A Great Place to Start

First of all I must give a shout out to my Bella.  She has been working her butt off with this summer school class she it taking.  She has to take three tests a week which means she has to work on three packets from her book.  She is working like a dog.

(Although I am not quite sure where that saying comes from as I look at my Maggie sprawled out on the floor fast asleep)

She has been trained very well in the ways of studying and is mostly self motivating.  However, the class is a health class so some of the topics are a little…uh…personal.  She cannot take anything like that very seriously, so it is a very interesting time for both of us.  I am enjoying our time sitting at the table, me re-reading books on choral blend and her making shameless puberty jokes.

Good times.

I also must post this completely unrelated picture as it is haunting my waking moments.  This is my nephew Joseph and my niece Abby.  My niece Abby lives in Arkansas and is visiting Joseph (as well as most of the rest of my family) in Iowa.  I am headed there in a few weeks and in addition to these lovelies I will get to see my nephew Ty and niece Sami.  Oh my goodness I can’t wait to hug their little necks.




Abby’s smile and that red hair in addition to Joseph’s freckles make my heart hurt.


So…we have already established that I love quotes.  So as I have been fervently re-reading some old choral lectures, notes, and books, this quote I came across yesterday has stuck with me.  I wish I knew which one of my professors quoted this but it was scribbled in the margins of some notes I have

“Humans respond to humans.  Act with passion and confidence”

The first part of that quote seems to me to be the most important.  Humans respond to humans.  I always told my middle school students that we must treat each other like human beings.  We hurt.  Things hurt us.  When we really look at someone else with that in mind it changes how we treat them.  I want my kids to look at people that way…as human beings, who get hurt. Being human also acknowledges that we are fallible, we make mistakes.   We are not perfect.  A student of mine sent me a Tedx talk by a woman named Ash Beckham.  This talk is about addressing the need to come out of your closet, but by doing this she makes a point that if we come to the table as an honest human being, one that hurts and is fallible, that is a good start.  She recounts a story about her sister’s wedding.  It was shortly after she told her family that she was a lesbian and she was making the rounds, as a good maid of honor should, and ended up at a table of some of her older relatives.  These relatives, in an attempt to show Ash that they were very accepting of her, started to TRY to connect with her.  One told her that Will and Grace was her favorite show and especially loved the character of Jack.  One told her how much she loved her male hairdresser who most certainly has never talked about dating women.  Another about how much they love San Francisco.  She realized that even though some of their comments were very stereotypical and could be cause for ridicule, they were trying in the best way they knew how to show her that they were accepting of her.  She acknowledges that they were trying and really that is all we can ask of anyone.  She knew if she said anything to “correct” their stereotypical ideas she would hurt them.

Humans responding to humans, knowing full well that we hurt and are fallible.

I sometimes don’t understand how we humans can treat each other so badly.  It is like an American league pitcher beaning another pitcher.  Don’t they know how it feels and that what comes around goes around.  I am telling you the honest truth when you really look at someone else with the attitude of humanity it really changes the way you treat them.  This is why it always shocks me to the core when someone can treat someone else so badly and show no remorse.

The last part of the quote charges me as a person to show my passion in my actions.  When someone sees that your actions are full of passion and confidence and you present it as a human being, the message will be delivered successfully.  I really have never been one to do something just because someone else did it or because it was the “thing” to do.  I really have to believe and be behind something before I take action, and I think I show that in the way I present ideas to my classes.

I need you to understand, however, that just because I do something with confidence doesn’t always mean that I am correct.  It also doesn’t mean that underneath it all I am not scared to death.  The human being in me keeps all of that in check.  The ability to take ownership of my mistakes is also doing something with passion and confidence.

My students will see right through me if I am not doing something with my whole heart and with an attitude of humanity.  They also need to know that when they are performing, passion and confidence are the things that will enrich their lives and those for whom they sing.

I am no expert on this subject, and I quite possibly could be wrong on all of this.  However, even if I am wrong, what could be so bad when we humans work to respond to humans and act with passion and confidence.  I really think it is a great place to start.

More Later


2 thoughts on “A Great Place to Start

  1. Oh that picture…Abby and Jo Jo…it melts my heart. On the subject of being human, I wish more people got it! It is so important and is sorely lacking in the world today. Year after year, I loved to watch the middle school kid’s faces as they learned this concept from you and then incorporated it into their lives.

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