For the second time this week, my school district has closed because of icy roads and unsafe weather conditions. So before the power lines come down and my computer winks off, I'd like to share a few random thoughts inspired by ice.
"When the aerials are down, and your spirit is covered with snows of cynicism and the ice of pessimism, then you are grown old, even at twenty, but as long as your aerials are up, to catch the waves of optimism, there is hope you may die young at eighty." -Samuel Ullman
Lifelong learning is a necessary choice in the 21st century, where technology, education, business, and society are in a constant state of flux. New tools offer the unexpected option to interact as an equal with virtual colleagues from all demographics without encountering prejudgment based on age or appearance. Only the vigor of your words reflects your "age".
Last night Carolyn Foote, Clay Burell, and I exchanged lines from favorite poems via Twitter. Scott Schwister has invented a new poetic form, Twitku, to fit the compressed yet eloquent Twitter format.
Long before any of us were born, Samuel Ullman retired from a successful business career and reflected on a lifetime of fearless activism in his poem, "Youth". An early 20th century man with a 21st century mindset, Ullman inspired both General Douglas MacArthur, during WWII, and the Japanese citizens struggling to rebuild their lives and country after that same war:
"Whether seventy or sixteen, there is in every being’s heart a love of wonder;
the sweet amazement at the stars and starlike things and thoughts;
the undaunted challenge of events,
the unfailing childlike appetite for what comes next,
and the joy in the game of life.
You are as young as your faith, as old as your doubt;
as young as your self-confidence, as old as your fear,
as young as your hope, as old as your despair."
"When I go out on the ice, I just think about my skating. I forget it is a competition."
Although the drive to succeed is often a powerful motivator, the collaborative spirit is a vital component of the new millennium. A teacher in Maryland can set up an online resource for teachers, be actively promoted by a virtual colleague in another state and gather contributers from around the world. Information is freely shared, credit is given where due, and everyone benefits. A successful workshop or conference conducted by one member of the community is praised and endorsed by all. New voices are encouraged, invited to step into, even usurp, the spotlight. Everyone shares, everyone benefits. We are focused on the "ice" (educational outcome) rather than the competition.
"My advice to you is not to inquire why or whither, but just enjoy your ice cream while it's on your plate -- that's my philosophy." -Thornton Wilder
Ice in its domesticated incarnation is ice cream. While it's impossible to live entirely in the moment, an occasional stop to smell the roses, or eat the ice cream, is not only permissable but mandatory for good mental health.
So today I will do a little work, enjoy some "fun books", catch up on Reader and Twitter, and eat some ice cream.
“We are afloat
On our dreams as on a barge made of ice,
Shot through with questions and fissures of starlight
That keep us awake, thinking about the dreams
As they are happening. Some occurrence. You said it.” -John Ashbery
"c-c-c-chilly" by time stands still