Third Monday

Dad's note - c. 1958

Dad’s note – c. 1958

On the third Monday of every January, we remember and celebrate one of America’s greatest civil rights warrior Martin Luther King, Jr. Today I reflect back on a handwritten note my Uncle gave me not too long ago. It was written by my Dad in about 1955-1962 when he was a young man from tiny Alta Loma, TX and headed off to the University of Texas Austin. I never knew this note existed until my Uncle — a close dear brother-in-law to my father — brought it to me and shared its context. It meant a lot to my Uncle because my father meant a lot to him. Uncle Dale and my Dad had enormous mutual respect and fondness for each other. They saw eye-to-eye on many social and political issues of the day. It feels right to share the note here today. It is entitled “Children Learn What They Live” by Dorothy Law Nolte, a popular American writer and family counselor of my Dad’s era. A picture of the note is above.

I remember throughout my childhood all the way up through my senior year of high school, Dad would often tell me that people are not born to hate, not born to kill, and not born to discriminate unless they are taught to do it and surrounded by it. That was not, he would adamantly explain, the definition of true freedom, true liberty, true equality in which our nation was supposedly founded! Furthermore, those three principles do not fully exist if it is not safe for someone here to be unpopular, like Martin Luther King, Jr. in the 60’s. If only one person in society is scared for their life or safety, for merely being different or thinking different, then the whole society IS NOT a free one. It is something less or worse.

It is amazing, probably appalling, that since 1775 and the words of our Declaration of Independence that “all men are created equal“, since 1863 and again the same words from our Emancipation Proclamation, since the hundred years of Jim Crow Laws from 1866 to 1965 which after 1776 should have never existed, since the 1900’s and Women’s Suffrage, and then still today in the 21st century, the United States is STILL dealing with forms of inequality and civil rights violations. A foreigner looking in to our shores — with our Statue of Liberty in the foreground — would quite rightly scream, HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE!?

To that foreigner I would respond ashamed repeating what my father taught me… “because it is still being taught.” Hate, violence, killing, discrimination, prejudice, bigotry, elitism, and divisiveness are all taught. It starts with the parents and family, then the immediate community, and if unchecked, continues through following generations. It is there at the roots and in those hearts that it must be untaught and the cycle broken.

Happy MLK Day everyone! And please remember the cost and continuing responsibility required to protect our fragile freedom, liberty, and equality for not just a few, or those in distant lands, but for ALL Americans right here within our own national borders! We’ve progressed a bit in 240 years, but we still have a ways to go!

(paragraph break)

Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always

(paragraph break)
Creative Commons License
Blog content with this logo by Professor Taboo is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at https://professortaboo.com/.

Flux

perpetuum mobileIt has been nearly two months since posting last. The other weekend I packed-up…again, and again returned to the DFW metroplex as I’ve done the last three Septembers, to once again substitute-teach in three different school districts while tutoring 3-4 nights a week. I have become a good walking definition of fluid. I’m sure the Lakota Indians, or the Comanche Indians, or any tribes of the Plains which followed the buffalo, would undoubtedly take great admiration in my transience. I know what it means to have mind over matter, but I have learned even more what it means to be a visitor; a grateful visitor.

Continual movement is said to be healthy for the mind and body. Exercise and do it regularly, and you minimize or alleviate many illnesses and recurring ailments. From a purely metabolic, intestinal, or cardiovascular point-of-view, flow is good — very good. In that light, I am doing well. Yet, I miss my time writing and posting here. How then is that good? Why can’t I write and post while driving, moving, teaching for 9 hours then tutoring the last 3 waking hours of the day or while sleeping or eating? Footnote: that was the device of “literary dramatization.” But I hope you catch my point. This will be an update-post, not my usual egocentric cerebral literary stimulation my millions of readers and followers have come to enjoy here — yes, laughing is permitted.

After three summers of moving and fighting to remain determined in my pursuit of full-time teaching-mentoring in one of two fantastic districts, the kinks in my armour are beginning to show. I am questioning whether I should continue pursuing traditional teaching. The pursuit is becoming financially and physically unsustainable. Redirection is inevitable and considering another path and its consequences has been one of many thieves of my blogging time. Though these three years have been mentally and emotionally frustrating, in contrast they have taught me to realize the benefits.

Failure Is Not An Option?

My father raised me to not be a quitter. If you are a regular visitor to this blog, or privileged to know me personally over many years (wink), then you find the previous sentence very ironic. I do. Loyalty, determination, commitment, were all daily lessons; pillars of character that my father lived and taught until July 1990 when he quit. That particular month and year those pillars became further and less defined to me simultaneously. Yes, notice the irony again. Right there is the paradox of life; of how two distinct concepts actually become one harmonious system. If I’ve lost you, bear with me.

drill-sergeant-screamingWhat does it mean to never give up? Go down fighting? Have faith all things workout in the end? The answers are typically admirable noble traits taught through the ages, especially in professional sports, used to motivate underdogs. Those battle cries and speeches are well and good, but I have found them to be incomplete. Admittedly, I am growing weary of knocking and banging on assistant principal’s doors only to be told in the end “Thank you but no thank you.” I can hear my Dad’s voice, “do not give up! Do not quit!” Find more doors to bang on! And after my knuckles become blue or bleeding, the question eventually becomes what do I need to do differently, because this horse has been beaten pretty dead.

Why do I keep doing the same thing repeatedly for the same result merely for the sake of not quitting? I laugh, where is the glory in that? Why am I afraid of giving up or failing? In hindsight, I think what I SHOULD actually be afraid of is paralysis! Paralysis to adapt and change. Be more flexible and much less rigid in a Universe of flux! You see, those dramatic motivational speeches and battle cries are for the moment, like a narrow lens, and do not address or capture our origin of fear. If fear, disguised as failure or quitting, is allowed to become over inflated, it will enslave me and influence, perhaps dictate, my decisions. I would imagine that leads to a life of knee-jerk reactions. Sign around neck reads: This person kicks frequently. Stand close at your own risk!

Ugh, not good. Not for me.

The Illusion of “Complete”

In his theory of special relativity, Albert Einstein proved that time as we perceive it does not exist. Events occurring at the same time for one observer could occur at completely different times for another observer. That implies there is really no beginning or no end, just varying observers and various speeds of movement. A beginning and an end are illusions created by our brains to cope and survive in our self-aware world of experiences. All things emerge and all things decay. But all things will change forms. Over a century of science has shown on a microscopic or atomic level all things are moving, emerging and decaying, but they are at speeds and levels unseen by our naked eye. For example, our Sun is burning out, but in our lifetime it doesn’t seem to be.  The seven continents are surrounded by seas and oceans, but there were not seven before, and there will not be in the future.  Everything is constantly emerging and decaying. Perhaps the above sub-title should not read The Illusion of Complete, but instead The Reality of Incomplete.

Below are some pictures of my current home. Is my life at the moment really that bad?

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

At this point I ask myself, what feels better…what gives me more hope and confidence, and less fear? Is it the battle-cry meaning of “Never say die, failure is not an option,” or The Reality of Incomplete? I know exactly what I would choose. One offers potential doom, disappointment, or pain, the other a never-ending story. One is fiction, the other reality. One stressful, the other calming.

In my procession of perspective I have come to realize there is still more, always. My situation is not complete, nor is my development. Is it ever? Is it wise to assume an experience has only a singular interpretation, one ending? Mmm, the paradox and irony continues.

Side-effects of Flux

I did not come from a wealthy family.  However, we certainly did not grow up in poverty. This middle ground has afforded me in my later years a simultaneous appreciation for what is had and what is not had. When one is required to move efficiently and often, you soon wise-up to what you really need to live adequately or comfortably, and what you don’t need. You learn what is fluff or extra weight, and what is truly important. half fullLiving in an RV for nine months then traveling over 300 miles to live for three months in relative luxury, soon teaches these gratitudes. My current life of embraced gratitudes are sometimes challenged or reinforced when others, with a different value-system, try to convince me my way of life is sub-standard or unappealing. I beg to differ. They’ve forgotten that all things change, both quickly and/or very slowly, both with intent, and just as much for them as for me.

My current occupational pursuits coupled with their illusive rewards, do not tell the whole story. I have found enormous amounts of value and gratitude for what I HAVE discovered, what I have gained. What I certainly know is that my story does not have an ending, and no destiny is set, especially mine. I can either work with it, embrace it, understand it, or I can fight it and be perpetually frustrated, angered, and bitter with myself and those around me. No, I have much to be thankful for.

I choose to be flexible, adaptable within my current means and unknown untapped means! Besides, am I not a visitor here? Am I not ultimately just passing through in this form? With that said and a grin, this is how I choose to end this post:

To Be Continued

(paragraph break)

Creative Commons License
This work by Professor Taboo is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at https://professortaboo.wordpress.com.

Summer Time

a-sweet-summertime At last the school year has ended and once again I find myself with a bit more free time.  More free to recharge batteries.  More free to reflect on what has been done, what needs refining, and what needs more attention in the future.  Free for more time to do things I enjoy doing for myself, like more blogging.  One summer project I am very excited about and looking forward to this June is watching every single game of the FIFA World Cup in Brazil, cheering my two national teams:  USA and Brazil!

It is my hope that during these short two and a half months I will be able to post much more often than once a month.  With that said, I’d like to ask my followers — if they have not already and understandably forgotten about me — what they would like to know, or what subjects you would be interested in me writing about.  The floor is open, the mic is open; let me hear your suggestions or questions.  I shall do my best to accommodate… within reason naturally.

 

beach-soccer-brazilI will also do my best to catch-up with my many other blogging friends and their posts who I have unwillingly been absent!  My sincere apologies.  If anyone knows of a way to add MORE hours to a mere 24-hour day, please, I beg you tell me!  I have really missed blogging and reading and commenting with all of you this past school year.  Let’s reconnect!

Therefore, of my followers, is there or are there any subject(s) you would be interested in me writing about or discussing?  Anything at all.  If not, I should be posting with my next topic shortly.

Have a fantastic summer!  I plan to!

(paragraph break)

(paragraph break)

Creative Commons License
This work by Professor Taboo is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at https://professortaboo.wordpress.com.