Common Pits of education. By David Reid Otey 9-2014

Common Core education is the current life saver attempt for our country’s kids. Apples have cores. Then I thought–cherries have pits. There are a lot of pitfalls in education. Pitfalls that still didn’t stop our nation from producing the geniuses who developed the auto industry, the clothing mills, the medical, the legal and the psychological fields. Great laws have been written and passed by men and women educated by past curriculums full of pitfalls. Technology comes from great minds. For generations great minds sat in public education class rooms being taught by lesser minds using average curriculum. This not to say mediocrity is ok and should be accepted. I am pointing to the fact that the true energy, mindset, attitude, determination, creativity and desire to learn anything comes from within the student with the influence–positively or negatively driven–of family and friends and the overall environment of the community.

Now on my 21st year, I have been and still am a teacher of special education students. The pitfalls of public education that I see are the following.  Number one: Kids are made to learn sitting down most of the time.  Personally, I believe most people’s butts are made thicker to protect us when we fall down from wandering over rough terrain, as we investigate our world to discover and experiment with what we see. A professor of mine, Dr. Jani, told us that the process of learning comes in this formula to remember. MPCB: motor skills first, followed by perceptions followed by concepts leading finally to behaviors. He stated that poor exposure in either of the first two creates weakness and disabilities in the last two. The first creates the strength of the second and so on. I add to this the wonderful concept of multiple intelligences first sparked by Howard Gardner. Both ideas lead to how the best education process should be designed which is much more active than what we have been using for generations.

The second pitfall is creating confusion. I’ve told my students the following statement. ” You are very smart just as you are. You already know as much as what is written in five hundred books. You have been learning since the day you were born. Everything you’ve seen, heard, smelled, tasted or touched and sensed inside of you has been stored into room type spaces in your brain. You never stop learning if you always stay aware.”  Then I tell them about what happens when they get to school. In school the knowledge they possess is broken down into little pieces they do not recognize. That confuses them and makes them feel ignorant and stupid. Then, if they cannot ”relearn” it to demonstrate it back to the teacher of confusion in the language and form they expect, the students feel like failures and begin to shut  down their natural inclination to be curious and wondering about anything. It becomes safer to simply accept the mind controlling toys to rest their brains upon.

The third pitfall is starving the brain. I have been fortunate in providing consistent food for my students throughout the day. They are allowed to eat during lessons in big group and during independent work times. They are allowed to eat mostly when they want to. I have fruits and vegetables and sometimes energy bars. They are better behaved and more focused because of that. I know and you know that every kid in every nation will eat all day during summer vacation to renew the energy of their wandering explorations. Their bodies burn food like crazy. Then during the school years they are fed only twice during a day instead of the four or more times they are used to. Food and education go together. I also believe that the more I tie food and learning together it is possible their brains stay engaged on thinking every time they sit down to eat.


Still safe in the United States of America ? By David Reid Otey 9-2014

YES. Why ? Because we are aware more than ever that we are not untouchable. THAT fact should be encouraging and empowering since it must cause us to think more about the value of others beyond our boundaries: to consider the truth that our words and our actions are no more divine in purpose than those of anyone else no matter what we think of ourselves.  World leader?  Really ?  In what sense ?

Power of force is not a determinant in righteousness nor of stability.  What has made the United States powerfully noticeable in the positive sense over most of the world is the higher percentage of freedom our people have to make dreams come true, to become what their talents preclude them to be for their ultimate happiness and hopefully for the increased benefits of the societies they live in.

The shame of this nation in part is that its own media and government now want its own people to live in daily fear of differences. Now we are bombarded with news events of ”possible” tragedies that were avoided by the great sleuth work of super cops in various branches. I am not afraid because of those stories. I ignore the serious macabre tone of the newsperson’s voice and their serious frowning expression–both of which they hope to subliminally implant upon my own mind. What I feel instead is SAFER because those super men and women cops ARE DOING THEIR JOB LIKE THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO. They give me more faith in my country caring. They give me more reason to feel safe. And what about those bombs they miss ?  Same odds as any other business–medical, teaching, road work, you name it–some days things don’t turn out like you want them to. People get hurt without being involved in what came at them. People die from others’ thoughtless and cruel actions. There is more danger from home grown gangs than there is from danger from other nations.

Our nation has done the same thing to others as we sometimes get. It is all unfair to whoever gets bombed. Innocents are expected casualties by militaries of all nations. They have to look the other way while giving speeches of genuine sympathy. They cannot say the truth of the situations, ” We are sorry for your loss but that’s the part of our job we hate yet we must continue to do until we win.”

We need to improve, encourage and expand the mindset of  joining people of the many differences instead of adding to the historical tragic mindset of more separation and division. Color and clothing and places of worship do not tell you what any person’s heart and mind is absolutely focused upon. So walk proud where you live. keep striving for your dreams. Keep volunteering and giving to your community. keep waking up thankful for where you are and for the opportunities you have here and cannot have anywhere else in the world.   The end.

Lessons my Alzheimer mom taught me. Dave Otey 9-2014

In June of this year I published the piece ‘My Disappearing Mom’, describing her’s and our  ordeal with Alzheimer. I still have thoughts about all that took place emotional in our family and this article contains more depth of how to deal with Alzheimer should you become involved with this disease in your family.

9-2014. More to consider on the emotional side of Alzheimer.
To see a parent ‘’lose it’’ mentally is really tough. Regardless how experienced and older in life we get, we are still connected in mind and sprint to our parents. It’s normal to get the thought, “uh,oh. I’m next. This is going to happen to me.” Then we start calculating the difference in our age and the parent’s age and we figure the number that we see as how many years left before the mental files flip. Natural but not accurate. Genetics is a cue to what we might have copied and shared within our related systems, but not necessarily definite. Lifestyle can and does affect different outcomes for most people related. So, to be the best care giver and loving relative of every connection, it’s best to focus on giving your energy, time and creativity to the happiness and well being of your affected family member.

When I realized what had happened to mom, part of me wanted to stay away from her from embarrassment at her behavior, and partly because of how I was being required by the situation to give her support in her times of helplessness. Then I would feel shame for having those negative judgmental thoughts.
The disease changed our relationship in terms of not only what we couldn’t share but of what we also had to share. There really was no choice here. Not if I wanted to maintain my own self-respect as a son, as a man of honor and as an example to my own children.
My life was also being invaded in a different way. My own thoughts about the meaning of daily accomplishments and the connections of the love and sharing in life we have would be changed by this experience. I’d be forced to think about things I would never choose for focus on my own.
Every person attached to the family member who becomes a victim is partially owned for a time by this disease. Alzheimer demands an audience by the surprises in script and direction it creates in the victim’s mind.
It is shocking to realize how much of our world—most of it, in fact—is real as determined by our mental perceptions, by our own definitions/interpretations and whoever else’s definitions/interpretations we accept.
The world of facts that affects our decisions the most are not the basic science facts of heat, cold, hard, soft, animal kingdom, plant kingdom, etc.
Who we are and what we become, what we attach ourselves to, what we commit ourselves to is affected by the ‘’reasons’’ we accept, make up, believe in from various resources and shape ourselves into becoming. It is ‘’that person’’, that package of identity that is shaken up when the files get shifted.
When the time zones and geographical areas of the mind mix into different blends of reality inside the mind, those new “scenes” create different ‘’people’’ whose voices and personalities we may or may not recognize. We will hear stories that didn’t happen at all, or we will hear stories mixed together in such outrageous ways we want to scream out, “NO!. That’s not the way it happened!.” But we have to stay silent and not refute anything because the family member speaking really does see and hear and believe the new and mixed stories from their minds. THEY HAVE NO CHOICE. But you do. You decide how to respond, how to make conversation, how to ‘’let it go’’, how to ‘’be a part of the show’’, especially how to ‘’spend time in the twilight zone’’ and think of it as simply a playhouse production for therapy. Use your imagination in your own controlling way the way the disease is using your relative’s imagination for it’s own purposes.     End

Covering up. By David Reid Otey 9-2014

Covering up can mean protection from the cold, from sunburn and  from rain. Covering up is needed to heal wounds, lower risks of infection. But the greatest use of covering up is often negative, destructive, debilitating and crippling. It’s good to be aware of which way we really are using the act of covering up. What we think may be protective will really have the opposite effect. Here is what I mean by this.

Cover it up.   Hide it.    Don’t let it be seen.   Don’t let it out.

Cover up hope with disbelief. Cover up love with self-centeredness.  Cover up healing with vengeance.

Cover up progress with lies.  Cover up grace with conceit.

Cover up  the scars, the bruises, the failures, the mis=steps.   Hide the blemishes, the signs of humanity, the signs of imperfection, of  cruelty, of awkwardness.

Cover the shame of need, of want, of  jealousy.

All that energy of covering up what everyone knows, what everyone does, what everyone thinks.

Forgiveness was made to uncover, to climb out from, to be free from the pains of shame and embarrassment.

Grace was made to have second and third chances, to begin again and again until the right path is found.

Redemption was made to balance justice, to provide new life in new thoughts, new actions, new hopes.

Covering up creates festering. Covering up creates loneliness. Covering up creates psychosis. Covering up  is slowly dying.

Life is open for growing through challenges and risks. Life is made to uncover ignorance and fear. Life is made to enjoy, to join in, to help create and to heal with and among each other.

Uncover your talents and dreams  and hopes. Connect and become what you are meant to be.


Waking Up. By David Reid Otey September 2014

I love waking up. Not just every morning when I open my eyes after the long energizing nap of the night. But all those other times, too. When I wake up to the right answers that took a little more time to seek. When I wake up to fact that I can change something I thought was set in stone. When I wake up to who and what I really have in my life by taking a closer look beyond the clutter of being too busy.

I wake up through other’s thoughts when I listen to what they say without interrupting them. I wake up when I read or hear of the tragic results of someone else’s battle with depression. I wake up when an elderly man who does simple magic shows tells me he dove into it after a friend died of bone cancer without ever trying for or realizing his dream of  gold mining.

I woke up when Anthony Robbins said, ”try this”. I woke up when the voices of Jim Rohn, Mel Robbins, Brendon Burchard, Zig Ziglar, Marie Forleo, Daniel Pink, Jon Acuff, David Allen, Micheal J. Gelb, Susan Jeffers, Thom Rutledge and a team of other authors and speakers gave me the ideas and encouragement I sought.

I was shaken awake at times when my mom became ensnared by Alzheimer’s, and when my dad’s paranoid schizophrenia overtook his outlook on life and shut down the hopes of him ever playing his violin for the public in philharmonic orchestras ever again.  When an art teacher coming back to school from lunch leaned down at the wrong moment to fetch something from the floorboard of his car and ran a stop sign to enter the terminal path of an oncoming semi trailer truck, I woke up.  When my school where I work cancelled a day to have a teacher’s funeral at the school, and all of us teachers were present at the funeral and then to help seat and serve the family for their meal in the school, I woke up.

I woke up when my kids were born and I held them.  I wake up every single day I see my grand children. I wake up when I try, when I listen, when I contribute, when I hope and dream and wonder. I think that is what life is meant to be. We are born to wake up to creation, to love and joy, to peace and wonder, to the gifts we have within us that are meant to be discovered, developed and shared  for the connection and for the good of all people. I believe in God because there has to be a source of all this wonder and that source has to wake us all up for the best of anything and everything to be accomplished. What will you wake up to today ?         The end for now. 🙂

Balance for Peace By David Reid Otey– September 2014

I recently wrote a piece titled The Oil Man; A down to earth perspective. I have taken it off after I read that traders/ buyers and sellers are the people who REALLY determine the prices of gas and other needs. Although the oil companies are definitely in that batch of people. BUT the question still remains: HOW does a trader/seller determine the price rise and fall?  I guess that enough subjective reasons set in place can become an objective standard ?  I know they give all the reasons of war, weather tragedy, etc. But WHY ?  It seems to show a belief that when times are troubled people need to be gouged and taken deeper down into despair. Really ?  Or is it that profit gain must never go below 500% ?

No matter what the reason, a fact–in my objective experiences list– remains that history shows business rules all nations and empires. Government is business. Government creates boundaries for various reasons. Government taxes citizens. Government makes laws to protect both objectively and subjectively. Leaders create changes for those they rule over. The changes come from the way the leaders handle their responsibilities to the public versus their personal desires.  Sometimes a huge change is made at one swoop, and sometimes a major change is the ”seemingly sudden” result of tiny connected changes not foreseen by enough people to redirect it.The public, the citizens, all have an affecting power base, too, but not enough to stop a major shift whether that shift be an act of God or a direction of mass mindset on both sides of the power arena.

One thing for certain. The shifts happen. But if the balance of safety and happiness become extremely uneven for those who have less and less, revolts rise up. The common people who work their bodies and minds to the max, to make life better for them and their families against all sorts of odds. These people can handle only so much frustration from being shoved back down through the many tricks and excuses the leaders present. Exceed that frustration point and you have those people asking the next smart question, “Now what can I do to change the leaders minds, since they have taken down all the ladders for me to climb?” It’s happened many times before. It will happen again. Somewhere.

Circumstances create situations which become events. Events change the lay of the land. Some fall and some stay standing. Leaders are not the only ones who can create circumstances. Leaders need their foundation of the common people supporters. That foundation is the greater yet often silent power that holds up the walls and ceiling of the leaders’ security and comfort. The foundation of common people cannot be forced to maintain the loyalty and devotion leaders need to accomplish their wishes. Notice the  recent story of Arthur T. Demoulas, who was reinstated as the Market Basket leader  due to the power of the common people,: the employees and the customers. Those common people were pushed and they shoved back. Emotions were affected deeply. The common people did win. It’s an incredible story to show the truth of how power must be balanced between leaders and the people they serve. Neither side can control nor operate and manage the entire system of needs and services by themselves.

Politicians are business men and business women. Serving the needs of goods and services in their areas is their jobs. Philosophies and ideologies are great, if they are tied to the needs. But bandwagon mindset at the expense of  common people’s livelihood and well being is an act of imbalance. It doesn’t work to try building a utopian dreamland of everyone being forced to think alike. But those groups are always out there pushing against each other. Most of the time they’ve been on the streets of their communities, spending their free time expressing their views both peacefully and violently. Sometimes national protests have taken place, still with the common public planning and enabling and attending to be involved. But now there seems to me to be this type of mass group thinking among the leaders. They are spending their time protesting each other, blocking each other, and doing this all in the capitol regions and buildings.

Whatever happens in any house depends upon the condition of the leaders of that home. In my occupation as teacher, I see kids from all kinds of homes. They show the results of the leadership in their homes. It doesn’t take much to know who has the caring and loving parents  and who comes from careless, self-centered parents. On a grand scale our national leaders have become much more careless and self-centered.  DCFS is called for the homes in communities to help retrain and straighten out messed up families. Who do you call to straighten out a messed up government ? Only the public. Only the foundational power core. Lots of changes have taken place since I’ve been born. Now, at age sixty, I see the already sown seeds of the coming changes. Historically inevitable. It’s just sort of weird though, to me, because these changes are not so obvious until they break out in power. Negative power is how they usually break out, too.  It doesn’t have to be that way, or, maybe it does. The rules of relationships apply no matter how small or large or how many people are involved, even if they are total strangers.

How I adapt myself to this is: I pay attention to my home and my family and my job and my community. They are the people who will support me for what I need and when I need it, and I for them. One for a bunch and a bunch for one. 🙂 That balance begins to set up the healing process for what will eventually take place in many places.      The End