily explained by a bucket of water.  And with time, I did the research.

                Did you know that there are scientists that are indicating that there is a force in nature that presses down on the planets?  That whatever is causing gravity also causes the spinning, pressing down on planets which keeps the form, a force coursing through the universe in perfect and constant speed?  As I’m no scientist, and certainly there is so much more to learn, I am constantly amazed and wondering.  But I won’t allow another’s explanation settle it for me.  I have to do the hard work, and when I don’t have time, to just appreciate.  I don’t know everything, never will, but can be in awe of the majesty.

                What I came to understand is understanding is a mystery.  I don’t believe DNA contains this aspect.  For there are things I’ve come to understand without understanding how I understand.  As a teacher, I’ve learned to “see” understanding in others, but also to “see” the train of their thinking and reasoning.  I don’t know how I’m doing this.  But I’ve also seen others doing this without realizing that they are.  And because of this, when I listen to another, I’m looking for understanding.  If someone simply repeats what they learned, or repeat what their “group” believes, I see that.  This has the effect of being unable to believe anything except through inner revelation.  And sometimes, revelation requires research and study, for facts are necessary as well.  But what do those fact reveal?

                Now, I know most people won’t consider understanding as I have.  But from time to time, when I share this concept, I meet one who’s eyes light up.  Like they always knew this but never was able to put it into words.  They have an “ah haaaa” experience, and for a time, their day is lighter and joyful.  And yes, we do have to get back to the business of living and work, responsibility and chores.  And we won’t meet others who see this.  Everyday talk.  And that’s good, too. 

                But if you can get another to “see” this, discover what’s already inside themselves, they might also realize that they can learn anything in lightning speed if it’s something they are interested in.  Like when a friend looked at a horse and just understood the animal.  That quick.  Others see a beast and are afraid.  But the horse is always communicating if you’ll listen.  They might become joyful to realize what they’re looking for they were born with.  And when a person “sees” that they can learn anything, that it’s inside them though they might not realize where the understanding is coming from, it’s like a breath of fresh air, each and every time.  In my classes, the kids who “saw” this, realized thinking for yourself.  And they saw that understanding was a better way to learn.  For when you understand something, it’s with you forever.  When you understand a math concept, suddenly the problems are easier.  It’s like waking up, going “ah haaa”, and whether you forget it from disuse, when the time comes, you’ll remember.  For it’s not facts.  It’s understanding, which is alive.  And understanding also has the effect of acting as a filter, showing you what is real and what is rhetoric.       

A Perspective in America

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                In this day and age, there is much confusion.   One of my favorite memories is taking a trip to Japan with some family.  We had been to other places, of course, but this experience was eye-opening.  Japan is mostly a united culture.  The people have an identity, a Japanese identity, with all the history and culture that comes along with remaining homogenous.  Yes, there is a strong military presence and yes international businesses, but by and large, the culture has survived with many of the positives.  And positive the culture.  In this, the people feel a certain comfort, a certain strength in their identity.  And within this, they live, work, have families, and share thoughts.  And in this, there is still variety and differences of goals.  But the culture holds together.  Mostly.

                In America, while growing up, there was a more distinctive culture than today.  We were closer to our history.  I do believe the teachers and schools could have done a better job of sharing this information.  I would have enjoyed learning more about the people leaving Europe, many travelling through Poland and Holland, and the struggles they faced, perhaps more so why they were willing to risk their lives.  I would have enjoyed learning about the times leading up to the Revolutionary War, the dialogue between the federalists and anti-federalists, the discussions of George Washington, Hamilton, Jefferson, and what they were attempting to bring forth.  And so, having realized this, I have the opportunities to improve upon my own education.

                I was very fortunate to have had an uncle that fought in World War II, in the Battle of the Bulge, the last offensive.  We didn’t talk much about his experiences, for most vets don’t talk much, but it created in me an interest to learn, and learn I did.  Why we fought?  What was at stake?  What were the goals?  What was life like, though I can never know except through reading?  What were the values and understanding at the beginning of the country?  What were the values we fought to keep, which led to our protecting other countries seeking freedom from tyranny?  And what did this country look like during the first hundred years?  **There’s an old saying that a revolution from time to time is necessary to a democracy.  I believe this is because future generations don’t have the very real experiences of those who came before.  And it’s the struggle that brings forth the importance of values.

                I’ve been reading some of Nate Shiransky’s books again, bringing in other authors, talking with the older generation, and looking at the difficulties we have today.  Having taught in schools for over two decades, I have pondered upon the questions, which I hope those entering the profession, but also those wanting to understand America and American history, will seek to learn.  For in our history is where we find our ties to this great country.  And difficulties are bound to happen.  Where only three people live, there will be differences of opinions.  But in discussions, research, and debates, understanding grows. 

                Question.  What are the qualities we see in history books?  While I learned much while growing up, I realized later the schools could have provided a more well-rounded curriculum.  For in my own research, I’ve discovered there is so much more to be read and understood.  So much more to be discussed and debated.  And I’m also discovering the difficulty of finding others of richer experiences and understanding in which to engage in discussions like our fore fathers did.  Like the old days when parents, uncles, aunts, and others (family friends included) sat around after dinner and discussed history and the issues of the day, the children sitting nearby listening.  All too many of our youth don’t have this enrichment.  Many don’t have the ties to our history and the understanding the older folks obtained.

                One of the topics I considered is identity and democracy (By the way, America is not a democracy.  It’s a democratic republic.).  There’s an old saying:  God, country, and family.  I think it could be considered God, family, and country.  For America was built on the idea of freedom for everyone, responsibly, with people from many places coming together.  But I wondered, what is that identity?

                Can you have democracy (or a democratic republic for pure democracy is mob rule) without strong identities?  In other words, can freedom exist without each person and family having the freedom to be themselves, strong in their culture and beliefs, strong in their faith?  If we are looking for all people to be supported, that we have individual freedom, can this exist if some beliefs and faiths are not allowed?  Or suppressed?  That is a question I believe is being discussed.  It is a question that is perhaps not being discussed enough. 

                While growing up, I was also fortunate to have had a group of friends, like many.  We weren’t perfect.  We were creative, played sports, and sometimes got into trouble, but we also had parents that corrected us when they found out.  However, there was a unique perspective we held.  We liked each other.  We were friends.  But if one friend differed from the group in some activities, they didn’t have to participate.  In other words, we were friends by the commonality of friendship, but we respected each others’ differences.  I also think we were more akin to the traditions of America, but also the foundations of education, work, and responsibility, even when we weren’t being responsible.  We would hopefully grow through trials and errors. 

                For young people to grow up, being in families that care and provide good examples is paramount.  But as we all know, life comes with challenges.  But an identity in America, in our history, together with each family’s cultural identity, is what supports real freedom.  In every walk of life, people need to feel free to know their own family, their own culture, but also the culture that has brought about the greatest nation.  As I shared with some friends and neighbors, if a young person growing up wants a career in the culinary arts, another business, in the military, in computer sciences, or anything else, that is what this country affords:  the opportunity.  If a young person, at work or anywhere else, wants to take the time to pray, provided the work is done, that’s what this country was meant to support.  And if another differs in their beliefs than my own, again, that’s what America was meant to support (That’s what I learned among my young friends when I was still considering the future.  There were some things necessary to remain friends, like helping out when a friend needed, being honest, taking care of chores, but also allowing differences of opinions.).  As long as our freedoms are not trampled upon, as long as no one is killed for another’s beliefs, as long as we are safe in a democratic republic, then we are safe in identities and freedom.

                This is where the consideration of God, country, and family came in, which I would enjoy hearing others’ thoughts.  Or where some consider God, family, and country.  I would suggest that parents be true to their culture and values, taking care of their family first, which will support the country.  If we all care for our own, are responsible, then the country gains from this.  But within the framework which the constitution brought about.  And we can always debate and discuss.  To those reading, thank you for your time.   

Fractals

                Just recently, Jim shared an interesting scientific story about fractals.  The concept is quite fascinating.  Repetition in nature.  According to fractals, there are things in nature that repeat the same design throughout.  As when a triangle is composed of triangles ad infinitum.   Or the picture below.

                We’ve had discussions on how amazing the solar system is, but also how we see everything is made of the same thing:  actually one.  One thing makes everything else.  Of course, as a teacher, or anybody else, the fun is in observation, reading, and research.  What I’ve come to understand is everything we see returns to energy (energy creates all the things we see in three-dimensions, but is itself not three dimensional).  What we see in three-dimensions is made up of that which is not three dimensional.  Like energy has no thickness, so what determines how thick atoms or any other material must be?  And atoms, if you remember the pictures, show the nucleus with the electrons orbiting, which has anyone considered how much space is between the electrons and nucleus, which then makes the scientific notion that the Earth could be reduced to the size of a marble if all that space was removed, as in a black hole. 

                Well, when Jim discussed fractals, and we see evidence of fractals all around (i.e. a tree branches out, and the branches have branches, and those branches put out flowers which put out petals in branch-like fashion.  Then there are the roots.), I was reminded that throughout the universe is the same things repeated over and over. 

                As with orbiting (and we see this in nature).  Galaxies (which are themselves rotating) are rotating around a center, though this may be under discussions.  Within galaxies, solar systems are rotating, planets rotating around their stars or sun, moons rotating around the planets, and sometimes tiny moons are rotating around asteroids.  Then, we look at matter.  Within us, within objects, are molecules.  Within the atoms are those little electrons rotating around nuclei’s.

                I had thought about something akin to this when I was young, but now seeing more the relationship.  I had realized early in life that everything must be composed of the same thing or we couldn’t exist together.  In other words, the same understanding or principles, perhaps all things coming down to one principle which makes all others, governs or is evidenced in everything.  This also explains why all people can understand each other, provided we’re reasonable.  Why a man from Cambodia can understand the same concepts with another in Canada, provided they are given the same opportunity to understand the same things.  But right out of the package, little babies have understanding which flowers when guarded and protected.  In some sense, everything is everything else. 

                I encourage others to learn about fractals, learn about the amazing intricacies of space, and learn about time with cause and effect.

The Crux of Understanding

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                Okay.  Here we go.  As always, I write after consideration, but once the idea (or ideas) is formed, it just flows.  Interestingly, that’s how I taught.  I understood and the understanding took over.  And many students learned to trust what they came to understand, and when they did, their work improved by leaps and bounds.  One young lady, as readers know, got straight A’s in math and other subjects when she always thought she didn’t understand mathematics.  Another young man got his first honor roll, then principal’s honor roll, when he had always been in special education before.  They learned to trust their own understanding.  **And with time, I learned to speak to the students’ understanding.  In other words, as I instructed, I looked into their eyes, for in them I could see the wheels spinning or when they stopped short.  Then, I knew I had to come from a different direction.  And with time, there were less alterations for I understood how they thought and reasoned and what I would have to do in preparation (which sometimes was only a few seconds.).

                But here’s what I wanted to share, and why I so diligently taught writing when so many teachers explained the subject too hard to spend much time (Which made me wonder, then why are you in teaching?).  Yes, I would teach a variety of writing lessons, read everything, scrutinize my students grammar and punctuation, and with time, found less time-consuming methods that were more effective, for with time, I learned how they think and how best to communicate.  Which made me wonder, when I taught a prepositions lesson and story writing lesson at a school, while vying for a job, that the first took all of 5 minutes, the latter just a little longer.  Their teacher was looking at me confused.  I wondered why.  It was so easy.  But it took time, determination, and practice to get there, which I explained this to him, but I think he was a little “put off” and wouldn’t want me there.  Again, I wondered why.  I’ve always loved in, when on occasion, another teacher taught in ways I couldn’t, but realized the students would gain from such a teacher.  For students gain from the different abilities of different teachers.

                Recently, I read a writer’s book on this subject.  He shared the difficulty of some texts.  He shared the inconsistencies and lack of introspection.  Words mean things.  Grammar is utilized to bring forth ideas accurately.  And the sharing of understanding, through words, requires thoughtful consideration, practice, and introspection.  One cannot simply say something, as with texting, and bring forth quality communication of ideas.  But it’s more than that.  The understanding must be real.  And it’s more than that.  What we say, what we believe, what we think we understand requires consideration, going down the rabbit hole so to speak without obsession.  In other words, you think this.  Why?  You believe this?  Why?  What is your justification for believing so?  But I also think we have to be mindful of ages.  What I teach to a group of third grade students will not be the same as I teach to eighth grade students.  While I might get excited that an eight year old wants to be the next NFL quarterback, throwing passes at recess, or teaching different sports, in talking with an eighth grader, I might open the door more so to the reasoning behind having multiple skills and considering another career should the NFL draft not be forthcoming (or be shortened by injuries).  In other words, I should be “sensitive” to different ages, even from student to student, and allow them to be themselves while requiring respect in the classroom and with their peers.  But young people live from excitement and wonder, often in awe of things they learn, as when I would stand and watch a caterpillar create a cocoon, sometimes for over an hour.  I was amazed.  I certainly wouldn’t have wanted some adult going into details of dna.  Not yet.  That can come later as I grew in amazement.  When looking at the stars, I still have that awe.  It’s more amazing then Star Trek.  But I wonder if all those articles on the web take some of the mystery out when they are truly amazing. 

                But let’s get back to grammar.  One student writes (and I won’t go into age here) that they love ice cream.  Another student writes that they “hate” their brother.  Two students are having a disagreement, leading to a physical altercation.  When we say “love,” exactly what do we mean by that? (For some languages have different words for the different kinds of love, which I think is better for real communication.  I wonder how many grow up without an understanding of distinction, perhaps even less engaged in life because they don’t know the different meanings and the depth of some, having not considered.).  When a child says “hate,” what does that mean?  Do we love our parents the same way we love ice cream?  Are there more concrete examples to demonstrate our meaning?   And do we truly understand the ramifications of hate?  I hate broccoli isn’t the same as I hate my brother.  And then, do we understand why we feel so?

                When I’ve had students arguing, when time availed, I would bring them together.  While I stood as the overseer, I would ask each one to share their perspective with the other.  In this way, they learned to hear what the other was saying.  I might ask one student to repeat, as they understood, what the other was saying or meaning.  In this way, we could both clarify the communication or lack thereof, but also set a better opportunity for the future.  And each student had to stop and think what they were actually upset about.  And I did this only after they calmed down, for in the calm, clarity came.  Without the heated emotions, they saw better, and sometimes the two became better friends.  Often, they found their own solutions.  How often is a problem between students an extension of morning feelings, problems at home, or communication that never was communicated in the past which they’re still holding onto? 

                In writing, I used the opportunity and lessons to help them clarify their own meaning, or lack thereof (Again, I adjust for different grades, but also individually, for where I can be more abstract with older students, I find though young people can hear me talking straight, that I must remember they are young and at a different phase of their lives.  But still, I find, that I can talk to young children as if they were adults, knowing they are not adults, but that they understand straight talk and have understanding many do not believe they have.  But, I’m more careful.).  And sometimes, I find the students do not realize they really don’t know what they are saying.  It sounds good to them, but they read it somewhere, watched adults talking in such fashion, other peers suggested the ideas, and emotion drove the writing.  But I think emotion should include understanding as a basis for the writing.  And in this, my work is to discuss, perhaps changing peer groups so they can learn from other.  One thing I like to do is when the students read a story together, to have them explain what they’ve read to each other.  As I listen in, I can hear thoughtful considerations, varying ideas, but also errors in thinking.  And with time, the students themselves can respectfully challenge ideas.  In this way, they are also reflecting upon their own understanding, which is the purpose of writing and communication. 

                If you are a teacher, a tutor, a parent who looks over your children’s work or home schools, I would suggest (If you can.) bringing in books and discussing the meanings within.  Also, in writing essays and stories, discussing what the student or child is saying and comparing the grammar.  One can also bring in other works that demonstrate quality grammar and compare their writing, or compare two other writings, one with quality grammar and the other less than quality grammar.  One says it well.  The other not so well.  Why?  In this way, you are preparing them for better communication, to really listen to what people are saying, and preventing the introduction of ideas that aren’t fully examined.  They learn to really listen, looking for real understanding, or see the errors in thinking. 

                Someone says, as long as we teach the basic writing skills, provide a decent amount of practice, then we’ve done our job and it’s on them.  Perhaps.  At least they can write.  But how often do we hear in the news and other places, books and magazines even, that don’t communicate well.  How often do we hear unexamined ideas and beliefs?  Emotions are used.  But are the ideas which the emotions are based upon accurate in information?  Are we seeing real causes and effects?  And how can we know? This takes time and practice.  We are born with understanding, but we can also be confused.  And sometimes fishing trips, chores around the home, and the more simple things in life gives the little ones time to just be and wonder.

                **One more thing.  I have shared ideas.  How well I communicated is based upon my own understanding, but also the time I used to reflect.  It’s ongoing.  I find, as time continues, that ideas I used to consider I didn’t consider enough.  I suppose this will go on the rest of my life. 

Understanding Language

                The importance of writing and communication is a key to understanding.  How we think and write, the words we use, and what we read enhances communication but also to frames words in expressing ideas.  As a teacher, working together with others, we encouraged the writing process, but also read carefully to better understand how the students think and reason.  In this way, we could guide, teach, and encourage, for communication is a key to discussions, debates, and thinking how to better communicate. 

                I have concerns of the ability for most people to both read the U.S. Constitution and understand.  How will people read the federalists’ papers, learn the concerns that led to this great country, and share what they’ve learned in effective ways if they haven’t been taught to write and scrutinize their own thinking?  If they’re not challenged in their reasoning skills, by those who have also raised the bar in their own education and research, how will the next generation prepare for the difficulties of tomorrow?  Can they realize errors in their own thinking?  Can they reason past what they read, read between the lines, but also place a space between them and the material so they can learn without their understanding being diminished or clouded?

                One of the ways is to read the literatures of the past.  Of course, selection can be discussed between parents and their children, for some literature I might understand why parents might not be sure.  But whatever the literature of the past, it always is the parents that guide and are the gate keepers of their future, that the children grow up able to reason for themselves, that their understanding is allowed to flower, that as they get older, they’re able to place some “space” between themselves and what they’re learning.  Practical experiences, chores, family share times, making a dog or bird house together, and more are ways for young people to have time for understanding to take place.  For who hasn’t, from time to time, while doing something away from the hustle and bustle of life, not had an “ah haaa” experience?

                In college, attending the second time, I learned to really listen to my professors.  And in this way, I was able to distinguish between rhetoric, errors in reasoning, and practical experiences and understanding.  I could follow the rabbit trail so to speak.  But I wonder, with our youth, how many will fare without this understanding, more so if they haven’t been taught by parents who understand.