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One nightmare at a time please

Growing up and learning from our elders is a hard thing to do. I was not unlike other teenagers. I had a hard time listening to others teaching me how to do things the smart way and not the hard way. My mother was and is still a great inspiration and influence in my life but when I was a teen, she couldn’t teach me anything because I wouldn’t listen. Later in life, the lessons she tried to teach me finally took hold and I was able to use the wisdom she tried to pound into my head earlier in life.

Teenage boy
Teenagers are hard to teach

One of the great teachings that this wise woman was always trying to get into my head was how to use common sense when doing anything. “Don’t look at the whole project at once, take it one step at a time”, she would say. The best example I can come up with for this was cleaning my room and mowing the lawn. My room was like any other teenager’s room. It was usually a big mess. When she would tell me to clean it up, my first thought was “There goes my weekend!” My mom would remind me of how she always taught me to clean my room, even when I was much younger. I would hear her voice in the back of my head, “Don’t look at the whole thing, just start with one corner and clean that first.”

This process always worked even though I would never give her credit for it. I wouldn’t look at the whole room, instead I would put my focus solely on one corner. After that corner was clean, I would simply start on the next corner. It was amazing how well this worked out for me and within an hour, my room would be spotless. If I were to focus on the whole room, it would take much longer because of being overwhelmed by all the things that needed to be put back in place.  I would be running around like a chicken with it’s head cut off.

This simple rule continued to help me in many things throughout my life. One saying says get the whole picture but using pieces instead, works better for me. Looking at the whole picture not only overwhelms me but creates a confusion that is hard to explain.

One of the places in Missouri that I grew up in was what I considered my childhood home. We lived in many different houses but this was the one that held and still holds my heart. It was in the countryside with a dirt road leading to it. The house my dad and mom had built was in a field that was once an alfalfa pasture sitting between to hillsides. They had decided to have the house built far off the dirt road, which gave us a huge front yard. We had ten acres and the front yard consisted of two of those acres. Guess who had to mow those two acres and the half acre in the back of the house which met up with the rest of the land used as a pasture for our animals? If you guessed me, you hit the nail on the head.

We did have a old riding lawn mower to mow this but it was still a hard job to accomplish. Starting early in the morning, it would take until nightfall to mow this hunk of land if I didn’t take too many breaks that is. This land was so fertil that this project would have to be done every other week except for winter when the snow would give me a break. Of course shoveling the driveway wasn’t fun either. The only way I could accomplish this great mowing job was to use my mom’s idea and take it one section at a time. If I were to look at the whole job all at once, I would’ve probably lost my mind. However, looking at one section at a time made the job alot easier. During the mowing, I could also look at what I had already done and see that I was making progress. The few times I tried to mow the whole thing in one shot seemed like I wasn’t getting anywhere fast. Even though the same amount of grass was being chopped, the difference in how I seen it was amazing.

I continued through life using this simple method and it has helped me get though many things in my life. No matter how big of a project I came upon, I could break it down and make it a simple thing to do. Even when crazy things happened, like a main water line breaking, I didn’t go crazy over the nightmare I was facing. I just broke it down to steps that needed to be taken and then took it one step at a time.

There is a saying that many of you may have heard before. It’s called  the ‘K.I.S.S’ method. This is short for “Keep it simple stupid”. Using the break down method my mom taught me or as I like to call it “One nightmare at a time”,  seems to work well with the Kiss method. Any way you look at it, these two work hand in hand. They are both very good lessons to learn and will help you get through tough times as they have with me.

I remember going to boot camp with the Navy and keeping these terms in my mind. They helped me tremendously when it came to doing all that was required from me to make it without going crazy when so much was expected and it had to be exactly right to keep the Company Commander off my back. Even though I had a very smart mouth that caused me to do more push-ups then anybody else, when it came to my bunk and locker, mine was always perfect during inspections.

USS Charleston LKA 113
The ship I was stationed on

Once I graduated from boot camp and was stationed on my ship “USS Charleston LKA 113” I continued to use the lesson I had learned about looking at one piece of a job or problem at a time. Being that I was a Damage Control man on the ship and being trained in many different types of rescue, fire fighting, flood control and other such things, this simple lesson served me well. Even the times that we had actual damage happening, not just training for it, this lesson loomed large in the back of my mind just waiting for its grand appearance once again. It is true that training for such things to happen does help a great deal when the time comes. I just never knew how the training for such disasters actually was started back in my youth long before the dream of being a sailor had even crossed my mind. For those I served with, thank you for your service and thank you for all your help during  the “Fork truck rodeo”. To others that were not there during this event, you missed one heck of a ride! I have said before that I would write about that event but the words are not there as of yet. Just to give you a taste of what that event was, it consisted of fire, flooding and loose fork trucks on board our ship during a hurricane all at the same time.

Once leaving the service, I became a over the road truck driver and seen things that screen writers for the movies would have a hard time coming up with. If they did write some of these things down, big movie stars would swear the public would never believe it unless it was written into a science fiction movie that is. To watch fifteen to twenty cars spinning out of control outside of Dallas Texas because someone lost a ladder out of the back of their pickup was absolutely crazy and terrifying, yet I drove through the middle of all them and watched the ladder stand on end next to me until I got passed it, then it went to bouncing around again. The only damage my rig received was a fine line towards the top part of my trailer from where the ladder barely touched it. The damage was almost like someone had taken a #2 pencil and drawn a perfect  line down the side. It was so light that it would wipe off with a damp rag. Later that evening I seen a newscast of the big pileup of cars and big trucks alike this single ladder had caused. Once again, my training came back and I dodged one car at a time. Of course God was helping me steer at the time.

240 ton haul truck
240 ton haul truck

A few jobs in between and then my mining job began. Numerous times I thought for sure I would have a major accident driving a large haul truck out of control down a mud slide of a ramp. Time and time again my Mom’s voice would remind me in the back of my mind, “Remember son, one step at a time.” Time moves on but wisdom always wins out. No matter the situation you find yourself in, deal with the now and worry about later when it gets here. Don’t try to start a jigsaw puzzle with the last piece, work your way through the process and the final piece will fit in. Seeing the whole picture doesn’t count if you can’t see it one piece at a time. Thank you mom for sharing your wisdom with me and even when you thought I wasn’t listening, your words were building a picture in my mind. You have saved me from many failures by sharing your wisdom with me.

Pieces of jigsaw puzzle
Remember: one piece at a time

I hope reading this has meant as much to you as writing it has meant to me. God bless and as always; Remember, we are all in this together.

I want to dedicate this post to my Mom. I can’t thank you enough Mom for teaching me and sharing your wisdom with me. I know God will have a mansion waiting for you when you go to your Heavenly home.

Picture of my Mom
My Mom
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Teaching without knowledge?

There is a saying, “Those that can’t do it, teach it”. The shorter version that I have always heard is “Those that can’t, teach”. Either way it is said is just plain dumb in my view. How can you truly teach someone something without being able to do it yourself?

Now I’m going to pick on teachers in the public school system a little bit here. I have had four children that I have watched go through the public school, two of which are still attending. I have found multiple times where teachers are teaching subjects that they themselves don’t understand. I will not tell which years or the names of said teachers. I am not here to condemn anyone. I am simply going to address things that I have witnessed through the years. If you are reading this and are one of these teachers guilty of this practice, I hope you will adjust you teaching methods accordingly.

Teacher pointing with stick at blackboard, holding book and looking at students
Teacher’s book is for your reference. The book is not the teacher

First subject I would like to address is math. When a teacher is teaching math and they have to look in the back of the teacher’s manual to be able to give the students the correct answer, you as a teacher need to study before teaching students. I am completely flabbergasted that there are teachers teaching math when they themselves don’t understand how to get the answer. I understand there maybe times that you need to refresh your own memory but, you need to do this before getting in front of your class. You know what you are going to be teaching your students the day before. Spend a little time the night before refreshing your skills. If you do this, your students will gain a greater respect for you and you will be a genius in their eyes.

Next subject I will discuss here will be gardening, agriculture, farming or whatever the school decides to call it. If you are the teacher of this sort of class, you must know how to use the farming type tools before you teach your students. A simple tool like a shovel used incorrectly can cause injury to your students and possibly get you in a world of trouble to boot. Don’t condemn a student that is working on a farm and using a tool correctly in your class because that’s not the way you think. If you don’t know the proper way to use the tool, do some research. Research in this day and age is extremely simple. All that is needed is to go online and look it up. It’s not like it was before the internet, where finding the answer was somewhat more challenging.

Man stepping on shovel

There are other things that I have seen through the years that were taught by teachers, where the teacher didn’t know the answer. There is nothing wrong with not knowing. The smartest people in the world don’t know everything. You must learn yourself as well as teaching others. This is not just for school teachers. I’m picking on school teachers just because it is easier for me to show examples. If you are on the job site in a construction zone and teaching the new guy, these examples also hold true.  If you find yourself in this situation, you better know what you are doing or have the mental fortitude to tell your boss that maybe you could use some more training yourself. This will keep you and your fellow workers safe and efficient.

So above I have basically talked about all the bad and why this must change. Now let me give credit where credit is due. I have met and observed some very good teachers. These teachers are school teachers as well as trainers on job sites. A trainer on a job site that knows what they are doing, not only is able to teach the new employee how to do a job correctly but also is there later for questions if needed. I have a true respect for these people and they truly deserve it.

Teacher writing on blackboard

School teachers are in position to mold a young mind and help their students have a successful life. The teachers that take this to heart and really want their students to succeed, are put on a pedestal by their students. These teachers will always hold a special place in their students lives. These teachers have my utmost respect and it is well deserved.

Every adult can look back and find one or two special teachers that made an impact on their lives. I had a couple of these teachers that I think of quite frequently. They were and are special to me today. They really cared about their students and felt if their students went on to do well in life, they had done their job. I remember some teachers but not for good reasons. These were those that thought of teaching just as a job and were just looking forward to summer break.

If you think back to both of these kind of teachers, I would be curious if you have the same reflection about them. The one thing that really hits me is, I can remember the caring ones. I remember their names, the way they looked and even sometimes the tone of there voice. I can remember special times of things that happened within the school walls. I can remember how much they wanted me to truly understand what they were teaching me and how their eyes would light up when I finally understood. The other teachers that were there just as a job are hard to remember. If I try real hard, I may be able to remember their names but with great difficulty. I can’t remember what they looked like or how they sounded. I don’t remember any special times. It’s almost like I never really knew them at all.

Teacher helping student at student's desk

If you are a teacher or you are training someone at work, please take into consideration which kind of teacher you want to be remembered as. Are you there to help or just there for the job? Do you really want to teach or do you just like the summer vacation every year? I want you to really think about this because, it would be nice to see students remember all their teachers later in life and not just one or two.

Tell me what you think on this subject especially if you are a teacher. I look forward to reading your views. Take care and Remember, we are all in this together.

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Thoughts for my readers

When I write a post, these  are either what I believe in and/or what I have lived through. I always leave my post open for not only agreeing with me but also for those that disagree. I wanted to write this today because I think some have gotten the wrong impressions of why I write the way I do and about the subjects I pick. If you disagree with me and want it to be posted, all I ask is you don’t use foul language. If you can do this, all reviews will be posted! These are my opinions and views that I pull out of my head and my heart. My post are just my way of giving you, my readers, a chance for a fresh view to process on your own or discuss with your friends and family. Also, a word of advice, if your not sure of something you read, do some research. Don’t just take everything to heart because someone published it. They may be wrong.

I may not always be the most articulate writer and this is because of two distinct reasons. The first is because, I want to do my writing as though I am talking directly with you and not at you. The second is because, I don’t use big words myself and it would be unrealistic for me to write in a way that I don’t think or talk. I write from my heart not from a dictionary and I plan to continue to do so.

Man typing on laptop looking at his notes on paper
Incorporating teachings

I do try to put teaching within my writings, using lessons that I have learned. I feel if I am not teaching what I have learned, then I’m just writing for myself. This is not what I want to accomplish. I am a teacher at heart, so I must follow the way I am led. I do write about parts of my life that I have lived through, usually with funny things that have happened. When I write about my adventures, I always let my readers know, this is what I have done. When I write my stories about my adventures, I try to put it as close to what happened as I can. I do try to leave foul language out because I don’t want to be known as a writer of foul language. This is a personal choice and in no way a slam on anyone who chooses another path.

I have written before that I write about things as they come to me and tonight this is where this post comes from. I will continue to write my teachings and my life stories as long as you will have me.

I want to thank each and everyone of you that continue to read my post. I also ask that you let me know if I hit a nerve with you, whether good or bad, so don’t be shy and tell me. If you wish to send me a direct email without it going on the post, here is my email; tailfeathers32@protonmail.com        Just make sure you are off my website when you send it. I will be happy to discuss any problems you have with my post. Thank you for reading and Remember, we are all in this together.