Monday, February 1, 2016

Food for Thought ~ Margins and Meditations

On Margins and Meditations @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

Seek in reading and thou shalt find in meditation;
knock in prayer and it shall be opened in contemplation.

~ St. John of the Cross

:: Marginal Faith: You Probably Should Be Doing Less by S. D. Smith [If you read only one of these links, let it be this one, friends.]
"Margin is not the wasted space on the page where more words could have gone if only we would knuckle-down and work harder. Margin is the place where the words we carefully compose and place show their best... 

"Margin makes your story clear, legible, and beautiful. At least, if your story really is beautiful, the margin will not contradict it. It will enhance and testify to its worth and beauty, to how compelling it is."

:: When Beauty Strikes by David Brooks @ The New York Times
By this philosophy, beauty incites spiritual longing. 
Today the word eros refers to sex, but to the Greeks it meant the fervent desire to reach excellence and deepen the voyage of life. This eros is a powerful longing. Whenever you see people doing art, whether they are amateurs at a swing dance class or a professional painter, you invariably see them trying to get better. “I am seeking. I am striving. I am in it with all my heart,” Vincent van Gogh wrote. 
Some people call eros the fierce longing for truth. “Making your unknown known is the important thing,” Georgia O’Keeffe wrote. Mathematicians talk about their solutions in aesthetic terms, as beautiful or elegant.

:: Just Another Reason I Homeschool: A Meditation on Jayber Crow by Missy Andrews @ Center for Lit [Love, LOVE this one.]
'Crow describes this undetected pressure to create an identity for oneself as a kind of subtle bondage. He finds its source in his education: “If I was freer than I had ever been in my life, I was not yet entirely free; for I still hung on to an idea that had been set deep in me by all my schooling so far: I was a bright boy and I ought to make something out of myself…”'

:: Sir Ken Robinson: Full Body Education @ Zen Pencils [A great graphic-novel-style visual of an excerpt from Robinson’s TED Talk on education]

:: Why Introverted Teachers Are Burning Out @ The Atlantic
In some ways, today’s teachers are simply struggling with what the Harvard Business Review recently termed “collaborative overload” in the workplace. According to its own data, “over the past two decades, the time spent by managers and employees in collaborative activities has ballooned by 50% or more.” The difference for teachers in many cases is that they don’t get any down time; they finish various meetings with various adults and go straight to the classroom, where they feel increasing pressure to facilitate social learning activities and promote the current trend of collaborative education.

:: To educate children, you need books on the shelves @ Like Mother, Like Daughter [Preaching to the choir]
There is a way to relieve the burden on yourself to be providing the all-too-elusive “complete education” for your children at every moment. And it’s the same solution to the opposite problem, which is resting too much confidence in that school you are sending them to — the one that you may be paying a lot for, but which simply can’t give them the depth of experience with a life lived with books that they need.

:: Christian Books and Christian Reading by Adam Andrews @ Center for Lit [I’m looking forward to reading part 2!]
“This book does not seem to have any Christian lessons in it,” she said. “It’s disturbing and full of hopelessness and despair. Is there a way to redeem this story, or at least understand it better, by reading it from a Christian perspective?”

:: Gentlemen Speak: 5 Things Pride and Prejudice Can Teach You About Men @ Verily [So interesting and full of truth]
The truth is, Darcy is sometimes placed so high on a pedestal that we forget the many ways he is very much like your modern everyday man today—full of his own flaws and far from perfect. 

Jane and Bingley, Elizabeth and Darcy, Mr. and Mrs. Bennet, even Charlotte and Mr. Collins—every relationship Austen portrays teaches us what it is to be devoted, selfless, authentic, and most of all open-minded to love. But especially as a man, I can tell you, I find it all extremely relatable. Here’s why.

:: Why Can’t We Read Anymore? @ San Francisco Chronicle
Still, I am an optimist. Most nights last year, I got into bed with a book — paper or electronic — and started. Reading. One word after the next. A sentence. Two sentences. 
Maybe three. 

And then … I needed just a little something else. Something to tide me over. Something to scratch that little itch at the back of my mind — just a quick look at e-mail on my iPhone; to write, and erase, a response to a funny tweet from William Gibson; to find, and follow, a link to a really good article in the New Yorker. E-mail again, just to be sure. 

I’d read another sentence. That’s four sentences.

:: Everyone Uses Singular 'They,' Whether They Realize It Or Not @ npr [I know I do, and I’m happy for it to become standard!]

:: Brain Starvation: Could Boys Be Suffering? @ Deep Roots at Home [This blog post was the kick in the pants I needed to implement some diet and supplement ideas at our house. I’ll keep you posted.]
The left hemisphere of our brain is where our judgment resides. It is the logical part of the brain. Our right hemisphere is where our emotion resides. When boys aren’t using good judgment, they are having a difficult time accessing their left hemisphere. Sometimes, this is due to a lack of essential fatty acids, essentially brain starvation. Information can’t travel across the corpus collosum if it isn’t nourished properly. The solution is for us to fatten up their brains!

:: A Crash Course in The Art of Constructive Critique @ Psychology for Photographers (and other creative professionals) [I’ll admit it: I am not good at receiving constructive criticism. This article, however, shares great advice for giving constructive critiques in this culture of widespread online criticism. These are fantastic general tools for peacemakers in leadership positions (hello, parenthood), as well.]
A constructive critique is delivered in a manner, time, and place that the recipient will 1) hear you out and 2) be likely to take action.  That means it has to start with compassion and genuine concern.  Advice given out of frustration and anger will elicit defensiveness and retaliation – not action. 

Before offering a critique of someone’s work, check yourself:  Who are you writing this for?  You?  Them?  The gathered audience?  Know your motivations.  If you’re trying to help, meet them in a way and a place that they will hear you out.

:: Nikabrik’s Candidate @ First Things
"Did C. S. Lewis foresee the rise of Donald Trump? Not specifically, I’m sure. But Lewis had a remarkable understanding of human nature. He knew what it was like to feel that all hope was lost. And he knew that fear and despair can drive decent people to look for someone, anyone, who projects an appearance of strength."

We’ll wrap up this post of links with an entertaining and brilliant video.


Andrea said...

Your "Food for Thought" always feeds me. The best! Thanks for not being a slacker.

Heidi said...

I'm glad you enjoy it, Andrea! Thanks for the kind words. :)