“Remember to play after every storm.” Mattie Stepanek

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My dog’s way provides refuge
From the ridiculous interpretations
Of the idea that we are free to say
Whatever we want.

Once again, I dealt with public criticism,
The kind that is not based in constructivism,
But more of the mean girl kind
That has both bite and bitch in it.

I’m confused as to why there is an attack
Coming at me twice a week
At the same time each morning,
But my dog gives me the peaceful respite that keeps me strong.

I know that at the end of the day
I’ll come home to a wagging tail and expression
Coming from his heart and warming mine.
“Young man, a tongue does not give you the right to say all you think.”

I’ve learned in “olding” age to let things go,
To check my list of those who matter,
To play nice with others.
“Young man, maybe someday you will learn.”

After living the life in a habitat without consequences,
Coming home to an unconditional and abundant love
Makes me wonder why dogs are so much nicer than people.
I can’t wait to get home tomorrow.

“It’s not my job to be the world’s critic.” Jane McGonical

My meditation bench is clunky,
It’s high and the seat is long.
I love this bench
For all is reclaimed from the roadside,
Each piece a castaway
Brought together by fate, purpose, or dumb luck.

I care not how they came together,
Only that they are.
There’s no animus for the polluters,
No cry against a disposable society,
Just happiness and joy for the pairing
Of wood from the same mother.

Tonight my mind fell into a deep flow
On only the second time using this bench.
I can’t tell if I was falling asleep or really letting go,
Casting off the grime beneath my confidence,
Jettisoning the dominoes of analysis,
Breaking the loop of self-criticism.

Either way, I’m wasted
In a fog like state
Where the clarity comes
With peacefulness and freedom
From the ball and chain that is
Being a critic.

The lesson today, a coronation of
Futility meeting Opportunity
Left me in complete contempt of
The snobbery of schools

A dream exists where all students can
And should go through the exact same curriculum
So that no one is slighted
Or left behind
But I disagree

One week with aspirations
Of having my class understand
Different disciplines in the medical professions
And there was nearly no understanding
Of what doctors do,
Why insurance is important,
Or anything from day to day
For this class, most struggled to remember what a dentist does

With their frustration nearly equaling mine
I punted
Asking them to explain Grand Theft Auto to me
These high school gamers
Spoke a language different than the duh
Most of this stuff got
Passion, certainty, and complexity
Were part of their vernacular
And now I was the student.

They spoke of gangs
I heard germs
They talked of lookouts
I heard helper-T cells
They talked of soldiers
I heard killer-T cells
And soon I was teaching immune response
To a class with a doctorate in video games
But suffering through their IEPs
In a college prep curriculum

Their interest peaked with each reference to the game
But retention will be like
Hitting the console’s reset button
For the connections don’t always
Make connections
Except with the game
Where the imprint is vivid
Long term and exciting

For them
These scholarly lessons are not hitting
Like they should
So why keep pressing
Why not teach to the test
That really matters to these kids
Meaningful repetition
Practical and purposeful
Fun
Life’s experiences

Maybe next week we can play some
Space Invaders and talk about the dangers of
Thinking there is safety behind academia’s porous and pompous walls
I mean, really, do kids connect better with the strategies
Of Danielson and Tomlinson or designers of Wii and X-Box games
Or better yet
Maybe we can talk about how to make quarters last
When playing pinball
Or why the Dig Dug guy (hardworking people) always has
Dragons (scam artists) looking to burn him up
Maybe the connections will become clearer then
In the meantime
I need to brush up on the possibility
Of relating these health lessons
To stuff the students already know

Time to listen to them…
Time to connect with them…