Thoreau said that the old have nothing of value to say to the young. Sometimes, that is true, depending on which old, young, subject and occasion are involved.
One of the most common differences between experienced and inexperienced educators is that the newbies tend to think that if something is said or read, the students know it. Sometimes, that is true but often one or more students wasn't listening or didn't read or didn't understand or didn't remember.
Karen Maezen Miller is an author I admire deeply. She has written "Hand Wash Cold" and "Momma Zen" and her new book "Paradise in Plain Sight: Lessons from a Zen Garden" will be out in May. I read Hand Wash Cold aloud to my wife while traveling and we both benefitted from her astute, clean, witty and agile language. Maezen Miller is one of those writers that benefit the reader with their writings on any subject.
Maezen Miller specializes in pointing out the Zen and meditative possibilities in ordinary married household life, although she while still young, has lived in several different roles, including high-powered, driven business woman.
Miller runs retreats from time to time and in various places. She reports in her blog about a question at the end of a recent retreat,"What have you imparted to your (14 yr. old) daughter?" Miller says that her reply was "Nothing" but that her daughter has imparted lots to her. I am writing that this is clearly not the case, based on clear evidence Miller herself reports. I have never been a mother or a daughter. But my experience is that the bonds and anti-bonds that build up between them have a particular and strong nature.
Teachers are forever hearing that we don't understand the nature of a given individual victim of rules and regulations, from both boys and girls. We are often told that we don't understand the nature of the reality of a given teen's life, which is true. We are told that the conditions of their lives are different from what we lived, also true. However, the fact that the teen makes these statements is a demonstration of the love and strength that have promoted the teen's ability to see, to disagree, to speak out.
I once told a class that to see a prediction of themselves in future years, they should look at their same sex parent. A young woman came up to me afterwards, trembling with fervor and rage, and said,"I am NOTHING like my mother!!" I never got to meet the mother or make a good comparison but I have my doubts.
In my opinion, it is not possible biologically for a child, DNA-wise as well as mind and personality-wise to not be anything like a parent, especially if you include strong revisions, as where I decide to avoid smoking BECAUSE my dad smoked so much.
Mark Twain remarked that when he was 14, his dad was the stupidest man in the world. But when he was 21, he was amazed at how much the old man had learned in just 7 years. I am confident that Maezen Miller and her daughter both know these ideas and will be willing to admit so in 20 years.
Main blog: Fear, Fun and Filoz
Main web site: Kirbyvariety