[Publisher's Note: Howard Stein, Boles Blogs author and inspiration, died at age of 90 on October 14, 2012 in Stamford, Connecticut. This article now appears in print as an equalizing effort to preserve Dr. Stein's teaching and thinking as David Boles shares this, and other works, from his private Prairie Voice archive. Howard wrote this article in the Spring of 1984 and, 30 years later, the lessons are still ripe and rich and damning.]
For those suffering the wounds of life, the university has become a hospital. For the woman in her middle forties whose husband has left her for “a young thing” after twenty-four years of marriage and four children, the university is the first thought where she may go for help.
This week, Jann Sweenie and I are celebrating our 10 Year anniversary of teaching American Sign Language online at HardcoreASL.com! As part of this ongoing decade celebration, we are now offering more than 500 of our ASL video streaming teaching videos at no cost to you!
It is important we are always learning and always keeping our minds keen and inquisitive. There are some evil efforts among us to dumb us down, to keep us complacent, and to make sure we cease to question authority and just place our blind belief in certain people to lead us.
With age comes experiential wisdom and, we hope, a certain jading when it comes to living a right life. Where once we surprised, now we are prepared; where once we were astonished, now we are bemused.
“It goes on…” is likely the best takeaway motto the elders among us have vested in the current lifetime. Life is circular and repetitive and expectation grows dark and deep as uncertainty continually erupts to corrupt the circle.
We yearn to be virtuous against our impending and inevitable ending, and in that shadow between first bursting and the final shovel is the test of our lives. Have we behaved ethically? Were we in this world just for ourselves? Did we, in some way, serve the others among us without an expectation of a return on our investment?
Helen Keller — a Deaf and Blind woman who became an author and an international SuperStar against the merits of her monumental disability — is one of the most magnificent examples of the human spirit in the history of America.
I have defended the spirit of Helen Keller on this blog, and while I am a tremendous fan of her incredible mind, I’m not terribly interested in her sex life as a lesbian or not, or as the secret, fateful, lover of her teacher, Anne Sullivan’s, husband, or her role as the concubine of a local cub reporter who wrote about her early life and made her a star.
What does concern, and interest me, is the lingering slandering of her as a young child in her effort to write, at 11-years-old, a story for publication called “The Frost King” — that was too closely associated with a previously published work entitled “The Frost Fairies” — that she was accused of plagiarism that haunted and stooped her for the rest of her life.
When teaching becomes an abstraction and not something real, the learning doesn’t stick in the student very well. Imagination must first be grounded in a hard reality.
As we move closer into living in a 24/7 virtual world, it is important for all of us to keep in mind that learning is best fostered using real things, in real-time, in the same, real, room with each other getting real. That is important in all human interactions, not just the classroom. We’re always trying to learn from each other and doing it with real objects is a powerful experience that binds.
When you’re teaching about a flower — is it better to show a computer image of a flower, or hand out a flower printed on a piece of paper, or is it best to share a real flower plucked from a garden in your alive hand?
A real flower authentically engages every bodily sense and creates a sensation in the mind.
We know there is a faux war allegedly being waged against Christmas that those on the far right-wing of the American mindset claim to fight each and every season — but let there be no doubt there is a second, more insidious, religious war being fought against the black cauldron public celebrations of Halloween.
I’ve always enjoyed Halloween. It’s a universal, dramatic, moment in time where you can be someone else for awhile all while celebrating the changing season and the fun of each other’s imaginations.
Over the past few years or so, though, I’ve seen a dedicated effort by a religious few to remove the pumpkin spectacle from public purview. Is protesting the wicked witch the way some hope to preserve the baby Jesus?