A splendid concept

Today, on a podcast I listen to occasionally called ‘The Splendid Table‘, chef, Sean Brock shared an interesting idea about how he’s come to think about community.

At about 44 minutes and 30 seconds into the interview, Sean shares with the interviewer, Francis Lam, that he’s been reading alot from a psychologist named Alfred Adler.

And from his readings, Sean’s come to focus on community in its smallest unit; two people.

If your smallest community unit isn’t going well, Sean shares that he’s come to believe that there’s a good chance your larger community units (i.e. organizations, business ventures, friendships, work relationships) won’t fare that well either.

He speaks from experience apparently.

Intriguing to say the least.

His advice…try and figure out how to make your most immediate community unit work and thrive before spending too much time going out and trying to figure out your other larger community units.

I like it for its simplicity.

I think this concept is actually a pretty splendidly clever way to put things in perspective with how we interact with each other.

We, myself very much included, tend to want to go out and seek other respites from our immediate communities.

And yet, maybe…juuust maybe…we’re missing out on some greater lessons these smallest of communities provide?

I’d like to spend more time this week with this new concept…making sure my table is set, so to speak, for my most immediate of community members, and that my table setting makes sure that my immediate community members get my full attention 🙂

What do you think?

As always, thanks for stopping by.

Drew

A High School Student’s Speech That Made Me Want To…Practice…Yes, Practice :) Allen Iverson eat your heart out ;0

My old college roommate and dear friend, Rob Archer, sent me this link of his son’s valedictorian speech, and his own speech at his son’s high school graduation in June of this year.

You’ll probably want to jot this guy’s name down, Brenden Archer.

Yeah, this kid’s something special.

https://youtu.be/ZjDz-8otPmI

I know I’m a bit late in sharing this, and despite it being over 4 months ago, I still feel it’s important to share this speech with you.

I hope you’ll find his words as inspiring and refeshing as I did when I first heard them 4 months ago.

Again, apologies I’m just now sharing this.

Brenden’s speech starts at, go figure, 20 minutes and 19 seconds into the ceremony 🙂

My friend, Rob, who is an English teacher at Brenden’s now former high school, Shadle Park, was invited to speak by the students and faculty; a very high honor.

Rob’s speech begins at 26 minutes and 50 seconds into the ceremony, and is inspiring and refreshing in its own right.

There are many bright moments in Brenden’s speech, but there is one that sticks out prominently with me; his reference to Allen Iverson, aka AI, the former NBA point guard for the Philadelphia 76ers.

Rob and I got such a kick out of Iverson’s ‘Practice’ rant to the sports media back in 2002; Brenden’s 1st full year on this pale blue dot.

And now, in that transfer of knowledge from father to son, Brenden’s taken the Iverson practice rant and given it his own ‘Archer Analytics’ if you will.

Analytics that I hope my own son one day will take heed.

Practice leads to great things, and is Brenden’s central message.

Brenden, you are a testament to practice , to hard work, to determination, and to diligence.

All of these qualities I saw in your Dad the first year I met him in August of 1988 on a long E dorm room hallway at Furman University (where I believe a few rounds of ‘death frisbee’ may have been played).

Brenden, congratulations on a remarkable high school career!

From academics to athletics, you excelled mightily.

I know your parents and your whole family are incredibly proud of you, and how you’ve conducted yourself.

I still remember the time you guys came down to visit us in 2014.

You were 13 years old, and so kind to Matthew who was only 6 at the time.

You brought a small drum with you to do what you talked about in your speech…practice.

We’re talking about practice 🙂

Yep, and you kept practicing and getting better and better at that drum.

And now…look at you.

A practicing musician made perfect.

Or at least perfect in the sense that you are enjoying making music for yourself and others.

Again, a lot to be proud of there.

You were only 2 years old when I met you in Long Beach, CA for the 1st time. You and your Mom and Dad were living in Oceanside, CA.

Chihiro and I had only been married a year. Your Mom and Dad about 3 years.

I actually hadn’t seen your Dad and Mom in about 3 years since their wedding.

What a fun, quick, yet very memorable dinner that was for me to get to meet one of my dearest friends on the planet’s new son.

You lit up the room then, and you’re still doing it 16 years later.

Look out world!

Brenden’s graduated from high school, and he’s taking his ‘light show’ on the road.

Brenden, I know there are many out there who need your light, and are comforted to know your light is out there, and that it shines so bright.

I’m definitely one of those folks.

Thank you, Brenden!

And thank you, Rob, dear friend, and Kristi, Rob’s partner on this long journey, for raising such a wonderful human being!

Here’s to many more accolades in the future for you all 🙂

My kindest and humblest regards,

Drew

(A sand tennis protégé to Brenden Archer who is in need of much…much…you guessed it…practice 😊)

Land of Confusion

I heard this song the other day (forgive me as the original video just doesn’t agree with me on a number of levels).

Its genesis, forgive the obvious pun, is rooted in the twilight of the Cold War and Nuclear Weaponry scares between the U.S. and Russia.

Ironic that even now in 2019, we are still talking about the Russians and our country as nuclear threats.

Equally ironic is the fact that now it’s not a cold war we are fighting so much, as a hot war; one with our warming planet that we all should be fighting with ourselves and our way of living on this planet, but we aren’t.

This is the Land of Confusion.

And maybe, if Genesis were to chime in 30 some odd years later on their iconic lyrics and song, that our current land of confusion is also a land of massive denial.

We have a moment now where a high school student from Sweden, Greta Thunberg, potentially a Nobel Laureate for Peace, has raised our awareness about climate change to levels not raised since Al Gore’sAn Inconvenient Truth’ graced bookstores and movie theaters nearly 15 years ago.

15 years.

15.

We’re still not fighting the good fight.

We have a president who mocks this high school student.

Let me say that one more time.

We have a president who mocks this high school student.

That should be the high crime and misdemeanor that sends this incredibly disgraceful person back to his resort life in New York and Florida.

And wouldn’t it be so fitting that all this president’s non-disclosed wealth was taken away literally by the very natural processes of our pale blue dot acting in very natural accordances with the laws of physics and thermodynamics and yes, climate science?

I have to believe that Martin Luther King’s famous utterance that the arc of the moral universe bends towards justice will be uttered on that day when our current president has to finally account for his blatant disregard for science and the rule of law.

We shall overcome.

The song opens…

I must’ve dreamed a thousand dreams.

Been haunted by a million screams

But I can hear the marching feet

They’re moving into the street.

In my mind during high school when I first heard this song, those feet used to be good people preparing for some amorphous war with bad people from some other amorphous force.

Now those feet are the feet inspired by this wonderful high school student to be in the streets protesting their elders for their lack of patriotism toward their planet.

Shame on all of us.

Shame.

The song continues…

Now did you read the news today
They say the danger’s gone away
But I can see the fire’s still alight
There burning into the night.

There’s too many men
Too many people
Making too many problems
And not much love to go round
Can’t you see
This is a land of confusion.

Hits me like a ton of bricks.

I am the problem, and I am the solution.

I wait for hope from Phil and his gang…

This is the world we live in
And these are the hands we’re given
Use them and let’s start trying
To make it a place worth living in.

Amen, Phil. Amen, Genesis.

Amen, to all good stewards on our pale blue dot using their hands to make this place a place worth living in.

That is the question I want to ask myself everyday when I wake and when I sleep.

Am I part of the problem or part of the solution?

Right now, we need to only elect people who are passionate about solving this problem.

Solving this problem will heal our land of confusion.

Phil and his gang of music-philes aren’t done…

Ooh Superman where are you now?

When everything’s gone wrong somehow

The men of steel, the men of power

Are losing control by the hour.

This is the time

This is the place

So we look for the future

But there’s not much love to go round

And THAT, in my humble opinion, is the most brilliant statement in the song…

Not much love to go round.

SO. TRUE.

But, you know what?

You know what’s amazing about love?

No matter how much you think there isn’t enough left, when you dig deep, you find that you can always love more.

There’s always more.

Tell me why, this is a land of confusion.

We got lost.

We forgot to love our fellow earthlings as ourselves regardless of what part of the planet we all come from.

We. Are. Earthlings.

This is the world we live in
And these are the hands we’re given
Use them and let’s start trying
To make it a place worth living in.

I remember long ago –
Ooh when the sun was shining
Yes and the stars were bright
All through the night
And the sound of your laughter
As I held you tight
So long ago –

And now, this is what our young people are telling us…

I won’t be coming home tonight
My generation will put it right
We’re not just making promises
That we know, we’ll never keep.

Too many men
There’s too many people
Making too many problems
And not much love to go round
Can’t you see
This is a land of confusion.

Now this is the world we live in
And these are the hands we’re given
Use them and let’s start trying
To make it a place worth fighting for.

This is the world we live in
And these are the names we’re given

And finally the greatest charge to all of us…

Stand up and let’s start showing
Just where our lives are going to.

Well said, Genesis. Well. Said.

Want some quick ways to feel empowered on your contemplating how you can help heal this land of confusion?

Click HERE (and also check out Purple Glove Organic’s webpage for some easy ways to start composting today 😊)

How about spreading love rather than hate around this pale blue dot starting with yourself?

Click HERE (a beautiful lecture by Tara Brach, one of my favorite teachers at the moment).

As always, thanks for stopping by,

Drew

Sticks and Stones – A Song for the Oppressed, Bullied, and Human Among Us

Scabby head, knobby kneed, old nappy head
Thunder thighs, juicing, all turning red
Pizza face, pop it quick, old nasty, old pits, old panty waist,
Knotty headed, fatty cakes
Oh sticks and stones can break my bones
But your words always hurt me the most
My scars will heal but the slurs won’t
Blow up and lose my head, well I hope I don’t (I hope I don’t)
That was a song that greeted me this past week at 12:56pm on a Wednesday during my lunch break that I took by myself in my car.
The song had been on my iPhone for a good 5 years I think, but I’d never listened to it.
It just came on ‘randomly’ while I was eating in my car.
The song has haunting piano notes to open like only Bruce Hornsby can play.
The notes grab me immediately and say, ‘Pay Attention’.
Then, the ‘slurs’ start atop the music.
I’m jettisoned back to my elementary, middle, and high school years in South Carolina and Virginia all at once.

Man, this song is hitting me hard.

This is about someone who gets bullied, someone who’s called derogatory names.

It could be every human on the planet.

Most likely it IS every human on the planet as I don’t think any of us are escaping these hurtful words from other humans.

They’re as prevalent as neutrinos criss-crossing the Universe.

And then, that last line…the one before the refrain…

Blow up and lose my head, well, I hope I don’t.

Whoa.

More bricks.

I think about us all.

I think about how hurtful we are to one another with our words.

I think about the things I said to my mom, my dad when he was still alive, my sister, my wife, my son, my beyond immediate family, my friends.

My words mean and have meant something.

Are they said in love, in hate, in ignorance, in fear?

Oh I want to turn back our pale blue dot a few rotations like Superman did, and get that 2nd chance to make it right with all I’ve hurt on my time here on the planet.

Alas, that kind of superpower rests way outside my paygrade.

How do we stop the hurt?

How do we avoid the descent into fear and apathy that I see happening all around me on this planet?

How do we stop what we’re doing to the planet itself, and how we talk to our pale blue dot with utter disdain and disregard for its beautiful processes that we say flies in the face of efficiency and expediency?

Yes. I am guilty of that by my very lifestyle.

I don’t have any answers except that I think in those haunting lyrics sung by one of my favorite musicians, Mr. Hornsby, he points to a serious flaw in our operating system as humans, and in our current culture…

I’m talking about our serious mental health flaw that we sometimes ‘lose our head’ in a metaphorical sense.

Sometimes the hurt becomes too much and we lash out in anger and sometimes violence.

We don’t take the time to think about why we got to that place in the first place.

We’re human.

Let me say that again.

We’re human. Of course we’d act like this.

But it doesn’t have to be like Groundhog Day was for Bill Murray.

We can right the ship.

We can make choices in our heads and in our thinking to do what is right.

We know we’re capable of such heights as a species, but we, and I mostly mean I, seem to forget that all of us, and I do mean ALL OF US are prone to equally inexcusable depths of depravity and evil.

I want to make this planet a safe place for people to seek healing for their minds when the hurtful words exceed their capacity to handle such hurtful words.

I know I need that safe place.

Thankfully I have health insurance from my employer that provides that kind of mental health help anytime I need it, even free up to about 6-12 visits.

Unfortunately, many others don’t have that luxury.

I would like them to.

Can we all agree that making such mental health help available to all peoples on this planet could possibly make a tremendous impact on how people approach problems and talk to each other and to themselves?

When Amazon and Google and Facebook have automated our lives beyond where we can even discern the line between automated and non-automated, I would say it will be at that moment the value of us all as humans to be there for each other, and to help each other heal from all the hurtful words we’ve experienced in this life, will approach the realms of ‘priceless’ and ‘invaluable’.

The machines are coming for our jobs, but I’m hopeful that they will only replace those that are tedious, monotonous, and altogether very arduous tasks.

The machines will, I think, pave the way for all of us as humans to more effectively hear, help, and heal each other.

We’ll have much more time to devote to these causes of taking care of our fellow humans.

We need each other.

Thanks for reading to the end.

Interested in your thoughts.

Please feel free to drop me a comment below or email me @ drew.mather@gmail.com.

Sincerely,

Drew

The Passing of A Dear Cousin

My cousin, Christie Drew Happ (pictured above, I LOVE this picture her family chose for her obituary) on my Mom’s side of the Drew family passed away last Friday, September 13th.

Here’s a link to her obituary.

She was my grandfather’s brother’s daughter.

She was only 58 years old.

She and her sister, Melanie, lost their younger brother, Timmy, last year.

I hadn’t kept in great touch since Timmy’s passing last year.

My last contact I think was a very nice thank you note from Christie for the flowers sent for Timmy’s passing.

She always was active on Facebook and checking my status updates.

I didn’t return the favor.

We weren’t super close, but her passing did give me serious pause this past week as I’d hoped to be able to tell her that I was thinking about her and wish her well with her kidney condition.

The following is a letter I wrote to Christie on her Facebook page.

Too many days too late obviously.

I’ll miss you, Christie, especially your wonderful laugh and way of carrying yourself.

Your Mom and Dad would be so proud of you, and how many people you touched on your short time here on this pale blue dot.

I’m sure your brother and sister, and your husband and your children, and all those around you, thought the world of you.

I certainly did, and still do.

Please rest in peace, dear cousin.

My letter follows (full names are given as that’s how they pop up in Facebook to tag people that are mentioned)…

Dear Christie Drew Happ,

You were my dear older cousin in Darlington, SC growing up.

I haven’t kept up with you over the past few years.

That is on me. I am really sorry 😥

I found out Friday from my mom,Gilda Mather, that you’d passed from this life we know as humans on this planet. 😥

Thank you, Mom, so much for letting me know about Christie’s passing 🙏 I really appreciate all you do to keep up with our family.

Christie, you won’t be able to read this I know, but I feel compelled to share this as if you were.

I’m so sorry I didn’t reach out to you earlier during your struggles.

My mom, Gilda Mather, and my late dad, Phillip Mather, would make time for me and my sister, Melissa Mather, and all of us used to come up on a Saturday or Sunday to visit you and your late Mother, Bobbie Langston, known to me and my sis as ‘Aunt Jean’, your late father, Hagood Drew, known to us as Uncle Hagood, your late brother, Timmy Drew, and your only living sister, Melanie Drew Hale, when Melissa and I were younger (maybe when I was 7 or 8 years old).

Thank you Mom, and thank you, Dad for making the time to visit our family members. I feel it was so important for us as kids to see that kind of dedication in action.

I remember always having a good time with our visits.

And one of the things that stays in my mind, even as I sit on the doorstep of nearly a half century on this planet, is your laughter, Christie, and just how infectious it was to those around you.

It was clear to me, even at a young age of probably around 4 or 5 years old. when I first remember meeting you, that here was someone who loved life, and wasn’t afraid to share that love with those around her.

Your way of talking to people was so engaging.

It was clear you were someone intensely interested in people, and making them feel welcome.

That, dear cousin, is such a rare gift, that when I see it in others, am instantly transported back to Darlington, SC, and your example.

Christie, you passed away last Friday. I will never get to tell you what I truly thought about you.

I missed that opportunity already.

I am really sorry.

I continue to miss out on opportunities to tell those I love what I truly think of them.

I get too wrapped up in my own life, and my own issues.

I will miss you dearly cousin.

I will always hear your sweet voice in my head welcoming me and my sister into your home there in Darlington, and your laughter, and your love for life.

It’s something I wish for me and my own family to be that welcoming to people, to love people like I know you did.

You were a great example of love, Christie.

We need more people like you.

You will always be remembered.

Rest in peace my dear cousin, full of laughter and full of life.

My deepest condolences to your husband, Mark Happ, and your kids, Hunter and Hayden, that have to find ways to keep going in your absence, and your sweet sister, Melanie, who I also adore for some of the same reasons I adored you. And Melanie’s family, her daughter, Candice Munn Pucciocio, who lost an Aunt.

To all the family and friends of Christie, please know that your loss is felt today and always with me.

Thank you, Christie, for being such a positive force for good and for love while you were with us here on this pale blue dot of a planet.

I love you. You are missed.

From Thoughts to Shots

Last week was one for the record books in these debatable ‘United‘ States of America.

On Sunday, July 28th, 2019 at around 5:30pm, about 15 miles as the crow flies from our house in Watsonville, CA, a man, 19 years of age, cut through a fence, and entered a popular public festival in Gilroy, CA. He opened fire with an assault weapon on a crowd of people. He killed a 6 year old boy, a 13 year old girl, a man in his 20’s, and injured 13 others.

The family members of those who died will have to live with that horrific moment for the rest of their waking lives on this planet.

I have a 10 year old boy, and I can only imagine the kind of pain these family members have to endure having lost their loved ones in such a terrible way.

Then, this past Saturday morning, in El Paso, TX, at a Wal-Mart, another man, this time a 21 year old, opened fire with an assault weapon on a crowd of shoppers. He killed a 10 year old girl, and 19 other people before he was done.

And then, as if things couldn’t get worse for these ‘United‘ States, they most certainly did.

Early Sunday morning, August 4th, 2019, in downtown Dayton, Ohio, a 24 year old male opened fire with an assault weapon on a crowd of people at a popular nightspot. He would kill 9 people mostly in their 20’s, and injure 27 others before he was done.

I’m sure you’ve already picked out some common threads in these 3 tragic stories of these 3 horrific acts.

1. Assault weapons (i.e. AK-47 style rifles)

2. Males in their teens and twenties

And let me say at the outset that I would be remiss to discount or say that the access to these weapons didn’t play a major role in each of the 3 acts of the tragic plays that unfolded last week.

Oh, how I wish it had just been a play; something just acted out, no real bullets, no real hatred, no real anger, no real unabated mental illness.

But it wasn’t a play.

It was real.

Those 3 people decided to purchase very expensive weapons of mass destruction.

And by all accounts it looks like they all did so legally.

So, yes, all of us legally having access to these kinds of weapons most definitely needs to be addressed.

And I say needs in the most desperate of terms.

But…

There is one thing that, while I do hear people mention it in passing, I just don’t hear much substantive discussion of it for very long on the talk shows and in Washington, D.C.

And I think this IT is probably THE single greatest component of how these horrific acts get carried out.

And, to me, it’s so simple as if to defy detection.

I’m of course talking about thinking.

Yes, thinking.

Thinking as in that thing that you do from the time you get up in the morning to the time you lay your head back down and fall asleep.

Thinking.

Always, we’re thinking.

What were these people thinking?

Seriously, that is THE question.

What kind of thinking leads someone to take up a weapon of that magnitude, point it at another human being, and ultimately pull the trigger?

Pulling that trigger sets in motion a cascade of energetic events that will forever change how that person holding that weapon of mass destruction will function on this planet.

Pulling that trigger also sets in motion how others on the other side of that weapon of mass destruction will function on this planet.

What were some of the first thoughts that germinated inside these shooters’ brains that led them down this path of violence?

Was it something that happened to them when they were 8 or 9 years old, maybe younger, that got them thinking that the world was a terrible place?

Was it something that happened during their middle school years when many of us say that they wished they could have just bypassed that difficult time?

Was it something in high school where they got bullied, or made fun of, or rejected?

Was it post high school where people they worked with, or went to school with, treated them poorly or maybe even really hurt them mentally or even physically?

We’ll probably never know the answers to these questions.

We’ll probably always have to wonder, ‘What was that first thought?’

And, as I’m thinking about this issue, the nature versus nurture debate comes out as well.

Many believe evil and people doing bad things are innate; it’s just ‘in our genes’.

‘There isn’t much we can do outside of our genetics to change a person.’

This nature/nurture debate is I think critical in terms of how we go about trying to solve this mass shooting problem we all are faced with on this planet.

And here is where it gets a bit troublesome.

Depending on your worldview (i.e. are you religious, spiritual, scientific, materialistic, naturalistic, all of the above?), you will most assuredly answer the question about what those 1st thoughts were that started these shooters down the path they chose very differently from someone who may not share your particular worldview.

It’s our greatest plight as humans; managing all the different world-views out there among us.

I would like to propose that we at least, in these United States of America, start asking some very tough questions about the thinking process that goes into planning and carrying out such horrific acts of violence.

And, while we’re doing that asking, we acknowledge that we have a whole cadre of trained professionals in the fields of psychology, psychiatry, social work, counseling, and various types of therapy who can help people think differently about problems that face us all.

Unfortunately, our government has chosen a path where spite, hatred, and vitriol are commonly traded everyday between the other; the other warring political factions.

That really doesn’t help things when it comes to dealing with ourselves, and those among us, who turn to violence to solve problems.

Violence is rarely the answer when it comes to being at peace with yourself and others.

Which brings me to the question of how are we going to help our fellow earthlings to get access to these professionals trained in how to help manage your thoughts?

THAT is really THE #1 thing that I want my $ and my votes going to help solve.

I want to spin the world back like Superman did in that first iconic movie, and get all three of those folks who thought it was a good idea to take time to go buy an assault weapon, and instead take time to go visit with a therapist, a counselor, a social worker, a psychiatrist, a psychologist, someone trained in how the mind works, and get some help with how they approach problems in their life.

To get some help changing how they approach problems in their life.

It’s often said that we can’t change.

It’s too late.

We’re too old.

We’re too ‘far gone’.

Nothing, and I mean, NOTHING, could be further from the truth.

Change is all around us. Change happens to us regardless of whether we want it to or not.

Change is inevitable.

And changing how our minds think about an issue is something that most of us have the power to do right now.

Yet, sadly, but quite predictably, because we are human, we don’t work at changing our minds too well.

We don’t practice training our minds to think differently.

We get stuck.

But we don’t have to stay stuck.

There are 7 billion of us on this planet, and all 7 billion of us can recognize, right now, that we’re ALL on this planet together, and we can ALL help each other to get the help we need to think differently about problems.

As controversial as it sounds to many people here in these ‘United’ States, universal health care and ACCESS to good mental health care providers could go a LONG way toward keeping a 4th shooter from deciding to keep thinking thoughts inside their head that ‘the other’ is bad, and it’s my job to go kill that ‘bad other’.

And it may just be that ACCESS to that therapist or counselor or social worker or psychiatrist or psychologist, along with a changed society that welcomes people to get to a therapist or counselor without the ‘craziness’ stigma attached would begin to solve this crisis of hatred and anger and vitriol that flows from our halls of government from sea to shining sea.

My parents and grandparents always said words have consequences.

And I think we are seeing partly, not entirely, but partly, the consequences of many poorly chosen words over the last 3 years by our leaders of these ‘United‘ States.

Dear Mr. President,

You have an amazing opportunity this week to show empathy and remorse for how you’ve talked about ‘the other’ in these United States of America. Your words can have a profound impact on how potential future shooters decide to choose to lay down that weapon, maybe never even get a chance to purchase that weapon, and get some much needed mental health care provided by a government that shows it really cares about its people. Yes, Mr. President, I believe you can change. I believe there is still a shred of decency left in your body to speak to our United States of America and begin the process of healing not hurting. You are a grown man. It’s time.

Signed,

Concerned Earthling,

Drew Mather

As always, thanks for stopping by.

Let us all begin to treat each other with kindness and compassion today and always.

To the victims and family and friends of the victims from last week’s horrific events, please know that the world stands with you and will work to make sure another one of these horrific events never happens again.

Again, thanks for reading all the way to the end,

Drew

There goes the neighborhood…

A really interesting glimpse into the mind of David Brooks, a self-proclaimed conservative, and former Wall Street Journal reporter, and current New York Times columnist.

Although the title of the talk is ‘political healing’, the ideas Brooks shares that really resonated with me were his thoughts on individual and group healing at the neighborhood level.

There are a few very nice nods to Brene Brown too for her work with the concept of vulnerability.

This interview really spoke to me at a time when I needed some speaking to.

Hope it may speak to you as well.

Thank you, David Brooks, for letting us in, and for Chris Anderson, with TED, for getting us to the door.

A Chilling Read

Am about halfway through this book loaned to me from someone at my work (thank you, Paul!)

Stunned to hear Ms. Albright’s experiences during WWII, and the perspective she brings in writing this book.

I just finished her description of Charlie Chaplin’s film, ‘The Great Dictator’

She highlights a speech that the main character of the film, the Jewish barber, played by Chaplin, and in a mustache very similar to Hitler’s, gives towards the end of the film.

Here’s a link to the clip she references:

https://youtu.be/wMKpYxhI2KI

In my humble opinion, it’s a must-see for those who hope for a better world not filled with violence.

Albright concludes Chapter 6 of her book…

‘Chaplin’s words are sentimental, maudlin, and naive. I cannot listen to them without wanting to cheer.’

Indeed, Ms. Albright. Indeed.

Thank you for writing this chapter, and this book.

Very, very sobering.

Thanks for stopping by.

Drew

Use of the words ‘smart’ and ‘bright’

As a Dad, and someone who is trying to raise a child to be a kind and compassionate citizen on this planet, I see these two words, smart and bright, used so flippantly, and often times, with such disregard for what these words may mean to someone not on the receiving end of that judgement.

I’d like to take a step back and reflect for a moment.

What is it to be smart?

What is it to be bright?

My immediate internal reaction to someone who says these two words about someone is, ‘How do you know?’

Being ‘smart’ and or ‘bright’ in our society I think has a binary, 0/1, all or none quality to it.

This bothers me.

In a way, I think labeling someone ‘smart’ or ‘bright’ immediately places on people a sort of X factor.

An X factor in the sense that here is this person with an assumed nebulous quality of ‘smartness’ and/or ‘brightness’.

‘Smart at what?’ and ‘Bright in what?’ are my next internal questions.

There are so many ways that humans, animals included, can be smart and bright.

Let us count a few, shall we?

Smart at playing the piano.

Bright in figuring out math problems.

Smart at knowing how to carry a conversation with another person.

Bright in being patient with others who are not like you.

Smart at computer programming

Bright in public speaking.

Smart in taking apart a car engine and putting it back together again.

Bright in working with wood, metal, or stone to create works of art.

The list could go on.

I think you get the idea.

There are many ways a human, or any animal for that matter, can be considered smart and/or bright.

There are also many ways that the same people and/or animals that can do some of the things above, can’t do other things.

Some people do these things better than others.

Some people appear to have some innate, genetic talents to do some of these things.

Others, and I would argue, the majority, have just practiced and practiced them until they get good at a particular thing.

I would like to live in a world where all people have the ability, and the safe space, to feel smart and bright and to feel like if they’re not currently smart or bright in something, given time and practice, could achieve some level of smartness and brightness in that particular area they’re showing interest.

I think we are all capable of being smart and bright in a great number of things if we’ll put in the hard work hard to practice them.

Yes, I do believe that.

How about you?

What do you believe in this realm of ‘smartness’ and ‘brightness’?

I’m interested.

There’s someone else I admire that’s shared some ideas on this subject.

His name is Sal Kahn, and here’s a link to a piece related to the topics brought up above:

https://www.khanacademy.org/talks-and-interviews/conversations-with-sal/a/the-learning-myth-why-ill-never-tell-my-son-hes-smart

Thanks for stopping by.

Drew

Memorial Day

Regardless of how you feel about war, violence, and our current administration, I think it’s fair to say that there is a massive world of pain and hurt that’s visited on those left behind after their loved ones have died serving in a military, any military across this planet.

I want to pay my respects today to these people and their families.

I am sorry for your loss, and all the pain that comes with that loss.

I will do my best to live out the rest of my days here on this pale blue dot honoring these peoples’ struggle, and the struggle that their loved ones endured paying the ultimate price with their life.

Thanks for stopping by, and thanks for remembering these folks today as you go through all your days here on this pale blue dot.

Sincerely, and kindly,

Drew