Thinking Citizen Blog — Friday is Education and Education Policy Day
Today’s Topic — Teaching What Matters Most
What matters most is seeing the big picture. What matters most is thinking long term. What matters most is learning to filter out the noise. What matters most is resolving to be the best person you can be with every breath you take. So, it’s Christmas. Today, a collage of ideas related to how I try day to day, breath to breath, to stay on the right track. Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.
SLOUCHING, FROWNING, SHALLOW BREATHING
1. I slouch. Standing up. Sitting down. Doesn’t matter. I have been preaching good posture for at least 20 years. But the fact is. Most of the time, I slouch.
2. Fixes: when sitting, think feet flat on the floor, think pressure against the lumbar roll positioned behind my lower back, think chin in. An avatar of the rule of three.
3. Frowning. Fake it to make it. Smile. Show the teeth. Mean it. Feel it.
NB: Shallow breathing: close your mouth, breathe through your nose. Feel your abdomen expand with each breath.
HARNESSING THE SUN, THE SKY, THE CLOUDS, THE TREES, BOTH HANDS
1. Whenever you see the blue sky, think gratitude. Whenever you see the sun, think gratitude. Cicero was right: gratitude is not only the first of the virtues but the parent of all the others. Etch it in your myelin forever.
2. Whenever you see green — trees, grass, bushes — think kindness.
3. Whenever you see white, think truth. Then find a color wheel and assign each color some aspect of the person you most want to become.
NB: And, while you are at it, harness each finger of each hand to represent the values that you most cherish but which inevitably are often in conflict. For my left hand, the macro values: peace, freedom, justice, prosperity, and truth. Right hand, the micro values: gratitude, courage, kindness, prudence, temperance.
THE BRAIN,HEART, AND SOUL NEED DAILY EXERCISE AS MUCH AS THE BODY
1. Writing; reading without writing is like eating without digesting. Writing without a blueprint is like digesting without enzymes. Form liberates.
2. Writing without periodic review and distillation is a recipe for amnesia.
3. Thematic continuity is the key to depth of thought. Keep a thematic journal on any topic that really matters to you.
NB: All blueprints are not created equal. The overwhelming evidence is that the three by three matrix is the best of the lot. Please share your best attempt at constructing a “what matters matrix.” It will be hard, but it will be worth it. Trust me! Merry Christmas!
Click here for the last three years of posts arranged by theme:
The most relevant pages to today’s topic are pages 84 to 86, 122–129, 132–3 of the “Education Book.”
Please share the coolest thing you learned in the last week related to education or education policy. Or the coolest thought however half-baked you had. Or the coolest, most important thing you learned in your life related to education or education policy that the rest of us may have missed. Or just some random education-related fact that blew you away.
This is your chance to make some one’s day. Or to cement in your own mind something that you might otherwise forget. Or to think more deeply than otherwise about something that is dear to your heart.