A Deep Tranquility / Philosophy of Consciousness / Healthy Substitutions / Friday Trip

“As we read the school reports on our children,
we realize a sense of relief that can rise to delight that – thank Heaven – nobody is reporting in this fashion on us.”
– J. B. Priestly

Diana enjoyed the games at Main Event.

Diana enjoyed the many games at Main Event.

Ordinary happiness is a feeling that has an object
– for example, a happy event, winning a prize,
or wearing pretty new shoes.
But, If the issue of your happiness ceases to be an issue,
You may find it.

The problem with ordinary happiness is that it never lasts.
A happy event is soon followed by a sad one.
Most of us go through life looking for things to “make us happy.”
But this “fix” is never permanent,
so we keep looking.

We think of happiness
as something that floats
in and out of our lives.

The Rev. Dr. Nobuo Haneda,
a Jodo Shinshu priest and teacher,
said that “If you can forget your individual happiness,
that’s happiness defined.
If the issue of your happiness ceases to be an issue,
that’s the happiness”.

One word for “happiness”
from the early Pali texts is piti,
which is a deep tranquility.

Perhaps,
We have assumed it was
something else.

Ian enjoyed bowling.

We enjoyed bowling.

And now, for my students in Philosophy, I share a bit of knee-deep philosophical reflection from
Franklin F. Wolff, an American mystic, poet, philosopher, and mathematician, who combined an extraordinary intellect with profound mystical insight and a mathematically induced predilection toward meticulous analysis. Wolff devoted himself to the goal of transcending the normal limits of human consciousness. (So here I sit in front of a variety of references, including a wictionary, pictionary, yes, let’s make it a game, dictionary and what in the world is that-icktionary. You may need help too.)

Please do not return to class and tell me you thought so deeply about this and now your head hurts, again. My job is get you to use your head for something other than testing new shampoos. Remember, according to sub atomic particle physics, if you stop thinking, you, along with the rest of the Universe, may consequentially not exist. Einstein wondered if the moon would really disappear if everyone stopped looking at it – seriously!  See you on the flip side of reflection.

If you survive reading this, I will award you an Honorary Nth Degree, a mathematically specious solecism, to convey the message that your thought processes have been raised to an absurdly high level (or possible that you are confused too!). Enjoy . . . .

The Philosophy of Franklin Merrell-Wolff
by Thomas J. McFarlane
read more here

Wolff graduated from Stanford University in 1911 with a major in mathematics and minors in philosophy and psychology. He then went on to Harvard graduate school to study philosophy, where he was particularly influenced by the study of Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason. As a result of his philosophical studies, Wolff became convinced of the probable existence of a transcendent mode of consciousness that could not be comprehended within the limits of our ordinary forms of knowledge. Prior to completing his degree at Harvard, he returned to Stanford to teach mathematics. read more here

OK. Sit down and get really comfortable. If you fall asleep, it’s alright. I did. Now I shall attempt to help you navigate through the verbage (verbiage is, perhaps, more technically correct, but that’s verbage too). The overabundance or superfluity of words may heighten your anxiety, but keep focused. Pretend you are on safari and the machete of your mind is clearing a path. Set your alarm clock and wake up from time to time, and continue this voyage into the unbelievable and unknown. Clutch the arms of your chair, breathe deeply and hang on!

The Double Slit Experiment is an experiment in Quantum Physics in which the effects were shown by Thomas Young way back in 1803, but since has been proven even more strange by many others. It’s power truly reveals a mind-altering view of the world and how we affect it. read more

The Double Slit Experiment shows us that
we create reality
just by observing it.

Subatomic material will take every possible path at the same time as a wave when not observed. When observed, the particle collapses down to one point as a particle. What can this mean about us? Do we all have powers that we are not aware of? What it does seem to prove is that we create reality by observing it.

With that depth of understanding, Franklin Merrell-Wolff postulates the following: (Here is where you take a really deep breath.)

“Reality is inversely proportional to appearance”. In other words, the degree of the true substance or reality is the inverse or opposite of the degree of ponderability.

Lazer Tag was everyone's favorite.

Lazer Tag was everyone’s favorite.

Thus, concrete objects of experience, which have a high degree of ponderability, are the least substantial. Subtle or abstract objects of experience, on the other hand, which are less ponderable, partake of a higher degree of substantiality and reality.

The effect of this insight upon Wolff was an acceptance of substantial reality, where the senses reported emptiness, and a greater capacity to realize unreality in the material given through the senses. (Hang in there. It gets deeper.)

Thus, Liberation does not necessarily involve any new object of experience or change in the content of consciousness. To seek such a new object or experience, therefore, is a mistake. Genuine Realization, therefore, is a recognition of Nothing – but a Nothing that is absolutely Substantial and identical with the SELF. (You may need a nap about now.)

It is a nondual knowledge of identity that transcends space and time.

(Here is where you may decide to be happy and major in History. Then you can have faith that the past really happened and was not an illusion. You are going to need comforting thoughts.)

Some of the effects Wolff experienced were:
(1) A shift in the base of reference in consciousness, transplanting the roots of identity from the relative to the transcendent,
(2) a transformation of the meaning of self – to a space-like identity with the entire field of consciousness and all its contents,
(3) a sense of penetrating knowledge into the depths of reality,
(4) a transcendence of space, time, and causality,
(5) complete freedom and liberation from all bondage. Experienced were qualities of joy, felicity, serenity, peace, and benevolence.

Wyatt and Gavin played many games.

Wyatt and Gavin played many games.

(Now, I need to rest.)

Tension consisted in the contrast in valuation between the superlative Joy, Peace, Rest, Freedom and Knowledge of the Transcendent and the emptiness of the relative world.


Three Fundamentals of the Philosophy

of Franklin Merrell-Wolff

1. Consciousness is original, self-existent, and constitutive of all things. All experience and all objects are derivative from Consciousness. Thus Consciousness is constitutive of all things, i.e., all things are, in their ultimate nature, nothing but this Primordial Consciousness itself.

2. The Subject to Consciousness transcends the object of Consciousness. A concrete object in consciousness might be a visual perception of a chair or a sensation of pain in our foot. More subtle objects are appearances in consciousness such as a thought or memory, an intuition about something,

The subjective principle or aspect of consciousness is more fundamental to consciousness than the objective appearances in consciousness. The subjective principle is therefore transcendental, while the objective principle is not.

3. There are three, not two, organs of knowledge: perception, conception, and introception. Wolff’s philosophy is an affirmation of a third way of knowing which Wolff calls “introception”.

Perception includes all sensory knowledge we derive from seeing, hearing, feeling, smelling, and tasting.

Lunch

We learned to space out our meals, so to speak.

Conception includes all knowledge we derive from thought, memory, imagination, and the like. If we admit only these two forms of knowledge, then our knowledge of reality is forever limited to our hypothetical, conceptual speculations about what reality might be.

Introception provides immediate, categorical knowledge that transcends the subject-object distinction, i.e., it is not a relational knowledge of something by something else, but a knowledge through identity in which there is only knowledge itself that includes and transcends both knower and known. It affirms that there is also a capacity for transcendental knowledge. (Where is a good Buddhist when you need one?)

(Please do not disturb me, I may be in a trance.)

Put on your thinking caps. Here are Highlights from
The Philosophy of Consciousness Without An Object

by Franklin Merrell-Wolff
  1.  Consciousness-without-an-object is. Before objects were, Consciousness-without-an-object is. Though objects seem to exist, Consciousness-without-an-object is. (I think I need an aspirin.)
  2. When objects vanish, yet remaining through all unaffected, Consciousness-without-an-object is. (Magicians know this.)
  3. Outside of Consciousness-without-an-object nothing is.
  4. Within the bosom of Consciousness-without-an-object lies the power of awareness that projects objects.
  5. When objects are projected, the power of awareness as subject is presupposed, yet Consciousness-without-an-object remains unchanged. (This is why teachers use transparencies.)
  6. When consciousness of objects is born, then, likewise, consciousness of absence of objects arises. (Kind of explains Algebra!)
  7. Consciousness of objects is the Universe.
  8. Consciousness of absence of objects is Nirvana. (This is why I meditate until I fall over.)
  9. Within Consciousness-without-an-object lie both the Universe and Nirvana, yet to Consciousness-without-an-object these two are the same. (I need a Venn or other-worldly diagram here.)
  10. Within Consciousness-without-an-object lies the seed of Time. (This is why you need an object called an alarm clock.)
  11. When awareness cognizes Time then knowledge of Timelessness is born. (Is this when the alarm clock wakes me up?)
  12. To be aware of Time is to be aware of the Universe, and to be aware of the Universe is to be aware of Time. (I guess it pays to know what time it really is.)group
  13. To realize Timelessness is to attain Nirvana. (Now I know why I’m happy when I’m dreaming!)
  14. But for Consciousness-without-an-object there is no difference between Time and Timelessness. (Get to work late, and this may not be exactly true.)
  15. Within Consciousness-without-an-object lies the seed of the world-containing Space.
  16. When awareness cognizes the world-containing Space then knowledge of the Spatial Void is born. (Is this when we dream?)
  17. To be aware of the world-containing Space is to be aware of the Universe of Objects. (This may be why we collect things.)
  18. To realize the Spatial Void is to awaken to Nirvanic Consciousness.
  19. But for Consciousness-without-an-object there is no difference between the world-containing Space and the Spatial Void.
  20. Within Consciousness-without-an-object lies the Seed of Law.       (I thought it was J. P. Court!)
  21. When consciousness of objects is born the Law is invoked as a Force tending ever toward Equilibrium. (I got lost here.)
  22. All objects exist as tensions within Consciousness-without-an-object that tend ever to flow into their own complements or others. (I hope you got that, I didn’t.)
  23. The ultimate effect of the flow of all objects into their complements is mutual cancellation in complete Equilibrium.
  24. Consciousness of the field of tensions is the Universe.
  25. But for Consciousness-without-an-object there is neither tension nor Equilibrium. (Now I need a drink, and I don’t drink!)
  26. The state of tensions is the state of ever-becoming.
  27. Ever-becoming is endless-dying. (He was just dying to say that.)
  28. So the state of consciousness of objects is a state of ever-renewing promises that pass into death at the moment of fulfillment.
  29. Thus when consciousness is attached to objects the agony of birth and death never ceases. (Oh, No! It’s my Mother’s fault!)
  30. In the state of Equilibrium where birth cancels death the deathless Bliss of Nirvana is realized. (Say again!)
  31. But Consciousness-without-an-object is neither agony nor bliss. (I’ll never go shopping again!)
  32. Out of the Great Void, which is Consciousness-without-an-object, the Universe is creatively projected. (Physicist Brian Greene explains how properties at a black hole’s surface – its event horizon – suggest the unsettling theory that our world is a mere representation of another universe, ….. Reality, that is, may be akin to a hologram. This is something with a pretty firm theoretical footing. Fermilab is building a machine that may prove that “reality” is only a holographic projection from the outermost boundary of the Universe. Reality may be a hologram in which all is projected illusion. Fermilab particle astrophysicist Craig Hogan is building the most precise clock of all time to directly measure whether our reality is an illusion.  Read moreThe new physics states that the entire Universe is a giant hologram projected through our brains creating the reality we see. But then what is projecting that hologram. Physicists hope that this surprising finding is a clue to the ultimate theory of reality. Now ask yourself, how does the brain react to virtual reality? Just ask a child, who toys with it everyday. They remove themselves from what we consider to be our real world, and get their minds immersed into another virtual world by playing virtual world video games. But are we, all of us, part of another virtual world? Within a hologram, the whole is within the part. No matter how many times you divide the whole, the part will always contain it’s totality.At a deeper level, reality may be a super-hologram (there is a super massive black hole at the center of each galaxy, including ours) in which the past, present, and future all exist simultaneously. For now, the building blocks of reality are behaving in ways which are inexplicable.This may link up with theories that consciousness brings reality into existence through observation.Please keep in mind that those who go after the pull of the unknown can inevitably risk loosing their grip on reality by discovering that it possibly doesn’t exist in the first place, with reality possibly being an illusion. In which case, your haven’t really lost anything because, there wasn’t anything to lose to begin with.
  33. The Universe as experienced is the created negation that ever resists. (Resists what?)
  34. The creative act is bliss, the resistance, unending pain. (I’ll never say NO again, I promise!)
  35. Endless resistance is the Universe of experience, the agony of crucifixion. (How did religion get into this?)
  36. Ceaseless creativeness is Nirvana, the Bliss beyond human conceiving. (I was always happy with my coloring book.)
  37. But for Consciousness-without-an-object there is neither creativeness nor resistance.Caty
  38. Ever-becoming and ever-ceasing-to-be are endless action. (I think I already got that.)
  39. When ever-becoming cancels the ever-ceasing-to-be then Rest is realized. (Thank God!)
  40. Ceaseless action is the Universe.
  41. Unending Rest is Nirvana. (You got that right,)
  42. But Consciousness-without-an-object is neither Action nor Rest.
  43. When consciousness is attached to objects it is restricted through the forms imposed by the world-containing Space, by Time, and by Law. (Now my head hurts.)
  44. When consciousness is disengaged from objects, Liberation from the forms of the world-containing Space, of Time, and of Law is attained. (I’m going to stop thinking about things!)
  45. Attachment to objects is consciousness bound within the Universe. (Shopping can get you into trouble.)
  46. Liberation from such attachment is the State of unlimited Nirvanic Freedom. (We were told, “less is more”!)
  47. But Consciousness-without-an-object is neither bondage nor freedom.
  48. Consciousness-without-an-object may be symbolized by a SPACE that is unaffected by the presence or absence of objects, for which there is neither Time nor Timelessness, neither a world-containing Space nor a Spatial Void, neither Tension nor Equilibrium, neither Resistance nor Creativeness, neither Agony nor Bliss, neither Action nor Rest, and neither Restriction nor Freedom. (This man took several math courses too many. Did he not meet the deadline for withdrawal?)
  49. As the GREAT SPACE is not to be identified with the Universe, so neither is It to be identified with any Self. (I lost my identity at number 2.)
  50. The GREAT SPACE is not God, but the comprehender of all Gods, as well as of all lesser creatures.Ian
  51. The GREAT SPACE, or Consciousness-without-an-object, is the Sole Reality upon which all objects and all selves depend and derive their existence.
  52. Beside the GREAT SPACE there is none other. (I don’t know about you, but the great space that was my mind is now filled with smoke.)
    You may want to read this again.
    But I wouldn’t read it a third time.
    There are such things as limits.
    Too much of this and you will major in Philosophy
    and end up driving a cab. And some of the people you give rides to may be a bit unreal. But you will have a deeper depth of understanding and will  empathize with them. You may no longer be capable of deep reflection. But never object to reflect.

Please allow me to share this stunningly beautiful poem with you:

Compassion
by Franklin Merrell-Wolff

O Compassion! More than the other loves of men,
Less than the High Indifference;
Calmly standing by and waiting; years, centuries, millennia;
Taking to Thyself the suffering of all;
Transforming toward Joy;
With Light restraining Darkness; with good, evil;
Refusing release while others are bound;
Melting differences;
Accepting impurity, giving purity;
Bound by no law, yet acquiescing in bondage;
Available for all as the light of the sun,
Yet forced on no man against his will;
Needing nought for Thyself,
Though giving to all in need;
The Base of all hope for this humanity so low;
Pure Radiance Divine.
Sweet art Thou, unutterably sweet;
Melting within me all hardness;
Stirring inclusion of the low as the high;
The evil as the good; the weak as the strong;
The unclean as the pure; the violent as the considerate;
None left out;
Awaking new understanding and patience beyond Time;
Arousing forgetfulness of the petty in the grand sweep of the noble;
Equalizing regard, yet exalting true worth;
Reaching beyond all contradiction.
To Thee I sing, glorious Spirit;
Grandest God mankind can know.
—   —   —
Other web sites related to Franklin Merrell-Wolff:
The Franklin-Merrell-Wolff Website
The Franklin-Merrell-Wolff Fellowship
Friends of Franklin-Merrell-Wolff group on FaceBook
Franklin Merrell-Wolff – Consciousness Without An Object Discussion Group on Google Groups
Franklin-Merrell-Wolff on Wikipedia

Well, this has been a little deeper than the knee is high. But now you have the mathematicians bent on things. Aren’t you glad you had trouble with Algebra. If you get too deep in some of these subjects, you may find yourself all alone and then have nothing to do but think. Now, get some sleep. And if your head is hurting tomorrow, stop reading philosophy and watching television for awhile. Later, you can view some commercials and not realize that you are still in pain.

From: Christina Reiter, M.S., R.D.
Resident consulting dietitian at the University of Colorado–Boulder Wardenburg Health Center for Nutrition Education and Therapies.

What we eat and how we feel are linked in very complex ways. A healthy approach to eating is centered on savoring flavor, eating to satisfaction and increasing energy, rather than focusing on weight.

Get satisfaction!

Both eating and physical activity are fun, sensory experiences! In both, aim for pleasure — not pain.

Eat like a kid 

If adding more fruits and vegetables sounds ominous, look to “finger food” versions that preschool kids love — carrot and celery sticks, cherry tomatoes, broccoli florets, grapes, berries and dried fruits. All are nutritional powerhouses packed with antioxidants.

Think Small

Often the biggest deterrent to improving health is feeling overwhelmed by all the available advice and research. Try to focus first on one small, seemingly inconsequential, unhealthy habit. If you have a can of soda at lunchtime every day, have a glass of water two days a week instead. healthy, positive habit.

It’s easy to build from here by adding more healthy substitutions.

FRIDAY TRIP

For Friday Feb. 20, 2015

Due to popular demand, we will meet at 10:00 a.m. at ROLLERLAND WEST, located at 7325 Calmont Avenue –Telephone: 817-244-8290. At approximately 11:15 a.m. will we will travel to At approximately 11:00 a.m. we will travel to La Madeleine Country French Café to enjoy lunch. Following lunch we will travel back to the school to work on our Shakespeare production with Director, George Rodriguez.
Pickup will be at 3:15 p.m. at the school.

Emergency Tele.: 682-777-1908

Please call and let us know if you will be late.

Students are NOT to leave Rollerland or the restaurant
without the approval of Dr. or Mrs. Anderson.

FINANCIAL: Rollerskating $10.00 (Please pay Dr. A.) and please provide funds for lunch.
Refreshments available: Yes!

Uniform pants with a belt & red monogrammed school shirts are required.
PARENTS / FRIENDS / NEIGHBORS, are always invited to participate on our trips.

IMPORTANT DATES:
Feb. 1 Tuition Deposits were Due for 2015-16
Mar. 9-13
Spring Break Holidays
April 3 & 6 (Fri. & Mon.) Easter Holidays
April 28 Scarborough Renaissance Festival (Drama Competition is “Twelfth Night”)
May 4 & 5 (Mon. & Tues.) Anderson School Theatrical Production “Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare” at Stage West Theater

“I’ll walk in the rain by your side,
I’ll cling to the warmth of your tiny hand.

I’ll do anything to help you understand,
and I’ll love you more than anybody can.

And the wind will whisper your name to me,
little birds will sing along in time.

Leaves will bow down when you walk by
and morning bells will chime.”

– John Denver

Please visit this (William’s) Weblog at andersonschool.net for trip details posted each Wednesday at 6:00 p.m.

Advertisements

The Deadly Effect of Being Perfect / See You Next Tuesday

“Have no fear of perfection
– you’ll never reach it.”

– Salvador Dali

I constantly remind myself, and others, of the dangers of being a perfectionist. To strive for perfection is to never be satisfied. And importantly, to never be happy. Endeavoring to be perfect can easily become a deadly double-edged sword.

This is my favorite photo of R. J. He is showing off his new collar!

This is my favorite photo of R. J. He is showing off his new collar! He is another perfect gift.

Trying to always be perfect is pursuing the worst in us, that part that tells us nothing is ever good enough.

I have found one of the best antidotes to the unnatural inclination toward perfection is simple. Stop thinking about it and give your life, your labor and your love to others. Recognize that Love is the condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.

An antidote, by the way, is a substance which can counteract a form of poisoning. The term ultimately derives from the Greek αντιδιδοναι antididonai, “given against”. Antidote is the best term to use, in my opinion, to better understand what we are really coping with. For you see, perfectionism is a form of poisoning. The expectation of perfection can poison the spirit of a child. Yes, it can lead to death, and has many thousands of times.

Kirby is bored. She is looking forward to being with the children on Tuesday.

Allow me to mention, again, the horrifying statistic involving our precious children that enroll in a college or university.

Statistics on college suicides has tripled since the 1950s and suicide is currently the second most common cause of death among college students, second only to traffic accidents.1 in 12 college students has actually made a suicide plan at some point. For more see: youngadults.about.com

It is unbelievable, but tragically true. And suicide, typically, does not discriminate based on age, race, gender, or sexual orientation. But in this country it does discriminate. Suicide rates are inordinately high for our young, vulnerable and emotional distressed and stressed out children. For middle and high school age youth (ages 12-18), suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death.

In ages 10-14, we have seen an alarming 128% increase in suicides since 1980, making it the third leading cause of death for that age group according to the Jason Foundation – see: http://jasonfoundation.com/youth-suicide/facts-stats/

More teenagers and young adults die from suicide than from cancer, heart disease, AIDS, birth defects, stroke, pneumonia, influenza, and chronic lung disease, COMBINED.

Each day in our nation, there are an average of over 5,400 attempts by young people grades 7-12. My dear friends, these are NOT just numbers, they are our children.

Lila

Lila & R. J. have enjoyed the sandbox.

War deaths in Afghanistan number almost 2,100 young Americans, lost since the U.S. entered that conflict in 2003. But most people are unaware that a much greater loss of young lives occurs every year on this nation’s college campuses.

Yes, we are effectively at war, in our own country, with what causes the death of many more young Americans. And the sooner we realize that it is a war, and one that we are losing, the sooner we will find hope for the many thousands who desperately need hope. They are the children of our deepest love. They are the sons and daughters of us all. They are my children. And they are your children.

Folks, we need to admit our mistakes. We need to take responsibility. We need to love each other enough to see the light of our neglectful transgressions. We need to stop pretending that we are doing what is right. We have failed so many of our deeply loved children, by not having the courage to say no. Say NO to outdated and oppressive teaching methodologies. Say NO to antiquated and overly stressful and unnecessary assessment strategies that place so much stress on children that they simply stop breathing. Say No to anyone who expects our children to be perfect. Shout No. And then, by God, go out into this world and do something about it.

And what has Dr. A been up to?

And what has Dr. A been up to?

My friends, there is simply too much stress placed upon our young, sensitive, vulnerable children. And what have you gained, if your honor roll child no longer exists. The only thing to be gained from such tragic loss is knowledge – truly sad knowing, and deep, everlasting regret.

We now have the wisdom, garnered from an unimaginable price paid by so very many children, to know that a precious child means far more to us than a crippled letter of the alphabet printed upon a piece of really dumb looking paper.

LeVonna and I have come to the realization that such artificial contrivances as report cards and grades, are highly superficial and deplorably subjective. Our state government (that’s us, Folks, you know – WE the people!) is responsible for adding even more unnecessary stress through mandated testing. And, importantly, these man-made artificial contrivances can become highly destructive of fragile self-esteem and of life itself. And the truth is, they are really meaningless, in the grand scheme of things. But, on the bright side, corporate profits are up, as they have effectively lobbied to market these very expensive examinations.

By the way, Martin Carnoy, at Stanford University and Richard Rothstein of the Economic Policy Institute examined test series over the last decade.

An analysis of international tests suggests students in the U.S. are not lagging behind their peers in other countries. Based on their analysis, the researchers found that average low, partly because a disproportionately greater share of US students comes from disadvantaged social class groups.

My friends, this is part of the price we pay for living in a vibrant democracy. We educate and test EVERYONE. Many other countries test ONLY those that are not screened out and placed in fast-track vocational programs. If you are not bright enough, off you go to the factory! And guess what, these students are not included in tests that compare the U. S. with other nations.

Based on analysis, these researchers found that average U.S. scores are low partly because a disproportionately greater share of US students comes from disadvantaged social class groups. (Remember, we include EVERYONE in our testing.)

The analysis also shows how errors in selecting sample populations of test-takers and arbitrary choices regarding test content contribute to results that appear to show US students lagging.

Folks, the UNFAIR and highly publicized comparative results create panic and stupidity in response to a very unreal scenario. The results can be abhorrently devastating to your child, who is NOT doing poorly in comparison. The stress placed upon the teachers, administrators and your child is unwarranted, and many times, destructive. It is dangerous and contributes to very deadly atmosphere that pervades academia. We now live in a dangerously delusional place. And only the truth shall set us free.

Remember the TECAT testing fiasco – the infamous Texas Examination of Current Administrators and Teachers. It was a test of basic literacy given to Texas teachers in 1980’s. This test, seen as politically essential, was intended to raise the public esteem of teachers by weeding out incompetents. Teachers expended massive effort in reviewing basic skills and drilling on the test format (yes, the format of all things, and totally useless in this life or the hereafter).

The focus in our public schools, at the time, was drawn AWAY from teaching and placed entirely upon preparation for the test. 99% of the 210,000 who took the test had passed.  And we lost thousands of experienced vocational education teachers, special education-teachers and others who were overrepresented among the failures. The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ruled it an UNFAIR TEST. This, so called, literacy test, it ruled, discriminated against teachers who were black or over 40.

I recall one very dear and deeply loved third grade teacher, with over thirty years of experience, who was so nervous that she could not cope with the stress. It was over three decades ago when she took her last test in college, at Texas Wesleyan University. I was her Principal and found her to be not only highly competent, but very, very loving and deeply dedicated to every child. The students in her class were privileged to be in the life-affirming, warm and loving environment she created for them. I attended her funeral shortly after she lost her employment and all hope. I cried for weeks. This was yet another example of an ill-conceived assessment program with deadly consequences.

Yes, it was another testing fiasco that slapped thousands of educators in the face. It devastated the lives of precious, dedicated veteran educators – people that our kids needed in their shop classes, elementary classes and special education programs. What a horrible experience for everyone. It scarred educators so much that it was never repeated.

And all it accomplished, other than spending our money in a cruel and unwise manner, was to leave the landscape of so many dedicated and experienced educator’s lives in ruin. What a way to appreciate those precious people who chose a life of near poverty (yes, some teachers received food stamps to survive) in order to help our children. But, we had people who needed to get re-elected, regardless of the cost.

Remember folks, your vote is the single most valuable thing you possess! When you place someone in control of your life, and the lives of your precious children, by giving them your vote – make certain that they possess the qualities of being truly human. If compassion and common sense have not been the hallmark of their life, vote for someone else. It is that simple.

I have a suggestion for you. Please take the last report card you received and tack it to the wall. Throw darts at it until it has so many holes in it that you can see the light of day through it (another way of saying – the truth). Now, when you have put enough holes in this byproduct of an ill-conceived, panic laden, distortion of reality,  you will realize that it shall never do your child much good. After all, it is not really accurate and can convey negative connotations that are simply harmful.

These reports are are so subjective they are not really telling you much of anything, at all. But, you got in some good practice throwing darts. I also recommend the same for those self-destructive and illusory state exam results. You know, the ones that have resulted in closing entire schools, while stroking the egos of a few politicians. Oh my God! Please forgive us. And hand me another dart.

If you really want to give your child an assessment, give him or her a huge hug at the end of day and tell the one you cherish just how much he or she is loved by you. Take the time to say everything you ever wanted to tell your child, each and every single day. Let them know that they are the PERFECT gift from God. And they need not even try to improve upon such perfection. Now that is a genuine and heart-felt  assessment. And it is one worth giving.

And if your really feel compelled to have a written report card, write “I LOVE YOU” on a piece of paper, fold in half and hand it to your child.

I asked that you not use so much eye makeup.

I asked that you not use so much eye makeup.

The Love of God is perfect. And the Gift He has given you, in a child of His, is all you need and all you shall ever need. Please, do not even think about asking for more. That would truly be an affront to God. Please do not insult and offend the One who has given you a Perfect Gift in the form of His precious child.

And please, don’t allow your child to be given contrived, superficial, highly subjective grades for anything. Do not allow some pretentious, philosophically antiquated, overtly biased and over bearing teacher to do this. Hey, give your kid a puppy, or a smile, or the wink of an eye, or a big hug or a new toy or a good laugh or a trip to the back yard to play with him or her.

Squirt your kid, regardless of age, with the water hose, and then take off running. (Expect to get wet within the next 15 seconds. You cannot have more fun than a great water fight on a hot day). Give your child the very firm knowledge that whatever they do is good enough. In fact, tell him or her that what you EXPECT is not to be perfect. No one is. No one. It would be abnormal to be perfect. Trust me, you would not fit in with the rest of us. A perfectly behaving child really doesn’t exist. And, nothing good will ever come from it.

The only thing you should expect from your deeply loved child is that he or she be happy. If he or she is not, do something different. If you think about what makes you happy, you can make someone else happy. It is that simple.

Yes, it is important to graduate. But in order to graduate, you must survive. You must be alive. And your child will, if you relax, and pray and play with him or her (by the way, more play results in a better preparation for the game of life. And, in many ways, it is a game!).

If your child is being provided with an antiquated grade from a philosophically outdated school, give the grade back to the teacher, where it belongs. Yes, just hand it back. A superficial and subjective grade truly belongs given back to the instructor. Isn’t it a reflection upon how the child did under the tutelage of that teacher? Hand it back! Ask why the teacher did not do a better job teaching your child. And inform the teacher that you really don’t want or need his artificial appraisal of someone he will really never know.

Fear can keep you, and your children, from living. But with God on your side, you need not fear anything or anyone. You are perfectly loved by your Creator. In fact, you are the very definition of perfection.

But perfection from human beings is unattainable. The expectation of perfection from children is as deadly as any toxin, infection, contagion or war.

So relax.

We are already perfect. Now, you can say a simple prayer of Thanksgiving. And give that perfectly wonderful child of yours a big hug for me.

Hey, give me one too! I will be perfectly happy with that.