Imagine an infant lying in its cradle, discovering its voice, purring and murmuring MMM to itself

leonard-bernstein

Bernstein reminded me that the word “education” is related to the Latin educere—“ to bring forth what is within”— and then added: “Though I can’t prove it, deep in my heart I know that every person is born with the love of learning. Without exception. Every infant studies its toes and fingers, and a child’s discovery of his or her voice must be one of the most extraordinary of life’s moments. I’ve suggested that there must be proto-syllables existing at the beginnings of all languages— like ma (or some variant of it), which, in almost every tongue, means mother— mater, madre, mère, mutter, mat, Ima, shi-ma, mama. Imagine an infant lying in its cradle, discovering its voice, purring and murmuring MMM to itself… […]

Whether teaching children or adults, Bernstein understood that loving and learning are inextricably linked, that real knowledge is a concomitant of the desire to know, and that music itself— a meeting of living creator and creative listener— is one of the most efficacious vehicles for teaching. As a conductor, Bernstein experienced the relationship between himself and his orchestra as that of a lover and his beloved. As he remarked at the conclusion of his 1955 Omnibus television broadcast “The Art of Conducting”:

“The conductor must not only make his orchestra play; he must make them want to play…. It is not so much imposing his will on them like a dictator; it is more like projecting his feelings around him so that they reach the last man in the second violin section. And when this happens— when one hundred men share his feelings, exactly, simultaneously, responding as one to each rise and fall of the music, to each point of arrival and departure, to each little inner pulse— then there is a human identity of feeling that has no equal elsewhere. It is the closest thing I know to love itself.”

~ Jonathan Cott, Dinner with Lenny: The Last Long Interview with Leonard Bernstein


Notes: Original Source – Brainpickings

RIP: Mr. Everything

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Gordie Howe, known as “Mr. Hockey,” had died at 88 this afternoon. Howe was also referred to during his career as Power, Mr. Everything, Mr. All-Star, The Most, The Great Gordie, The King of Hockey, The Legend, The Man, No. 9, and “Mr. Elbows”. Here’s some excerpts from terrific tribute by Adam Gopnik from the New Yorker:

“Gordie Howe, who died today, was so much a legend—Mr. Hockey!—and so often referenced as the greatest player of all time, even lending his Number 9 to Wayne Gretzky (who turned it into his own 99), that it is surprisingly hard to put his achievements into clear relief. His persistence was such that, in memory, it overwhelms his peculiar excellence. The persistence was pretty startling. He played until he was fifty-two, long enough to skate professionally alongside his own sons. His accumulated stats include 2,421 games, 1,071 goals, 1,518 assists, 2,589 points, and 2,418 penalty minutes…He seemed to play forever, and he forever played well, winning six M.V.P. awards and six scoring championships, too…

Some of Howe’s peculiar greatness is summed up in the still-current “Gordie Howe hat trick,” which is when a player has a goal, an assist, and a fight all in one game. Howe was tough—and, by all accounts, mean…

Above all, he was a representative—the perfect representative—of a certain kind of Canadianness, reflected, as it was bound to be, in a hockey player, as perhaps Lou Gehrig or Stan Musial, other Iron Men, were representative of similar, American baseball values, now largely lost. A product of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, the most Canadian of Canadian places, Howe might have had the Canadian fault of being a touch too trusting, easily and even brutally exploited by the Red Wings owner Bruce Norris. He nonetheless made the Canadian virtues of modesty, persistence, and family-above-all-else part of the heritage of hockey. He didn’t just play with his sons; he played well with his sons—while his wife, Colleen, a Detroit girl, was always surprisingly visible, in a way few athletes’ wives were at the time. He even got to play in the now mostly—and unfairly—forgotten 1974 Summit Series, when the World Hockey Association’s stars took on the Soviets. He was old, but still the leader.

~ Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker: Gordie Howe Was the Ideal Canadian Athlete


Photo: Amazon – Mr. Hockey: My Story. By Gordie Howe

 

 

 

There’s right and wrong, not just better or worse.

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Frank Bruni in the NY Times writesWeary of Relativity:

“SAY anything critical about a person or an organization and brace for this pushback: At least he, she or it isn’t as bad as someone or something else.

[…]

Set the bar low enough and all blame is deflected, all shame expunged. Choose the right points of reference and behold the alchemy: naughty deeds into humdrum conformity. Excess into restraint. Sinners into saints.

[…]

Like I said, you can set the bar anywhere you want.

And you can justify almost anything by pointing fingers at people who are acting likewise or less nobly.

[…]

Everything’s relative.

Except it’s not.

There are standards to which government, religion and higher education should be held. There are examples that politicians and principled businesspeople should endeavor to set, regardless of whether their peers are making that effort. There’s right and wrong, not just better or worse.

And there’s a word for recognizing and rising to that: leadership. We could use more of it.”

Don’t miss Bruni’s entire Op-Ed essay: Weary of Relativity


Image Credit

MMM*: Their hope is so bright I can almost see it.

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My students still don’t know what they will never be. Their hope is so bright I can almost see it. I used to value the truth of whether this student or that one would achieve the desired thing. I don’t value that truth anymore as much as I value their unrest hope. I don’t care that one in two hundred of them will ever become what they feel they must become. I care only that I am able to witness their faith in what’s coming next.

~ Sarah Manguso, Ongoingness: The End of a Diary


Notes: MMM* = Monday Morning Mantra. Photograph: in-constancy. Related Manguso posts: Manguso @ Live & Learn

Walking Cross-Town. On Edges.

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The mercury tipped 15º F. A veritable heat wave.
It’s 6:20 AM and the train pulls into Grand Central.
I twist in my ear buds and cue up my “Favorites” playlist.
Angus Stone: Bird on a Buffalo.
The herd stampedes out of the station.
Are you the bird? Or the buffalo?

I’m passing commuters on my left. And on my right.
Middle age, my a**. Can’t touch me. I’m sure those are whispers I hear behind me: “Who is that Pro Athlete?”
Another solid night of sleep. Superman. Cape.
I’m out on 48th and heading cross-town.
Cold air shocks Clark Kent. He wobbles, exhales mist, watches it rise and marches on.

My pace has me hitting each “Walk” sign in succession. Dominos falling.
No slowing, no stopping. Batta Bing, Batta Bang.
It’s going to be a good day.

Light wind gusts at my back.
Wind triggers the Old Irish Blessing

May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of his hand.

May the cabs stay on the highway and not plow into me on the curb.
May these brutal Arctic winds stay down.
May the sun warm my cold freezing a**,
And please God, no freezing rain. Please no more. [Read more…]

Riding Metro-North. With our Kids.

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It’s 5:25 am.
A dark, windless morning.
14° F.
I’m stepping quickly in my 1/2 mile walk to the station.
Suit. Top Coat. Gloves. Black lace-ups. No boots.
Fear of: Black ice + Tumble = Face plant.
My right ear is tingling.
A dandy frost bite when I was 11. No hat. No matter how long ago, acts of stupidity are never far from consciousness.

I glance at my watch. It’s tight. I step up my pace.
Way (WAY) short on sleep. Mood: heavy. Dark.
There will be retribution for the arranger of the 7 a.m. meeting in the City. Matthew 5:38: Eye for an Eye. DK 1:29:2015: Arm, Leg and Eye for an Eye.

There are days when you need to read with paper in your hands. With something real touching your fingers. Yet, I’m conscious of being the only one in a packed train car crinkling a newspaper, shattering the silence of fingers swiping digital pads. The commuter next to me is asleep. I work on folding the morning paper.

It’s maddening that I’ve never been able to hold and fold a newspaper like many commuters. I can’t roll my tongue. I can’t wiggle my ears. The genius who set up this 7 am meeting is going to feel the cold chill of the Juno aftermath.

I pan through the front section and my eyes lock on 4 lines. I have no expertise in this area. Zero fundamental knowledge. But I know what I see. I know what I feel. We’re in trouble.  [Read more…]

T.G.I.F.: It’s been a long week

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Day in the life of a leader…


Source: gifak (administering medicine to Panda)

These feet are bangin’ the floor this morning

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Thank you Kurt @ culturaloffeirng

 

Big Day? Be Brave.

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Source: peacansandies

The “Meez” & 20 Words To The Promised Land.

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If you’re working in the kitchen of Anthony Bourdain, legendary chef and famed television personality, you don’t dare so much to boil hot water without attending to a ritual called: mise-en-place.

What is the first thing YOU do when you arrive at your desk?

What 20 word question can you ask yourself to distinguish between tasks that simply feel urgent from those that are truly important?

Find the answers here: How to Spend the First 10 Minutes of Your Day


Photograph: Savorsa.com

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