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Archive for the ‘The Deficit in American Education Today’ Category

It’s All about LIFE!

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Now more than ever before, we need to focus on LIFE.  As a FOX NEWS follower, I pray constantly to refuse letting the news depress or stress me!  Much of the news is so horrible, that it simply must be a matter of prayer.

Much of the news is all about death:  death by ISIS; the death of our American culture due to Godless immoral laws and deluded government leaders; and the spiritual death of a self-serving, self-centered, humanistic and materialistic worldview which has pervaded every area of American life from schools and universities to churches which once glorified God but no longer honor Him or His Word.

Without the Lord Jesus Christ—who took our sin to the Cross, suffered a cruel death for us, rose to conquer death, and LIVES to share His eternal LIFE with any and all who will trust in Him—I would certainly be depressed and stressed!

But I know that God is in control.  He is fulfilling His plan from eternity past:  “Thy will be done on earth as well as in Heaven.”  In the midst of this crazy world, His LIFE prevails and He will return to reign and bring justice to earth.

In our home, Joe and I have two identical hymnbooks.  Often, especially on Sundays, I play the beloved old Gospel hymns on the piano and Joe sings along with his hymnal.  What a joy this is!

We always include the hymn “Wonderful Words of Life”, by P. P. Bliss.  Along with its upbeat, catchy melody this song takes me back many years to when I sang in a junior choir as a child.  I recall continually bugging the director by begging her for us to sing “Wonderful Words of Life.”  The director tried to explain that we couldn’t sing the same song every Sunday and there were other good hymns to share.

But I still remember the joy I experienced when my wish was granted and our little choir belted out:  “Sing them over again to me, wonderful words of life.  Let me more of their beauty see, wonderful words of life . . . .”

Yes, it is all about LIFE!

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Margaret L. Been — July 31st, 2016

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. . . begins tomorrow, and that is not an April Fool.  If I spend any significant amount of time indoors (a lot depends on the weather and the gardens) I hope to post poems in April, in honor of that high art which is rapidly becoming extinct in our retrograde, dumbed-down American culture.

While a number of my favorite 20th century poets are still under copyright so that I cannot reprint their entire poems, I can go back to my all-time most beloved of all poets and authors of drama—The Old Bard, himself.  His writings are only exceeded by the Holy Bible.  The Bible being God’s Word will always rank number one in ageless truth, but after that comes a human author who speaks universally to the human heart and psyche like none other.  If this author were required reading at every level of every public and private school, there quite possibly would be no need for the “science” of psychology to attempt the unraveling of human nature.

Marry the factor of universality to the most exquisite use of language, and you have William Shakespeare.  I believe that the works of Shakespeare—as well as those of Milton and other past literary giants, plus artists and composers—are living proof of the Creationist World View.  It is pathetically obvious to anyone but the most deluded individual that mankind is not advancing with time!

Meanwhile, to jump-start National Poetry Month, here is Sonnet #64:

When I have seen by Time’s fell hand defac’d
The rich proud cost of outworn buried age;
When sometime lofty towers I see down-ras’d
And brass eternal slave to mortal rage;
When I have seen the hungry ocean gain
Advantage on the kingdom of the shore,
And the firm soil win of the wat’ry main,
Increasing store with loss and loss with store;
When I have seen such interchange of state,
Or state itself confounded to decay;
Ruin hath taught me thus to ruminate,
That Time will come and take my love away.
This thought is as a death, which cannot choose
But weep to have that which it fears to lose.
 
William Shakespeare, 1564-1616
 
After the Storm

 

Note:  Great poetry has more permanent staying power than even GORILLA GLUE!  The line, “. . . weep to have that which it fears to lose.” has filled my heart and mind for as long as I can remember.  (I was raised when Shakespeare was read in schools, and of course he was prominent on our bookshelves at home.)

We certainly do “weep to have” that which we fear to lose.  The only antidote is to volitionally celebrate every moment that we do have with those we love.  The moment is all we can be sure of, temporally speaking.  The older I grow, the more I rejoice in the moment.  I think of each precious family member, and even my dog, and I simply can not let myself dwell on my very human tendency to “weep to have”.
 
Margaret L. Been — March 31, 2016

 

 

 

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“One swallow does not make a summer, but one skein of geese, cleaving the murk of a March thaw, is the spring.”  Aldo Leopold, A SAND COUNTY ALMANAC

Sunday, as I was coming out from church, I saw 4 Canadas overhead—travelers with an agenda.  They were heading due north.  They were the gigantic Canadas, the kind pictured above at our northern home, not the wussie little ones that remain in open ponds around Southern Wisconsin all winter.  (Actually, the little ones are not so wussie.  They’re opting to brave the cold rather than fly to balmy Texas gulf shores.)

Although farmers get fed up with Canada geese camping in cornfields, I’ll never get my fill of these harbingers of change.  Up north, we watch them raise their families, as flotillas of Canada (not “Canadian”) geese cruise in our bay.  The Canadas pass up our wild yard, and head for our neighbor Jack’s green lawn.  Jack mows and cultivates real grass—the better for eating and pooping upon, my dear.  We’ve had countless chuckles over Jack’s goose yard, and the price he pays for trying to have a suburban golf course type spread in the otherwise gorgeous north woods!  

Mating for life, the Canadas are diligent parents.  When we canoe up the Elk River in summer, invariably a papa goose will soar out in front of us—flying low and honking like there is no tomorrow, in an effort to divert us from his family nesting nearby.

Now, advancing into March, we’ll see hundreds of straight Vs fly over in the days ahead.  The wavy lines in the sky will be the snow geese, another thrilling species of migrating birds.  March brings excitement to anyone with open eyes and ears!

Every March, I recall high school days and the soothsayer’s warning to Julius Caeser:  “Beware the ides of March”, in Shakespeare’s JULIUS CAESER—read by most every student in his or her sophomore year. 

Over recent years I’d forgotten what the “ides of March” were—but I recently asked my friend Wikipedia, and he bailed me out.  (How great to have ready reference to the many questions that surface every day and week!)  Here is the answer, which probably most of you readers already know: 

“Ides of March (Latin: Idus Martii) is the name of 15 March in the Roman calendar, probably referring to the day of the full moon. The term ides was used for the 15th day of the months of March, May, July, and October, and the 13th day of the other months.[1] The Ides of March was a festive day dedicated to the god Mars and a military parade was usually held. In modern times, the term Ides of March is best known as the date that Julius Caesar was killed in 44 B.C. Julius Caesar was stabbed (23 times) to death in the Roman Senate led by Marcus Junius Brutus, Gaius Cassius Longinus and 60 other co-conspirators.”  Wikipedia

Since I have a “chain link” mind—one link leading to another—I couldn’t help musing over the fine quality of education which we received in the 1940s and early 1950s.  The teachers in my high school (in the Milwaukee suburb of Wauwatosa) were dedicated to their subjects.  They had been classically trained in their discipline of choice, and they had not been burdened with the necessity of focusing on “studies” in “learning how to teach”.*

An abject passion for English literature, history, chemistry, or whatever, made for good teachers—and immersion in academics created excellence in the classroom.  I know that my high school English teacher, Julia Henninger, was far more wrapped up in Shakespeare and Milton than in whatever material benefits she may or may not have been receiving for her life’s work.  I am thankful for the education I received in school, and for the awareness of history and classical literature that resulted from my privilege of growing up in a family of serious readers.

To tie up this nebulous ramble, by the ides of March we’ll probably have seen many more of those thrilling northbound travelers!

Margaret L. Been©2011

*I went off to Colorado University in 1951, armed with a passion for English and French language and literature.  By the time I enrolled in my sophomore year at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, I realized that in order to teach I would have to take so many “education” classes that I wuld not have the freedom to immerse myself deeply into all the English and French classes I craved.

So I simply continued in my areas of passion.  I accrued more than the English and French credits required for a double major by the time I left school (after completing the first semester of my junior year) to embark on the amazing career of raising 6 children.  And I’ve never stopped reading!

When we love to read and learn, we continually grow.  Self-education may not put us in the upper echelons of Corporate America pay scale, but it definitely provides a varied and in-depth education.  As long as we have libraries, self-education is free and available to all Americans.

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