Rosie the Riveter
I like teaching experiences. One of the best ways to teach is to speak. This speech by Steven Spielberg at the 2016 graduation ceremony at Stanford is my favorite speech ever. It even transcends the speech Steve Jobs presented at the same event. And that is saying a lot.
This blog generates no comments or guest posts. I do not know how to change that. If you watch the speech, and if you are inspired to share your impressions, I will welcome them.
Rosie the Riveter
On my drive home from photographing two friends who are celebrating their wedding engagement I noticed a woman working a median strip near my house.
Her cardboard sign announced her homeless condition.
The logistics of the intersection made it prudent to park, and to approach her on foot. I gave her my customary five-dollar offering.
A brief conversation convinced me that she was not stoned or crazy, and when I asked she told me she had not eaten. It was 3:30 p.m. I invited her to lunch, and she accepted.
We walked to a nearby restaurant that is a bit pricey for my tastes, but I was, hopefully, creating some karma. I need all the good karma I can get. She loved her milkshake. It was topped with whipped cream. She did not leave a drop of it.
She was consistently cheerful and optimistic during our conversation. One of her current goals is to buy her son a birthday cake. He likes chocolate. Anything chocolate. She has three children.
The only physical marker that she might be homeless was dirty fingernails. She also needed help from a good dentist.
The world is screwed up, and many of us work for the people who make it that way. We do it in a mad quest for personal safety. There is no safety in a screwed up world. Each of us, you and I, have to take a stand for kindness and justice.
Artist TaylorJo, age 7
In spite of the fact that we are drowning in pain and conflict there are people who want to create more of both. Some of them live in Mississippi.
This morning a friend of mine posted on Facebook a clip of Ellen DeGeneres speaking out on the laws in Mississippi that penalize people based on their sexual orientation.
On Wednesday, the Senate voted 31-17 to pass House Bill 1523, which protects people, businesses, and religious organizations that refuse to service LGBT people if doing so violates their “sincerely held” religious beliefs.—New York Magazine
Another friend posted a Huffington Post article about the special problems bisexuals face, even among the gay and lesbian population.
A December 2015 study in the Journal of Bisexuality found that gays and lesbians had nearly identical prejudice against bisexuals as heterosexuals. But most bisexuals don’t need a study to affirm that fact, and failure to acknowledge biphobia from within and outside LGBT communities is extremely harmful.
I did not know there was Journal of Bisexuality. It is published four times a year.
In researching this theme I also discovered that Harvard has a project called Making Caring Common. It operates under the auspices of the university’s Graduate School of Education. Perhaps I have misjudged Harvard.
Too often, today’s culture sends young people messages that emphasize personal success rather than concern for others and the common good.—Harvard
Consider the bullying problems in our schools. Consider how many bosses bully employees. Look at our process for electing a new president, or commenting on a sitting president.
I think a deep commitment to kindness would change the world in ways we cannot imagine.
Rosie the Riveter
This post connects to two videos on taking a stand. The stand in this case is honoring the right to express one’s sexual orientation, and the right of gays to marry.
Click this link to see the former mayor of San Diego recant his earlier stance to oppose gay marriage. I find it ironic that he knew his daughter was gay, and he still took a defensive position.
Click this link to read his Wikipedia profile: Jerry Sanders.
The Ellen DeGeneres link takes you to her conversation with John McCain in which they acknowledge their deep disagreement on the subject of gay marriage.
I think our collective wariness to take stands is a national crisis. It is more severe with men than with women. It’s worth watching these two brave people show us how it is done.
Tomorrow we pause, at least many of us do, to honor Martin Luther King, an amazing human being.
To add to your experience of this wonderful man, please consider reading his Letter from a Birmingham Jail. This link connects to an image of the typewritten letter. This one connects to a more readable version. I include two quotations in this post.
Moreover, I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial “outside agitator” idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds.
It is profound. Please enjoy the experience of reading it.
Special reverence is in order, in my view, because he was assassinated.
We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.
I say amen to that.
The world is in bad shape. This is not due to a lack of wisdom, it is due to the poor distribution of wisdom. It is bottled up in a few places. In this post I name two of them.
An additional advantage in studying these two books is that they complement each other.
The main problem in the world is that most of us are trying to get something from other people, and we usually want to control them. Robert Greenleaf builds a compelling case that we improve our lives when we serve other people rather than trying to dominate them. He developed the phrase servant leadership to describe the values and way of living that he advocates in the book.
Discussion is almost like a ping-pong game, where people are batting the ideas back and forth and the object of the game is to win or to get points for yourself.—David Bohm
A book that connects with Greenleaf’s thinking is On Dialogue. David Bohm advocated listening in order to understand rather than listening in order to plan a counterattack. Listening to understand is a form of service to the other person. We can also discover aspects of our point of view that we may not have noticed. You might provoke me to disagree with you and I didn’t know I had an opinion on the subject. Dialogue reveals us.
One of the most helpful aspects of Greenleaf’s book is that he identifies the structural problems with churches, businesses, and universities. The problems are the same today as they were in the 1970s when he wrote the book. We are indeed slow learners. Bohm clarifies one of our common struggles when he explains incoherence: “Incoherence means that your intentions and your results do not agree.” That pretty much describes the state of the world.
Servant Leadership is not light reading, at least not for me. But if it enables us to save the world it is probably worth the effort.
I think more people are hurting than at any other time in my life. It is painful to watch the news.
The mean spirit of politics is the worst I have seen.
The abrasiveness we witness brings out fear and defensiveness which makes the situation worse.
Let us practice kindness.