Tuesday, March 21, 2017

A Raft of Words

Words are the raft on which we set out on the sea of our lives. From first words in the format of a cry at birth to the whispered words at death we define who we are and create conversation with other beings through these words

This raft is built while in use. No wonder babies who are talked with from birth have a head start on creation of their unique life. Parents, siblings and friends help assemble a raft that is adequate for rough times.

Each mind appears to be structured to search for meaning in the lives of individuals and groups. The family is an intimate setting where values and habits of a life are planted and nourished.

The community usually continues the raft building by nurturing younger members to learn words which shape a more reliable craft.  When such support does not happen,  antisocial behaviors can sink rafts and words are not available to save the day.

Formal education builds sturdiness into a raft more able to live through tumultuous tests in alien circumstances. Taking courses in language can be a hard sell. However, this investment in time for learning pays generous dividends in a life well lived.

It is my judgment that most people wish to be cooperative with other people. The creation of pleasant relationships often produces creativity and innovation that is fun. Cooperation demands the use of words.

These words are my opinion. I am building integrity into my personal raft. Why not join with me in sprucing up the words raft of your life.


Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Education in the 89th year of life

Beginning an organized educational venture in the 89th year of life is turning out to be a fearsome act. It feels like taking leave of oneself and picking up on the trail of a next identity.

I have chosen an online course on "Jewish Civilization from Mohammad to Spinoza". It involves 12 hours of lecture instruction by History professor David Ruderman from the University of Pennsylvania. The course is found at Great Courses offered by The Teaching Company.

Examinations will happen in conversations with family and friends as I try to tell them what I am learning. I will soon discover whether I am up to the challenge. After the first lesson, I realize that this project is no “walk in the park”.

What are some motivations for this venture?  1. Improvement of my mind; 2. Adding meaning to life in advanced age; 3. Becoming a more interesting person; 4. Using time creatively; 5. Increasing understanding of a world culture in a unique time of transition.

During professional life, I have been teacher of people making use of questions to draw out information already within people as well as providing information. 

Now the table is turned on myself.  Now I am the student. Professor Ruderman has information beyond my awareness. I must pay attention, take notes, recall information and observe my reactions.