Thursday, 27 October 2016

Learnings from the Workshop

From the heart of the hearth..

Prompted by a friend who saw a photograph in my Blacksmith workshop, I decided to open up a cherished personal space to my teaching and leadership colleagues...



So, when asked to film the video as Keynote to the Academy Transformation Trust Training Day #STAFFDay on Monday October 31st - I did so. It was to be for Transformational Leaders and it just seemed right to make the links between what I have learnt in education, in classrooms and staff-rooms and also in my Workshop - where I retreat to reflect and review my professional life.  We've just finalised filming a piece with a subtitle:

From Workshop to...



To see to video click: https://vimeo.com/189529123

Tools and methodologies

I'm not giving away the content here but I was struck by how the links are stronger that I had, at first, thought....

The first link is between the tools and methods we use.  I have old tools handed down for hundreds of years in my workshop and brand new ones too.  In education we also have old faithful tools and methodologies and always a range of new, shiny items to tempt us.  Some blacksmiths, teachers and leaders hold on to the old and resist change.  Others grab anything new just because it's new.  Whereas, the best in both professions evaluate and select the most appropriate and effective, for each job, proving them as they go. If a bad workman blames his tools, he should get rid of those that don't do task in hand.  If I had to choose my favourite tool from the workshop it would be my Ultimate Brace (Brass and Ebony Circa 1850) As a leader my favourite tool is, "teacher talks first" (listen before acting).  I love both tools and use them whenever I can but I sometimes choose other approaches... just because a tool works in one situation it doesn't mean we HAVE to keep using the damned thing!  Who was it who said, "If your only tool is a hammer, you tend to hit things"?


Creating originals

One thing that distinguishes the work of most Blacksmiths is that each piece is original, hammered out lovingly (yes you can hammer lovingly) on the anvil. Welded, filed, honed and polished into a unique form.  This is not mass-production and, whilst some make moulds to copy originals, it takes only few seconds to see and feel the copy is not the real thing.   It's so tough to keep to this belief in making originals - and it's a lousy business model... the original costs so much more than the mass produced copies. And so it is with our education system.  I often muse that we too often seem to prize the mass production of similar students, to a predetermined pattern, rather than take time to draw out, or allow the original to form.  The artist-teacher, she who prizes the individuality of her pupils, hurts deepest when the system appears to rewards the mass producer who turns out high numbers of the predetermined model.


And what about the customers, the parents?  Are they losing the ability, and the will to detect the real thing? Don't the politicians go for the cheap, bog standard for the masses production?  Ironically, there is a real danger that the system itself mitigates against the creative and original in favour of s/he who can mass produce the desired outcomes - time and reliably, time again...  I despair for the dreamer and creative mind, who wants to tarry, or diverge and think as he is carried forward in fast moving linear progression...

Metaphors we still live by

I love the metaphors we still use in our daily lives that come from the Blacksmith's Forge.  the fact that we temper metal for different purposes in the forge. To spring, or to bend, to be hard or to be soft.  Outside the workshop we talk about losing our tempers, our sense of control. Like the once strong springing beam we will bend loose in the heat of it all.  I still hear the phrase, "Too many irons in the fire" meaning she is trying to do too much.  This is worth extending for, as a blacksmith, I know that putting too many irons into the fire causes them to overheat and melt before I can use them...  How many teachers and heads are currently losing their tempers and melting because they simply have too much to do.  "If I could speak quicker, write faster, stay up longer..."  The remedy is quick, obvious and easy to right in the forge - only a failing fool keeps using the wrong tempered steel and continues shoving irons in the fire.  But I still see hero and heroine innovators doing too much and getting over-heated and stressed, as I did once.  Their decline and loss of impact takes longer to show up but it is doing deep damage and is sometimes, later, too much to repair - see Superhead poem


A positive end

Now this BLOG must not end in despair - (My #ATTStaffDay Keynote is about HOW we attain success by the way!)  And I intend this first draft (on 27/10/16) to be edited and sharpened up, polished even. I will search for more metaphors to weld in and I'll work through the thinking this has allowed me.  I'll also look to the responses on Monday and see what they offer...



So, I'll end by hammering a point home... If you haven't yet found your Workshop equivalent - find it soon.. your professional work will be poorer without it.  One thing is sure - my Workshop has kept me sane for all my 46 years in education. It has always been my retreat, my place of solace. I always come away from it enriched, sweaty and very dirty - with a real sense of perspective. I get a similar recharging from climbing mountains (By the way I'd be open to a commission for a Keynote Video filmed at the top of a Snow Clad Mountain!)   So I must end, as I always try to do, with a question for you...  Where is your personal space?  Where do you go and what do you do to reflect, relax and gain a sense of proportion and perspective...  Answers on a postcard please to

The Workshop - Mathom House.... Alfreton Derbyshire....or, go on, use a modern tool  (it's easier and more appropriate) email: john@johnpearce.org.uk

For more....

For the full Keynote video, the inspiration for this BLOG go to https://vimeo.com/189529123 

Or go to:  www.johnpearce.org.uk and click on the icon below


Here are some taster videos I filmed about Learnings from the Workshop:

1  Old tools versus new tools      -  https://vimeo.com/189439357                   
2  Creating something unique     -  https://vimeo.com/189439392                   
3  Sliding a bead                       -  https://vimeo.com/189439419                   
4  Keeping your temper             -  https://vimeo.com/189439456                   
5  Going with the grain             -  https://vimeo.com/189439485   



Learnings from the Workshop

From the heart of the hearth..

Prompted by a friend who saw a photograph in my Blacksmith workshop, I decided to open up a cherished personal space to my teaching and leadership colleagues...



So, when asked to film the video as Keynote to the Academy Transformation Trust Training Day #STAFFDay on Monday October 31st - I did so. It was to be for Transformational Leaders and it just seemed right to make the links between what I have learnt in education, in classrooms and staff-rooms and also in my Workshop - where I retreat to reflect and review my professional life.  We've just finalised filming a piece with a subtitle:

From Workshop to...



Tools and methodologies

I'm not giving away the content, that's embargoed until Monday, but I was struck by how the links are stronger that I had, at first, thought....

The first link is between the tools and methods we use.  I have old tools handed down for hundreds of years in my workshop and brand new ones too.  In education we also have old faithful tools and methodologies and always a range of new, shiny items to tempt us.  Some blacksmiths, teachers and leaders hold on to the old and resist change.  Others grab anything new just because it's new.  Whereas, the best in both professions evaluate and select the most appropriate and effective, for each job, proving them as they go. If a bad workman blames his tools, he should get rid of those that don't do task in hand.  If I had to choose my favourite tool from the workshop it would be my Ultimate Brace (Brass and Ebony Circa 1850) As a leader my favourite tool is, "teacher talks first" (listen before acting).  I love both tools and use them whenever I can but I sometimes choose other approaches... just because a tool works in one situation it doesn't mean we HAVE to keep using the damned thing!  Who was it who said, "If your only tool is a hammer, you tend to hit things"?


Creating originals

One thing that distinguishes the work of most Blacksmiths is that each piece is original, hammered out lovingly (yes you can hammer lovingly) on the anvil. Welded, filed, honed and polished into a unique form.  This is not mass-production and, whilst some make moulds to copy originals, it takes only few seconds to see and feel the copy is not the real thing.   It's so tough to keep to this belief in making originals - and it's a lousy business model... the original costs so much more than the mass produced copies. And so it is with our education system.  I often muse that we too often seem to prize the mass production of similar students, to a predetermined pattern, rather than take time to draw out, or allow the original to form.  The artist-teacher, she who prizes the individuality of her pupils, hurts deepest when the system appears to rewards the mass producer who turns out high numbers of the predetermined model.


And what about the customers, the parents?  Are they losing the ability, and the will to detect the real thing? Don't the politicians go for the cheap, bog standard for the masses production?  Ironically, there is a real danger that the system itself mitigates against the creative and original in favour of s/he who can mass produce the desired outcomes - time and reliably, time again...  I despair for the dreamer and creative mind, who wants to tarry, or diverge and think as he is carried forward in fast moving linear progression...

Metaphors we still live by

I love the metaphors we still use in our daily lives that come from the Blacksmith's Forge.  the fact that we temper metal for different purposes in the forge. To spring, or to bend, to be hard or to be soft.  Outside the workshop we talk about losing our tempers, our sense of control. Like the once strong springing beam we will bend loose in the heat of it all.  I still hear the phrase, "Too many irons in the fire" meaning she is trying to do too much.  This is worth extending for, as a blacksmith, I know that putting too many irons into the fire causes them to overheat and melt before I can use them...  How many teachers and heads are currently losing their tempers and melting because they simply have too much to do.  "If I could speak quicker, write faster, stay up longer..."  The remedy is quick, obvious and easy to right in the forge - only a failing fool keeps using the wrong tempered steel and continues shoving irons in the fire.  But I still see hero and heroine innovators doing too much and getting over-heated and stressed, as I did once.  Their decline and loss of impact takes longer to show up but it is doing deep damage and is sometimes, later, too much to repair - see Superhead poem


A positive end

Now this BLOG must not end in despair - (My #ATTStaffDay Keynote is about HOW we attain success by the way!)  And I intend this first draft (on 27/10/16) to be edited and sharpened up, polished even. I will search for more metaphors to weld in and I'll work through the thinking this has allowed me.  I'll also look to the responses on Monday and see what they offer...



So, I'll end by hammering a point home... If you haven't yet found your Workshop equivalent - find it soon.. your professional work will be poorer without it.  One thing is sure - my Workshop has kept me sane for all my 46 years in education. It has always been my retreat, my place of solace. I always come away from it enriched, sweaty and very dirty - with a real sense of perspective. I get a similar recharging from climbing mountains (By the way I'd be open to a commission for a Keynote Video filmed at the top of a Snow Clad Mountain!)   So I must end, as I always try to do, with a question for you...  Where is your personal space?  Where do you go and what do you do to reflect, relax and gain a sense of proportion and perspective...  Answers on a postcard please to

The Workshop - Mathom House.... Alfreton Derbyshire....or, go on, use a modern tool  (it's easier and more appropriate) email: john@johnpearce.org.uk

For more....

If you want to see the full video  (Embargoed until 31st October) the inspiration for this BLOG go to  www.johnpearce.org.uk and click on the icon - top right.. but you'll have to wait until lunchtime Monday...




Monday, 8 August 2016

"Two legs good - Trump bad"



The flood of prejudiced bile* triggered by Donald Trump' and some of his supporters, plus some in the UK referendum debate and ISIS's media statements all test my belief in humanity's inherent goodness.  It will lead to despair unless.... all, who want better than this, speak up and act..

What I believe

Most of us, when young, naive and protected, are naturally wary, even afraid, of the different, the unknown and strange. So, how our family, friends and communities allow us to learn about difference defines us as individuals, groups and nations.
If we are taught to open our hearts and eyes and engage with strangers we will rarely, if ever, be disappointed, wherever we travel. We will come to know the huge majority of all people are decent, caring and, on balance, good. 
Morocco

As we mature we begin to recognise a small minority who raise fears, well in excess of their numbers. These are the terrorists, bigots, racists, murderers, abusers and oppressors who transfix our media by creating hurt, and carnage. My experience, and belief, is that this minority is found across all races and creeds.
But there are also malicious leaders who deliberately incite fears about this minority. Their trick is to claim a lie as truth. They repeat that the dangerous minority is, in fact, a threatening and increasing majority. They go on to confuse descriptors, so: foreigners, immigrants, asylum seekers, economic migrants, terrorists and whole races appear as synonyms. They inflate real fear by imagined association.  I fear the dangerous minority but despair of those leaders who inflate my fear for their political gain.
If you share my belief in the common good of humanity it is useless unless we are prepared to do something about it. All with good hearts must rise up and say enough... remaining silent and cowed is not an option. We must react when we hear of simplistic arguments about "types of people - all being the same" by creating a more thoughtful debate by arguing discussion is richer when based on more evidence and less opinion. We must challenge and question anti-social acts carried out by a subset of an identifiable group. But we must never believe, for one sad second, that all evil has its origin in a particular race, colour, creed or type because that signals regression into the childish fear of the different.
Let's judge individuals, their actions and their arguments without prejudice and search for truth and fairness wherever it appears. Maybe we have to accept there will always be huge events of horror and carnage, plus individual acts of bullying, oppression and abuse caused by that minority.  Certainly, we must challenge and vote out weak leaders who label a race, creed or type because, "one who who seemed to be of their kind" committed an evil act. Only then, will we reduce the backlash of their ignorant followers who respond, mob-like, by injuring the innocent. 
How we fair in this regard will determine the future of humanity..
* If you doubt what I am saying about "bile spewing out" spend a few minutes reading the contributions of those who use UK social media to state, triumphantly that #Brexit will stop problems, "Caused by immigration" and allow us to "take back control". Or, listen to Trump and his supporters who believe that building a wall on the Mexican border and stopping Muslims coming to the USA will "Make America Great Again". The claims by ISIS that, "Our god is great - those who disagree are infidels" is just another example. 
I wrote the first draft of this BLOG in a Spanish bar where I did not speak the language, nor they mine. I was made welcome and sensed a genuine camaraderie. I was thinking then as I had done in many places before, this how it should be in our world. Of course I was thinking of Orlando, The EU debate, Jo Cox's assassination in July and, in this redraft: Nice, Baghdad, Rouen and especially perhaps Trump's rise in the US. ..
john@johnpearce.org.uk






Oh, Scotland!

Oh, Scotland!    -   After the Referendum 1


Oh, to be in Scotland now that ‪#‎Brexit‬'s here
To drink a dram o'whisky and leave my warming beer.
Oh, to walk the wild hills with freedom in my mind.
To be tolerant and proud and leave prejudice behind.
Oh, to feel the clean air and yes, the gentle rain
Living in a country that wanted to #Remain.
Remain in touch with others
Who stand in line and fear
With the sisters and mothers
With the fathers and brothers
Clutching children near.
Oh, I'll douse my tears in waterfalls
To hide my deepest shame
That Britain is now shrinking small
And will not be Great again.

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Students' History of our World...

I was going to write a serious BLOG today - Then lost the will to be sensible....

An important point before giggles.  This morning I received an email from Lisa, a good friend in the US, containing some familiar exam howlers.  Prompted, I looked up a compilation of these I put together a few years ago.  The first of these appeared in the Daily Mail in 1917 as examples  of, "How the young generation are illiterate and much needing of a good education".... Hmm... 

And, lest, we educated adults, forget, we all experience mis-learning.  Come on be honest! Just one example of a personal howler... It is 1970, I am an NQT, an English specialist, in the staffroom.  We are discussing "Lord of the Rings" I reduced the room to hilarity when I said, "Well, some of the credit must go to Tolkein's translator....".  

What personal howler makes you blush?


Students' History of the World
Compiled from examination and essay howlers I found plus a few I met as teacher...

The inhabitants of Egypt were called mummies and they wrote in hydraulics. They lived in the Sarah Dessert and travelled by Camelot. The climate of the Sarah is such that the inhabitants have to live elsewhere, so certain areas of the dessert are cultivated by irritation. The Egyptians built the Pyramids in the shape of a huge triangular cube. The Pyramids are a range of mountains between France and Spain




The Bible is full of interesting caricatures. In the first book of the Bible, is called Guinness, Adam and Eve were created from an apple tree. One of their children, Cain, asked "Am I my brother's son?" God asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac on Mount Montezuma. Jacob, son of Isaac, stole his brother's birthmark.  Jacob was a patriarch who brought up his twelve sons to be patriarchs, but they did not take to it. One of Jacob's sons, Joseph, gave refuse to the Israelites.The natives of Macedonia did not believe in Paul, so he got stoned.

Pharaoh forced the Hebrew slaves to make unleavened bread, which is bread without any ingredients. Afterwards, Moses went up on Mount Cyanide to get the ten commandos. David was a Hebrew king skilled at playing the liar. He fought with the Philatelists, a race of people who lived in Biblical times. Solomon, one of David's sons, had 500 wives and 500 porcupines.



The Greeks were a highly sculptured people, and without them we wouldn't have history. They invented three kinds of columns - Corinthian, Doric and Ironic. They also had myths. A myth is a female moth. An example of Greek myth is Jason And The Golden Fleas.  Another myth says that the mother of Achilles dipped him in the River Stynx until he became intolerable.  Achilles appears in "The Illiad", by Homer.  Homer also wrote the "Oddity", in which Penelope was the last hardship that Ulysses endured on his journey. Actually, Homer was not written by Homer but by another man of the same name. Socrates was a famous Greek teacher who went around giving people advice. They killed him.  They did this by forcing him to have an overdose of wedlock.  After his death, his career suffered a dramatic decline. In the Olympic Games, Greeks ran races, jumped, hurled the discourtoous , and threw the java. The reward to the victor was a coral wreath. The government of Athens was democratic because the people took the law into their own hands. When they fought the Parisians, the Greeks were outnumbered because the Parisians had more men.

Eventually, the Ramones conquered the Geeks. History call people Romans because they never stayed in one place for very long. At Roman banquets, the guests wore garlic in their hair. On one occasion it was terrible when Pompey was destroyed by an overflow of saliva from the Vatican. Julius Caesar extinguished himself on battlefields of Gaul. The Ides of March killed him because they thought he was going to be made king. Dying, he gasped out: "Tee hee, Brutus".  Nero was a cruel tyranny who would torture his poor subjects by fiddling with them.



Then came the Middle Ages. King Alfred conquered the Dames, King Arthur lived in the Age of Shivery.  King Herod mustarded his troops before the Battle of Hastings,  Joan of Arc was burnt to a steak and was cannonized by George Bernard Shaw, and the victims of the Black Death grew boobs on their necks. Finally, the Magna Carta provided that no free man should be hanged twice for the same offence.

In mid-evil times most of the people were alliterate because the had the same names as their jobs. The greatest writer of the time was Chaucer, who wrote many poems and verse and also wrote literature. Another tale tells of William Tell, who shot an arrow through an apple while standing on his son's head. In the Middle Ages people lived in mud huts and had rough mating on the floor.

The Renaissance was an age in which more individuals felt the value of their human being. It was an age of great invertion and discovery. Martin Luther nailed faeces to the church door at Wittenberg for selling papal indulgences. He died a horrible death being excommunicated by a bull.  It was the painter Donatello's interest in the female nude that made him the father of the Renaissance. It was an age of great inventions and discovery. Gutenberg invented removable type and the Bible. Sir Walter Raleigh is a historical figure because he invented cigarettes and started smoking.  He was well known for playing with his bowels when the Spanish Armadillo came.  Another important invention was the circulation of blood - it goes down one leg and up another moving through veins and arteries and eventually ends up in little caterpillars at the ends of your fingers.



The government of England was a limited mockery. Henry VIII found walking difficult because he had an abbess on his knee.  Queen Elizabeth was a virgin but as a queen she was a success. When Elizabeth exposed herself before her troops, they all shouted, "Hurrah". The greatest writer of the Renaissance was William Shakespeare. He was born in the year 1564, supposedly on his birthday. Shakespeare never made much money and is famous only because of his plays. He lived in Windsor with his merry wives, writing tragedies, comedies and errors, all in Islamic pentameter.  In one of Shakespeare's famous plays, Hamlet rations out his situation by relieving himself in the middle of the stage, it is called a long soliloquy. In another paly, Lady Macbeth tries to convince Macbeth to kill the King by attacking his manhood. Romeo and Juliet are an example of a heroic couplet.  Romeo's last wish was to be laid by Juliet.





Writing at the same time as Shakespeare was Miguel Cervantes. He wrote "Donkey Hote". The next great author was John Milton. Milton wrote "Paradise Lost." Then his wife died and he wrote "Paradise Regained." During the Renaissance America began. Christopher Columbus was a great navigator who discovered America while cursing about the Atlantic. His ships were called the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Fe. In the middle of the 18th-century, all the morons in America moved to Utah.

Meanwhile in Europe, the enlightenment was a reasonable time. Voltare invented electricity and also wrote a book called "Candy". Gravity was invented by Isaac Walton.  It is chiefly noticeable in the Autumn when the apples are falling off the trees.  Bach was the most famous composer in the world, and so was Handel.  Handel was half German, half Italian and half English. He was very large. Johann Bach wrote a great many musical compositions and had a large number of children.  In between he practised on an old spinster which he kept up in his attic.  Bach died from 1750 to the present.  Beethoven wrote music even though he was deaf.  He was so deaf he wrote loud music. He took long walks in the forest even when everyone was calling for him.  Beethoven expired in 1827 and later died for this.

France was in a very serious state. The French Revolution was accomplished before it happened. The Marseillaise was the theme song of the French Revolution, and it catapulted into Napoleon. During the Napoleonic Wars, the crowned heads of Europe were trembling in their shoes. Then the Spanish gorillas came down from the hills and nipped at Napoleon's flanks. Napoleon became ill with bladder problems and was very tense and unrestrained. He wanted an heir to inherit his power, but since Josephine was a baroness, she couldn't bear him any children. Madame Pompadour gained in power while being placed under the king.  The Mona Lisa was the most beautiful woman ever to be laid on canvas.  At this time Merchants appeared and roamed from town to town exposing themselves and having big erections in the countryside called Country Fairs





The sun never set on the British Empire because the British Empire is in the East and the sun sets in the West.  Queen Victoria was the longest queen. She sat on a thorn for 63 years. She was a moral woman who practised virtue. Her reclining years and finally the end of her life were exemplary of a great personality. Her death was the final event which ended her reign.



The nineteenth century was a time of many great inventions and thoughts. People stopped reproducing by hand and started reproducing by machine. Samuel Morse invented a code for telepathy. Louis Pastuer discovered a cure for rabbits.  Charles Darwin was a naturalist who wrote the "Organ of the Species".  Madman Curie discovered radiators. Eddy Stone invented electricity by rubbing cats backwards and forwards on plastic.  Yogi Bear invented the television and Karl Marx became one of the Marx Brothers.  The First World War, was caused by the assignation of the Arch-Duck by a surf.  This ushered in a new error in the anus of human history.



And now we have the present today but it will soon be history.  But in this age of equality where so many women are fermenting it should be called herstory because, you must remember it is not all about men.

2004

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Happy New Year - The Resolution Matrix

The Resolution Matrix

How to make great New Year Resolutions.

Millions of us around the world, will be partying and thinking about the year ahead as midnight approaches.   New Year is an opportunity to rethink as well as celebrate and no doubt we’ll be translating dreams into a few resolutions.

Image result for new year party

Every year I ask: will I keep them? Do I really want things to get better?  

This year I want to boldly go where I have failed before, by making resolutions that lead to a better life.  I've been saddened about what happens in our world (see my last post)   So, I’ve been thinking hard about what the best, most useful, resolutions for 2016 might look like.   I have, today, designed my Resolution Matrix and I’m sharing it (drum roll) Might it work for you too?

My hypotheses behind the Resolution Matrix are:  The least good and a deluge of harm will follow from those who only make resolutions for self-fulfilment, personal benefit.  Localised good may well be realised by those who only go for the best for their chosen few (family, friends, community, race, religion or nation etc).  Some good will be gained by those who seek to improve the lot of mankind in general.  But a better world will only ever be achieved if enough of us resolve to make a positive difference to the earth, our planet.  

I have a chant that simplifies this four level progression from pure selfishness through altruism and wisdom, 

“For me – for us - for everyone – for everything!” 
(for the origin of this see "The Tower")

Of course we all need to look after ourselves but if we stop at egotism it can render us selfish and blind us to the needs of others.  So too can a resolute focus on our chosen few – family, nation, religion and belief set.  We all want the best for our own and yet this too will become self-defeating if unknown or unfamiliar others lose out or are harmed.  If enough resolve to better the lot of mankind in general, there is some hope.  But unless a critical mass made up of you/me/humanity, take meaningful actions to protect, improve and sustain the planet there will be nothing for mankind, our chosen few, or each of us as individuals. It really is that simple. Isn’t it?

Using the Matrix.

You can either use the matrix to plot your resolutions using the boxes, or make your resolutions and check them out against the matrix.



Conclusions

If your resolutions only fit the red and amber boxes they will, by definition, only benefit yourself, or your chosen few.  Whilst there are times when all of us have little choice but to look after ourselves and those we feel closest to, two things follow.  First, it is easier if others help us when we are vulnerable, suffering, or ill, and second, we should resolve to help other when we are in a position to do so.  But communities, nations and humanity are heading for trouble if those who can help others do nothing.  Bluntly, if the majority of resolutions at New Year are in the lower boxes there will be more selfish and ethnocentric acts in the year ahead.  

If, however, a majority of our resolutions match the green and greener boxes, i.e. they include not only hopes, aspirations but actions and plans for everyone and everything, there is a real chance that humanity at large will act in sustainable ways, not just for ourselves and our own, but also for everyone else and everything.

Of course we must survive and thrive as independent individuals and communities but the higher order resolutions have to be about caring for others, the flora, fauna, environment and infrastructure of our planet. It's about recognising our interdependence – I like to think of this as wisdom – acting for the common good.

So there you are: a simple hypothesis a Resolution Matrix and, most importantly, a hope that more of us are able to lift our eyes beyond ourselves and our own.

A Happy New Year and all together now,

“For me, for us, for everyone and yes, for everything!”



PS
I'm still collecting those sayings, principles and "common goods" I asked for in my last post... best sent to john@johnpearce.org.uk 


Sunday, 27 December 2015

A Christmas and New Year request...

Stick with it, there's a question for you - I need your help...

I've become increasingly wearied and saddened at the news media. Especially hearing about more zealots, both religious and non-religious, who claim to "have the only answer" and who go on to patronise, assail, criticise, attack and even try to kill those with different beliefs.... To combat my sense of hopelessness about all this first I'm saying Happy Christmas and a Happy New Year to everyone with a good, open (non bigoted) heart.



Secondly, I'm making a resolution earlier than usual and wondering if anyone will help me fulfil it?

I'll tell you my personal belief at the end of this post but it's actually unimportant because I don't believe, for one minute, that any one religion, or no religious belief, or political movement captures the whole truth. I'm beginning to realise that it's the proselytising of any one code, belief, religion or political doctrine as "the only way" that is one of the greatest global problems...
I have a deep sense that when we clutch our one truth closest we are blinding ourselves to greater truths...


So what?

So, I'll be thinking over Christmas of all the men and women, of religion, and of no religion, who gave and give their lives to making a positive difference.  More importantly, I'll be wondering about all the good folk, who don't celebrate Christmas. I'll ask myself who they remember as role models, idols and people to look up to and how and when they do it?  I'll be wondering my what their ethics and moral purposes are.

This leads to my resolution.

In 2016 I'll be looking at the SHAP calendar to remind myself and find out about the great principles and beliefs that unify all human belief systems, religions and and political movements.
I know that's a huge task. To make it simpler I want to discover what unifies us (not what makes us different). What do most thinking people believe is, "good" and "makes the world a better place"? In other words I want to discover our "common goods".


My question for you...

I'm starting my quest by asking you, "What would your top belief, principle or ethic be? What quotation, mantra or maxim sums up your meaning of life?" I'll be making a list and see where that leads...

Finally, what I believe. 

Well, I've been Christian, atheist, agnostic, flirted with Hunduism and Buddhism and other religions and am back to calling myself Christian again. We went to Church this Christmas, it was wonderful, but I won't ever claim that mine is the only worthwhile belief and that, somehow, others have got it wrong.

I just have a faith, that there is a wealth of great goodness out there and I'm resolving to find and celebrate the best of it. I'm just asking - What do most good folks agree?  What are our common goods?


P.S. 

I really ought to wish everyone well, not just good, open hearted (non bigoted) people. That's tough but here goes,

 "Happy Christmas and a Happy New Year!"

The SHAP Calendar





The Shap e-Calendar of Religious Festivals is an invaluable resource for the teaching profession, students, businesses, chaplaincies, those in health care and public services, to name but a few. It is recognised as the most accurate and…
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