Excellent resource. If only school systems actually believed and applied concept-based teaching, instead of putting so much emphasis on standardized t...moreExcellent resource. If only school systems actually believed and applied concept-based teaching, instead of putting so much emphasis on standardized testing.(less)
I'd seen Professor West's books on shelves in bookstores and was interested. Why Race Matters and why Democracy Matters seemed like important discussi...moreI'd seen Professor West's books on shelves in bookstores and was interested. Why Race Matters and why Democracy Matters seemed like important discussions that we still need to have in the United States. But I confess my own racism/prejudice- I saw his afro and I wondered if as a middle class, middle aged, Midwestern White male I could relate to him. I worried that his politics would be too liberal even for a left-leaning centrist Democrat like me.
Then I caught his appearance on a late night talk show and he wasn't talking with arrogance or anger about race or politics- he was speaking about Jesus. He was speaking about faith and love and forgiveness and suffering.
When I fount this book, with the word "hope" right in the title, I wondered if it would be about President Obama or about the civil rights movement. It's not. It is about us, all of us. And in it, West introduces us to Jesus.
Not the confident, indignant, powerful Jesus that Pat Robertson and James Dobson talk about- the strict, White American, Republican patriarchal Jesus who opposes government regulation, taxes, and gay marriage and supports the troops and the Tea Parties and the NRA.
Not the optimistic, affluent, sexy, successful Jesus that Joel Osteen and Creflo Dollar talk about, waiting to solve all your problems and shower you with material blessings if you just believe enough.
West reveals the Jesus who is humble, genuine, unpretentious but more importantly the Jesus who is brutally honest, patient, kind, just, loving, and wise. The Jesus who turns the other cheek, walks the extra mile, offers the shirt off His back, loves his enemy and was willing to risk everything and sacrifice everything for the sake of others.
Yes, West talks about race and politics, history and economics in this book. He talks about institutions and empire, families, education, and culture. But mostly he talks about depth. Deep Learning, Deep Democracy, and Deep Love, deep enough to sacrifice everything for the sake of justice, equality, and hope.
West says that he's made it his mission to make the world safe for Martin Luther King Jr. That's awesome, because anyone who's read King's 'Strength to Love,' knows that King had made it his mission to make the world safe for Jesus.(less)
I've always enjoyed Vonnegut's imagination and sense of humor in his novels, but I never knew how much we thought alike politically or philosophically...moreI've always enjoyed Vonnegut's imagination and sense of humor in his novels, but I never knew how much we thought alike politically or philosophically until I read this little gem.
It's not an autobiography by any means and I'm not sure you'd call it a memoir. The blurb from the New York Times reviewer on the back cover says that it is "like sitting down on the couch for a long chat with an old friend." That's probably better than I could explain it.
It's not a big political rant, as the title may suggest. It's about lots of different things, from family to technology to WWII to how some of the nicest, smartest people come from the Midwest.
It's a collection of essays toward the end of the life of one of the funnest, funniest, sharpest, sweetest wits ever to come out of Indiana.
Having finished it, I am grieving, the same way you do when that long, warm conversation with an old, dear friend finally has to end and one of you has to go home and go to bed so you can get up and go to work in the morning. I wish this book didn't have to end.(less)
Good stuff. Challenging. May asserts that artists, writers, poets, etc. need to genuinely encounter, or engage with the world which they are interpret...moreGood stuff. Challenging. May asserts that artists, writers, poets, etc. need to genuinely encounter, or engage with the world which they are interpreting in their art.
I'm still mulling over his chapters on the Oracle of Delphi. I THINK that what he was getting at is that artists make new discoveries and create new things with the help of myths and symbols already available to us in our cultures and in the collective unconsciousness.
May does a fantastic job of recommending that rather than analyzing dreams in a simply symbolic manor, or perhaps as traditional psychoanalysis has in the past but instead by considering the visual-spacial relationships of the principal characters in a given dream. This process means visualizing the dream like a painting, or perhaps blocking out the staging of the actors as if it were a stage play or a film. Doing this reveals new insights into the dreamer's relationships to the persons or symbols in the dream. This made sense to me as someone trained in studio and design. Needless to say, this also contributed to my understanding of the expressive possibilities in design.
Rollo May's book helps us see that creative pursuits can help us to make sense of and cope with our lives and our world. This is a great read for anyone interested in creativity (art, music, dance, drama, poetry and writing, etc.) or in psychology.
Rollo May was recommended to me by a friend who, like May, practices depth-psychology and is most interested in existential psychology. I've always tended to lean toward cognitive-therapy or reality-therapy- assuming that they're somehow different than or opposed to the behaviorism that dominates elementary and secondary education in the U.S. This book helped me recognize that really, they're pretty much just derivatives of behaviorism, which is a principally American strain of psychology. This Western convention is very concrete, material, and empirical. Not that there's anything wrong with that (as they said on an episode of Seinfeld). But May suggests that there is a third way, balancing the mythology and almost mysticism of Eastern traditions with this very logical, measurable qualities of the American way. Once again, I am reminded of the text I've been teaching from for years, "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain," in which Dr. Betty Edwards posits that we all are capable of two complimentary ways of thinking, perceiving, experiencing and knowing.
Having read this book, I'm sure that three things will be impacted. 1) My own painting, poetry, and photography. 2) My perceptions, interpretations, and reactions to the creative arts I encounter, from art to film to literature. and 3) Hopefully and I'd like to think most importantly, my teaching(less)
Nikki Giovanni, Langston Hugh's, Wallace Stevens, Billy Collins, thank God for poets, poems, & poetry. Thank teachers for helping us to read poets...moreNikki Giovanni, Langston Hugh's, Wallace Stevens, Billy Collins, thank God for poets, poems, & poetry. Thank teachers for helping us to read poets. Thank God for teachers.(less)
The 'INTRODUCING' series from introducingbooks.com do a wonderful job of explaining things in a concise yet engaging way. It's not a textbook, but it'...moreThe 'INTRODUCING' series from introducingbooks.com do a wonderful job of explaining things in a concise yet engaging way. It's not a textbook, but it's not a graphic novel- it's this strange hybrid that uses Victorian era clip art. (less)
Many years ago, when I was teaching at Los Angeles Lutheran High, our friend and former Vice Principal had become a family therapist. The psychologist...moreMany years ago, when I was teaching at Los Angeles Lutheran High, our friend and former Vice Principal had become a family therapist. The psychologists she worked with had developed what they called a "Life Model." One aspect of the life model was a mentoring continuum, having people older than yourself whom you learn from and friends younger than yourself whom you can try to spiritually parent.
I remember thinking that it was a noble ideal, but wasn't sure how I could put it into action. I didn't have a lot of friends above my age range and wasn't sure that I could fit it into my schedule. As a teacher I was sold on trying to disciple young people, but figured I was better off allowing relationships to develop rather than trying to deliberately fabricate them.
Later on this same concept was proposed by the Promise Keeper's movement. I attended a couple of PK conferences with my Principal, who I suspect was seeking to be my mentor- but for whatever reason, we never seemed to "click." PK recommended having older men mentor you and hold you accountable and younger men whom you could challenge and teach as well.
At this time I had a couple of pastors who were older than me and a prestigious painter who'd retired from LALHS before I started teaching there, but I never seemed to manage to become the close confidant with any of them that I imagined being mentored entailed. Meanwhile I felt like I was managing to shepherd and be available for some students, but it seemed like most of them were young women- it didn't seem like I had the same kind of connections with boys. No doubt being a cheerleading coach and Art teacher had some to do with that.
When we moved back to Iowa and left Lutheran High for a public school, I wanted a way to reach the girls I coached and be able to help develop their character since I'd now be in a secular setting. At first I leaned on Norman Vincent Peale's Power of Positive Thinking and eventually discovered Coach Wooden's Pyramid of Success.
It didn't occur to me that I hadn't just found material to help me mentor students and athletes, I had myself, found a mentor.
In this book, Coach Wooden explains that mentors can be real people you have meaningful relationships with, like his father, leaders you look up to and who model a great example for you, like his high school coach and principal, people who care for you and try to guide you, like Wooden's college coach at Purdue. But leaders may even be people you don't actually know personally, whom you study and admire, and whom you either try to emulate or who's thinking and ideas shape your own. In Wooden's case, Abraham Lincoln and Mother Theresa. AND, mentors may be peers and loved ones, not just your elders- people who influence you and who you learn from, like a close friend or even a spouse.
The second half of this book was written by seven people for whom Wooden was a mentor. They each write about how he influenced their character, philosophy and lives. Sure there are famous athletes he coached, like Careem Abdul Jabaar, but there are also other coaches he worked with and a teacher who had never really met Wooden- but who had read everything by the Wizard of Westwood until he was asked to contribute to this book.
Last week I attended a conference for college and high school teachers where the key note speaker challenged us to do something positive that would help us build community. He asked us to contact at least 3 people who had contributed positively to our lives and let them know how much we appreciated it.
At first I was stumped. My old Psych Professor had passed away. My old newspaper publisher had passed away. I didn't have an address for my old Education Prof. who was starting a school in Vietnam of something like that. What could I do?
I looked behind me instead of looking ahead of me. I wrote some of my former students who had meant a lot to me. Then, coincidentally, I stumbled across another Ed. Prof. on a professional networking site. Then I found the email address of the first Ed. Prof. Then a google search turned up the new church where one of those old pastors was now serving.
They all replied to my emails by telling me that I'd made their day. One of the students wrote back to tell me how much I had meant to them.
What I realized by reading this book is that mentoring is both simpler/easier/less forced than I had assumed, and at the same time even more profound and important than I realized. It is definitely something we should all be doing, for ourselves, and for others.(less)
Just amazing. It's organized by themes, not chronologically- and it is not a memoir, yet when I got to the part when he told his team he had decided t...moreJust amazing. It's organized by themes, not chronologically- and it is not a memoir, yet when I got to the part when he told his team he had decided to retire, I cried. I've been using his Pyramid of Success for almost 10 years now as a coach, but I still found new insights and different ways of understanding what he teaches in it. Excellent book, up there with '7 Habits' by Covey, 'Everything I Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten' by Fulghum, and POSSIBLY even 'Man's Search for Meaning' by Frankl as one of the most inspiring reads outside of Scripture.(less)
Fascinating. Lakoff is a "cognitive linguist," some of his observations remind me of the symbols and archetypes of Carl Jung. Enlightening.
If there's...moreFascinating. Lakoff is a "cognitive linguist," some of his observations remind me of the symbols and archetypes of Carl Jung. Enlightening.
If there's 3 things I like it's psychology, good writing, and politics. This book has all 3, but don' t let my comment about Carl Jung put you off- this is a breeze to read. Fun and easy.
Lakoff explores the perceptual "frames" or world-views of the left and the right and explains why language is so powerful. He thinks that it is important to be able to articulate your values clearly and speak in terms of positive assertions rather than negative criticisms or reactions.
His basic preface is that there seems to be two basic world-views in America right now, the "Strict-Father Family" model and the "Nurturant-Parents Family" model. At first I thought it correlated with Thomas Hobbes and John Locke- but now I realize that it is much more like the differences between the Puritans and the Quakers. On the right you have the punishing rugged individualism of James Dobson's "Focus on the Family," and on the left you have the empathetic, community-orientation of Jim Faye's "Love and Logic."
I really think that this book would be good for both liberals AND conservatives, and even independents. I don't think that he maligns or libels conservatives, if anything, I believe he just clarifies what most Republicans already know about themselves and in many cases already admit about themselves.
What I wish would happen is that other, "casual" conservatives and independents would read this book and have their eyes opened- so that they'd become aware of the broader strategy and the powerful propaganda that the far-right has been using to take advantage of them. But as soon as they find out that it was written by a Berkley professor- I'm sure that their "frame" would kick in and not let them even give it a chance.
I hope you'll give it a chance because, bottom line, he explains why & how they've been winning for the last thirty years and what we progressives need to do to compete more effectively in the marketplace of ideas.(less)
Marlette won the Pulitzer for editorial cartooning the year I graduated from high school. This is an awesome combination how-to documentary, comedy, b...moreMarlette won the Pulitzer for editorial cartooning the year I graduated from high school. This is an awesome combination how-to documentary, comedy, behind-the-scenes expose, self-effacing memoir about his work as both an editorial cartoonist for New York Newsday and daily comic strip Kudzu, as well as his misadventures in the world of colleague cartoonists, journalists, Eastern Europe, college in the turbulent 60's and growing up with a the tolerant, compassionate heart of a liberal in the deep, white, conservative, Baptist South.
I thought this was a great choice to start reading since it's been about a year since I gave up editorial cartooning for the Mapleton PRESS, AND because Halloween is also National Editorial Cartoonist Day. It's also a lot lighter than the Viktor Frankl psychology book I also started reading- Marlette has lots of pictures. :)(less)
This was a little thick at first, but then I started to really enjoy it. I came to it assuming that I'd appreciate Jung since I disagree with so much...moreThis was a little thick at first, but then I started to really enjoy it. I came to it assuming that I'd appreciate Jung since I disagree with so much Freud, but I'm Jung is far from perfect himself. Actually, I find this to be more of about culture, literature and myth than it is so much about how the mind functions- although I can see much of where he's coming from and agree with some of it. For one thing, we are such a post-literate society that I just can't imagine that our collective unconscious operates nearly the same way that it once did, assuming he's correct in many of his assumptions. TV, movies, music, video games and other computer and internet media have dramatically altered our shared experiences, not to mention our processing modes.
Still, its fascinating to consider how are minds collaborate within, with different aspects of our selves and with the rest of society both here and now and in the continuum of human history. When considered through my faith paradigm, its amazing to consider how fearfully and wonderfully made we are- in God's image and intended to be in relationship and in community.
This should give me a great context to read some more Frankel next, then eventually perhaps I'll double-back and read Freud on dreams. Hate to wonder how much I'm probably misinterpreting. I guess that if/when I ever go back for a Masters and try to take some psych classes I'll find out. (less)