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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Dear Hannah: LEarning (Thoughts on History)

Dear Hannah,

my education began when I finished school.

reflection led to a lot of unlearning and relearning.

i realized that i was presented

facts disguised as knowledge,
opinions disguised as fact,
and a whole lot of memorized processes
disguised as problem solving.

it's all good, though - 'cause now I know
... that i don't know.

so i value divergent thinking ...
(seeing many answers to the same question)

... creativity ...
(capacity for original thought)

... reading

... writing

... counting

... and thinking

... as the keys to converting facts
into information
into knowledge
into wisdom
- and solutions to the problems of our existing state.

i have also learned to value biographies.

the stories from someone's life - and their wisdom
earned through lessons learned - inspire and ground me.

how can i stay focused on my setbacks
after i have learned about so many comebacks?

how can i sweat myself
after i see how my path was
paved by their blood, sweat,
tears, courage, ideas, and

how can i stay stuck in convention
when i know the trailblazers who
innovated all of our norms?

check it ...

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"LEarning (Thoughts on History)"
By Derrick Brown

the first Ph.D. was awarded at Harvard back in 1889 ...
... this means that the cats who awarded that ph.d.
simply walked with the self-appointed mantle of authority
and knowledge without having been granted the title.

this kind of authority is established by

a healthy dose of humility
- the kind that only comes through
trials, tribulations, and victory.

it is further established by

creativity, divergent thinking, innovation,
work ethic, patience, grace, forgiveness,
preparation, failure, persistence,
equality, opportunity, and circumstance.

remember ...

dr. benjamin e. mays was MLK's mentor.
i bet they learned a lot from each other!
selah ...

hearing their story told me to stop sweating
myself about all my "mentees".

new m.o. - help them grow, then let them go
- and along the way, let them help you grow.

prepare them and then accept them as your colleagues
if you mentor right, they will probably exceed you.

... doug williams had a six-hour root canal the night
before the 1987 super bowl ...

then watched his washington redskins fall behind
john elway's denver broncos 10-0 before
scoring 35 points in the second quarter
and winning 42-10.

he was the first black quarterback to lead his
team to a super bowl victory ...

... and he lost his starting job the next year.

life is a series of peaks and valleys.

the struggle is real.

teacher jane elliott conducted an experiment on
april 5, 1968 with her 3rd-grade class in riceville, iowa.

she called it the "brown eyes - blue eyes" experiment.

the purpose of the exercise was to let her students
feel what it was like to be treated as a person of
color in the united states.

if you are familiar with dates - she conducted this
experiment the day after MLK was assasinated.

that took empathy, foresight, insight, preparation
- and a lot of guts.

if you are keeping score (and some of you are)

i have told stories about two black men,

one white woman,

two educators,

one "baller" ...

they each have story arcs

that intersect around important ideas of

teaching, learning, mentoring, mediation,
and equality.

they are all connected to the important work
of rev. dr. martin luther king, jr.

they are all valuable parts of my history.

'cause we ain't got much, y'all ...

... but we got exactly what we need ...

we have principles, ideas, creativity, and work ethic.

we are living in some strange times, folks.

but we have come too far to turn back now,

and we have to pay attention to yesterday's lessons

that we oversimplify, take for granted ... or think of as

"old" and "lame".

my role in these times is to challenge a nation ...

a nation of talkers, squawkers, stalkers, and sleepwalkers

to quiet themselves

to remember,

to think,

and to grow.

i love you, and thanks for reading (listening).



Copyright © 2017 Derrick  Brown. All Rights Reserved.

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