Children of Planet Earth : The Voyager Remix

I’ve mentioned the voyager before. I’m happy to do so again. Not only is the project pretty cool - a spaceship carrying a 12-inch gold-plated copper phonograph, containing the recorded sounds and images that portray the diversity of life and culture on Earth - but so too is this remixed video.

It’s a sort of updated version of who what we have become.

For more on . . .

-N- Stuff  :  History : Space

What Mr. Rogers' Quiet Neighborhood Can Teach Us About Our Loud and Busy Lives

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Fred Rogers began the episode of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood just like he’d done a hundred times before, “by putting on his cardigan and buttoning it up.” Only this time, according to Hedda Sharapan, a producer and actor who was often involved with the show, something wasn’t right. “He had started at the wrong buttonhole; he was one button off.” The crew expected Fred to start over. Instead, He gave Sharapan a look and kept on, ad libbing an explanation to his children audience just “how easy it is to make mistakes” and then spent the extra time showing them how to correct it (pg, 193).

Any other show would have snubbed the first take and instantly recorded a second. Not so with Mr. Rogers. He understood that mistakes were a huge part of life, that they were essential to life, and that his young audience needed understand that. So embraced the silly mistake and used it as a teachable moment, because he cared deeply about children, and because he knew exactly what they needed most.

After years of training, researching and observing young children in the classroom and in life, and after studying and listening to them and their stories and thoughts, Rogers become a master teacher who cared deeply for the holistic development of children. They became his chief concern. More than money, more than fame, more than job security, Fred Rogers cared about his children audience.

Which is why, in contrast to his competition, Mr. Rogers’ show was slow, even crawling at times, because he knew that was what his young audience needed.

“Rogers’s embrace of reality also included breaking one of the established rules of television, a prohibition against footage that is essentially empty. While Sesame Street used fast pacing and quick-cut technique to excite and engage their viewers and keep them glued to the screen, Fred Rogers deliberately headed in the opposite direction, creating his own quiet, slow-paced, thoughtful world, which led to real learning in his view” (pg, 194).

Fred Rogers believed children were entertained enough. That instead of another fast-paced tv show that kept children distracted, what they needed was time.

“He really was interested in the child as a developing person” Maxwell King wrote in The Good Neighbor: The Life and Work of Fred Rogers, which is why Rogers feared constant entertainment; it would engage his audience but weaken their minds. And if they had a weak mind, they would not fully grasp who they were, what they were, and how they thought.

“Our job in life,” Rogers believed, “is to help people realize how rare and valuable each one of us really is - that each of us has something that no one else has - or ever will have - something inside which is unique to all time. It’s our job to encourage each other to discover that uniqueness, and to provide ways of developing its expression (pg 237).

For Mr. Roger, in order for children to discover their uniqueness, they needed silence, time, and space. Silence so that they could hear themselves think, time to consider those thoughts, then space to work them out, to fail, and then to try again. They need opportunities to be human, and they needed adults to model humanity for them, to teach them, and to encourage them that life can be hard but that we can always work to correct it. Even when it’s something as simply as a missing a buttonhole.

“One of the major goals of education,” Mr. Rogers believed, “must be to help students discover a greater awareness of their own unique selves, in order to increase their feelings of personal worth, responsibility, and freedom” (pg 328).

In contrast, classrooms, living rooms, and car rides that fill the silence with gimmicks, screens, and distractions leave little room for such self-reflection and no time for imagination.

“Fred Rogers lived out the conundrum of modern life: embracing technology and using it in imaginative ways to benefit children, while rejecting the dehumanizing aspects of complex technological advancement” (pg 80).

For our children’s sake, for our future’s sake, embrace the silence, fight for the quiet, and allow time and space for children to think, make mistakes, and try again. It’s what Mr. Rogers would do. And he was the master of a pretty amazing neighborhood.

But so can we.

For more on . . .

-N- Stuff  :  Education  :  Parenting : Living

Jord Hammond Photography

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“Jord Hammond is a 25-year-old freelance contemporary travel photographer and storyteller from the UK. After living and working as a teacher in South-West China for a year, he developed a passion for photography which has led him to all corners of the earth; from the mountains of Peru to the rivers of Varanasi in India and everything in between” (via).

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You can catch more of Jord’s work at @jordhammon and on his website, jordhammond.com.

Happy Sunday!

For more on . . .

-N- Stuff  :  Photography  : Jord Hammond

"Welcome to Marwen" Official Trailer

I’m in.

This could easily be one of the bigger busts of the year, but with Steve Carell and “Academy Award® winner Robert Zemeckis—the groundbreaking filmmaker behind Forrest Gump, Flight and Cast Away" (via), I’m betting not.

How we heal follows no outline or script. It’s unique, just like the pain that caused it, and any film that tries to focus on the healing and forgiveness of that pain rather than the destruction and revenge is worth spending time and money on. If nothing else than to serve as a simple reminder.

So like I said, I’m in.

For more on . . .

-N- Stuff  :  Movies

Mumford & Sons has teamed up with Nat Geo

I’ve sort of lost track of Mumford and Sons since their album Babel. Their latest, Delta has me falling back in love. It feels, lyrically and musically, like they’ve finally returned to their roots.

By the way, incase you were wondering, Delta doesn’t have any real deep meaning. It simply means “the fourth letter of the Greek alphabet (Δδ),” or “the fourth in a series of items, categories, etc.” Like the fourth album produced by band. In case you were wondering.

You can listen to the full album on Youtube or Spotify.

For more on . . .

-N- Stuff  :  Music  

December 4, 2018 Balance Like a Pirate : Going beyond Work-life Balance to Ignite Passion and Thrive as an Educator

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For any educator, this is worth reading. It’s an easy read and can easily be accomplished over a break or long weekend, with the potential to help change life and the lives of those you serve.

Here is a brief snapshot.

IMPORTANT DISTINCTIONS:

“When we talk about personal balance, we are referencing everything that really makes you who you are - what are the “titles” outside of your job, and how do you cultivate them” (pg xxi)?

Positional balance . . . Whatever you do that earns income or provides you financial stability . . .” (pg xxi).

Professional balance is just that - how are you continuing to learn, grow, and enhance your knowledge and understanding of your role” (pg xxi)?

Passions: What I would do for free (pg xxii).

Five Favorite Quotes:

“We do not learn from experience . . . we learn from reflecting on experience” (pg 35).

“Leisure is only possible when we are at one with ourselves, We tend to overwork as a means of self-escape, as a way of trying to justify our existence” (pg 74).

“Each person has special talents - the things you enjoy doing when they are away from school. Making intentional time to cultivate your dream and following through with courage and discipline is important not only for you, but for the students you serve. So don’t hide it from your students! You strive to find out as much as you can about their passions, but how often do you share your passions with them?” - “Identity Day”, a school day devoted to students AND teachers sharing on thing they are passionate about (pg 106)

“If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading” - Lau Tzu (pg 115).

“The longer you wait to do something you should do now, the greater the odds that you will never actually do it” - The Law of Diminishing Intent (pg 124).

For more favorite quotes click here.

For more on . . .

Reading Log 2017  :  Reading Log 2018

Post-it: A Perfect Mistake

“Spencer Silver, the scientist who is partially credited with the creation of the Post-it,” Sinek writes, “was working in his lab at the Minnesota-based company, actually trying to develop a very strong adhesive. Unfortunately, he was unsuccessful. What he accidentally made was a very weak adhesive” (pg 168).

Instead of throwing away his mistake, he passed it around throughout the company, “just in case someone else could figure out a way to use it.”

A few years later, a fellow scientist was in church choir practice, “getting frustrated that he couldn’t get his bookmark to stay in place.” It kept falling to the floor. Until he remembered Silver’s “weak adhesive.” It would make for the perfect bookmark.

That mistake is now “one of the best-recognized brands in history, with four thousand varieties sold in over a hundred countries” (pg 169).

Instead of seeing his mistake as a failure, Spencer Silver saw it as a “Not yet.” He also saw that he didn’t have the solution, that he needed a fresh set of eyes to look at the problem. He understood that he needed help. Which is exactly why he chose to work for 3m.

3M “knows that people do their best work when they work together, share their ideas and comfortably borrow each other’s work for their own projects.” There is “no notion of “‘mine’”, which is why, at 3m, more than 80 percent of their patents “have more than one inventor.” It’s also why, in 2009, “when other companies were slashing their R&D budgets to save money, 3M still managed to release over a thousand new products” (pg 170), because “they have a corporate culture that encourages and rewards people for helping each other and sharing everything they learn.”

Rather than serving and celebrating the individual, they consider the group and others above themselves. They stick together, just like the adhesive Spencer Silver attempted to develop in the beginning. (I know, my brilliant display of a word play amazes me too.)

“Successful failure,” my son says, reading over my shoulder, and he’s right. Perfectly so. Because in a society that considers others above themselves, failure is not something to be feared. It is something to be embraced, shared, and endured.

Imagine what our homes, schools, and communities would look like if we lived with a similar approach. Imagine the bruises and the failures. The freedom. The healing. And the beautiful success we would experience. Together.

For more on . . .

-N- Stuff  :  Education  :  On Living

Nirav Patel Photography

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My wife often sends me people, ideas, and links of inspiration. This week she sent me Nirav Patel.

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“I am drawn to quiet moments,” writes, “I think it originated from attempts at self-preservation when I was living in neighborhoods that were...difficult” (via).

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“I still look for the glimpses of quiet when the world is turbulent. These images are a window into my world” (via).

Reminds me of Tupac’s “The Rose That Grew From Concrete”.

You can follow Nirav on instagram or his website.

For more on . . .

-N- Stuff  :  Photography : Art : Nirav Patel

Peter Jackson's remake of WWI brings back humanity

I’m pretty stoked about this:

Many documentaries on the war are informative but, frankly, quite dull. In striving for objectivity, they lose sight of humanity. Rather than adopt the voice of god and newsreel look that characterizes the usual fare, Jackson has taken an active role in shaping the narrative for us with cutting-edge blockbuster cinematic techniques. He gives us characters to care about in showing the horror of trench warfare, the confusion and camaraderie of war. Though he uses original footage, it is digitally enhanced and colorized, screened in 3D, with recordings of remembrances from the soldiers themselves dramatically overlaid to create the sense that the figures we see onscreen are speaking to us (via).

"To memorialize these soldiers a hundred years later," he says, "is to try to bring some of their humanity back into the world again, to stop them being a black and white cliché.” In creating this moving memorial, Jackson goes far beyond the mandate of an educational film. He has used all the techniques at his disposal to make good on the promise in Robert Laurence Binyon’s 1914 poem “For the Fallen,” from which the documentary takes its title

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

For more on . . .

-N- Stuff  :  Documentaries : WWI : Peter Jackson

Favorite Podcasts : November

Yes, the Open Office Is Terrible — But It Doesn’t Have to Be (Ep. 358) : by Freakonomics

It began as a post-war dream for a more collaborative and egalitarian workplace. It has evolved into a nightmare of noise and discomfort. Can the open office be saved, or should we all just be working from home?

The concept of productivity and efficiency is always on my mind, especially when it comes to schools and cultures and how best to make an impact. This episode helped clarify some of my thoughts and struggles and encouraged me to get out more, engage in conversation, and to sacrifice productivity for side chats and unplanned encounters.

The Difference Between Fixing and Healing : by On Being

We thought we could cure everything, but it turns out we can only cure a small amount of human suffering. The rest of it needs to be healed, and that’s different.

Perhaps my favorite of the group, this podcast is slow and beautiful and just about perfect. I’m often inspired by podcasts, but this is one of the few that truly heal. Just brilliant.

Episode 311 – James Clear – The Laws of Behavior Change : by Smart People Podcast

If you are in any way an entrepreneur or artist or person wanting to branch out with new ideas, this podcast is perfect. In it, James Clear discusses:

  • How to overcome the fear of rejection

  • James Clear’s book ‘Atomic Habits’ which I’ve already ordered. If you want to borrow it when I’m done, let me know and I’ll send it your way!

  • Where do you find a ‘vision’ falling in the realm of habit creation?

And so much more. It’s crazy good.

Before the Next One : by This American Life

There’s no rulebook on how to handle a school shooting. And no real way to prepare for one. This week, people take what they’ve learned from these tragedies and try to use that knowledge to save others.

I listened to this shortly after reading Columbine and writing Mass Shootings : We Are Responsible. It is a pretty powerful episode as it interviews the teachers of Stoneman Douglas HS and parents who have lost their children but are refusing to give up hope in humanity. It is not for the faint of heart, but if you can stomach it, it is also encouraging.

#20 Soraya : Heavyweight

When Soraya was in college, her favorite professor hired her to help research a book she was writing. But when she fell into a deep depression and dropped out of school, she abandoned both the book and the professor who’d shown her so much kindness. Now, with Jonathan’s help, Soraya wants to make things right—with a grand gesture.

Along with productivity and efficiency, I am also constantly wrestling with the concept of memory. I’ve posted other podcasts on this issue (Malcolm Gladwell and Invisibilia being some of the best), but this episode brought a bit of a different flavor because it deals with depression and the devastating effects it can have on perception vs reality. Not only did it question my understanding of reality, it soothed my soul. It’s a good piece to end on. Trust me.

EXTRAS:

Chanel just called, to say . . . by Heavyweight

Six Who Sat : Why six women had to sit, so that they could run. by ESPN 30 for 30