A calling ...

"We are called to be architects of the future, not its victims."

"Make the world work for 100% of humanity in the shortest possible time through spontaneous cooperation without ecological offense or the disadvantage of anyone."

- Buckminster Fuller

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Livestrong MyPlate and Accountability

Calorie Goal
Calories Consumed
Calories Burned
Net Calories
July 21st, 2012
July 20th, 2012
July 19th, 2012
July 18th, 2012
July 17th, 2012
July 16th, 2012

The past year has been about reflection. What changes do I need to make? What information do I need to learn? What relationships must I improve? How can I improve them? How can I improve my time management? What can I do to improve my health? Accountability in education is something that has become feared, because in many ways it has become a stick to pound on imperfect teachers, but coming from the business world, I understand the benefits of accountability. In order to generate the above summary, I had to log every calorie I ate.

Another area of accountability has been my exercise workouts, which are logged on FitLinxx.

Recently I read an article which stated that those who keep a log of what they eat tend to lose more weight than those who do not. I also consumed an audiobook entitled, You are Not Your Brain: The 4-Step Solution for Changing Bad Habits, Ending Unhealthy Thinking, and Taking Control of Your Life.

I'm starting to log what I read as well as my goals. It's all about accountability to myself, not somebody else.

When my doctor, Dr. Prinz, reported to me that my blood sugar levels indicated the onset of diabetes, he advised me that I needed to lose 30 pounds. I shed the first 10 pounds, from 185 pounds to 175 pounds, mostly with exercise. The other next five pounds did not go away until I started to use Livestrong's My Plate Application, which I had known about, but was not using religiously. The exhortation to exercise mindfulness led me back to MyPlate. 15 more pounds to go. Will I get there? What adjustments will I need to make to my plan?

By the end of next week, I will have listened to an audiobook version of Howard Gardner's Five Minds For the Future, at least once. Two novels by Ernest Hemingway are queued up, as is a series of lectures on Greek stories. By the end of tonight, I will have completed Elliot Eisner's The Kind of Schools We Need. I have another Brian Tracey audiobook to consume. I want to read Mushashi's Five Rings. I downloaded instructions on how to set up a solar power and wind power home generator system. I have a sense of urgency, as if I am in a race against time. As I exercise my body and reduce my calories, I feed my mind. It's all about "self-directed" neuroplasticity.

As I walked Mabel this morning, I saw analogies in my dog walks through history posting with an entire dog walks series, saw business opportunities in establishing a world wide tutoring following through Justice University (Bob Brantley's brainchild), reflected on Jim Rohn's observation that the mind needs a diet of words, and question, "why do the biggest houses all have libraries?"

Jim Rohn said that if you have values, those values will need to be defended. In fact, he argued that the better the garden, the greater will be the assault on that garden, i.e., the more right the values, the greater they must be defended. Elliot Eisner stated that how you were socialized in many ways defines how you perceive the world. My view of the world is different. My grandfather swam to shore. My father befriended Medgar Evars. I read Dante until I couldn't see anymore.

I understand Howard Gardner's criticism of education in my bones. Gardner referred to Winston Churchill's famous line about "empires of the mind," a reference that most people prepare for past wars, not for the future. As I read, it becomes clear to me that what I need to do is mount a stronger defense of the kind of education I believe in. As Randy Whittman told Bradley Beal, we're not paying you to be average. Depending on how things go, perhaps I'll have to retreat to fight another day, in the spiritual sense. It's about accountability to the universe.

Les Brown says that if you want something badly enough, you have to be willing to do it badly -- a tough message from somebody who was born on the floor of an abandoned building, who was labeled educatably mentally retarded. I've taught badly, and I've reflected upon what I'd do differently. It's about being self-aware.

While riding the exercise bike this afternoon, listening to Gardner, I thought about the treasure trove of documents that Max Weissmann sent me about education right before I entered Marymount's PDS program, and how I might convert these documents from text to speech so that I could listen to them. I think I'll do that. Adaptive technology is what I do.

If, as Jim Rohm said, this is my winter, spring should follow as it always does. As my dad always says, "never, never give up," so I won't, I can't. Today, I listened to Gardner reflect upon the conservatism in education, the limited views of science and the uses of knowledge, and a lack of appreciation for artistic ways of thinking, the short-sighted focus on a narrow spectrum of thinking, which parallels what I'm reading in Eisner's essays, and what I read long ago in the writings of Loren Eisley about the history of science and the contributions of Francis Bacon. It's "for the purposes of life!"

The recollection of the Jack London character who refuses to heed the warnings to take shelter crosses my mind, and that to proceed forward might be to invite a disastrous plunge into an icy river. I've got a few hours now, I think I'll plug in some Gardner and attack the disaster that is my cellar. I have boards to toss, order to create, questions to ponder. Why? That's what writers do.