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PHIL'S PHILOSOPHY By; D.P Kinkade Contributions By; Taylor & Drake Kinkade

IRREGARDLESS-If you did not sleep through all your English classes or if you are more like me instead, you developed a love for reading and a fondness for words, in spite of what they did to you at school, instead of because of it, then you will recognize that the word I used as a header to this column is what is known as a -non standard- word. It is called a non standard word because although it is used often in language, by a wide swath of folks, it still is not technically a real word. You see the word -regard- has a double negative attached to it so they cancel each other out. Both the prefix -ir- and the suffix -less- mean no, or none, or diminished. So what you are essentially saying is having “no, no regards” for something; thus essentially having the exact opposite meaning of what was intended. Regardless is the word you want to use, if you want to be a bit more precise with language. I believe some of the confusion might lay in mixing up the words -disregard- which means to have no use for or ignore and the words irrelevant and irreverent which mean to have no relevance or importance to you, in the case of irrelevant and having no reverence for or awe toward, in the case of irreverent. When you use words contrary to their original design, then much like what happens to people, you end up with something totally opposite of its intended purpose.

When it comes to people, to do things contrary to our original design, how we are “programmed” or “hard-wired” can have the totally opposite effect of what was intended . As usual I am going to give a few examples from my own life and from my children's lives. Take for example how we all learn. You know that this is a topic I am passionate about and I bring it up repeatedly, because I believe if we can change it, to be more like it was originally designed, to be more in line with God's kingdom, then we can literally transform the world. We come into this world innately curious, yearning to explore the world around us, we are born with a hunger for discovery. No one has to push or prod or demand that we learn, it is part of our nature. This is what I mean by following design or expanding Gods kingdom, it does not mean that I believe all schools should be christian “God Fearing” schools memorizing bible verses and emphasizing prayer, in fact I think keeping religion and the public education system separate is a pretty good idea, because I don't want others indoctrinating ideas into my children, which I might be vehemently opposed to. I mean staying with the clues placed around us for God's ultimate dream and plan for this world and that is that learning should be natural, even playful and when we go against that, we are going to end up with something completely opposite of what was intended.

Somehow we have bought in, as a society, the notion that learning needs to be “structured” and “controlled” to be effective and of practical use in future situations. We have bought into the notion that children and adults , for that matter, are basically lazy and if given the choice, will get nothing done instead of actually willingly participate in learning. Nothing could be further from the truth, JUST LOOK at the very young, they show us how it is meant to be done, that is by design not random accident. Just provide opportunity and a safe environment, where we feel safe and valued, then curiosity kicks in naturally, no need for coercion.

I remember when I was not very long into my scholarly pursuits one of my teachers announced that I , along with several of my classmates would need to stay after school that day. It turned out that we each were to write the sentence “ I will remain quiet in class, while the teacher is talking” or something to that effect, one hundred times, in order to reinforce the lesson that only the teacher was supposed to talk during class. Now, this was at a somewhat progressive school but when you have teachers taught traditional methods or just used to them so long they have become habit, the fact that we were supposed to be progressive did not hold a lot of sway. Back then I was quiet and kind of reserved, even more of an introvert than I am now, so, if I remember correctly, the question I asked a classmate was about the lesson itself but that did not matter, the teacher was of the opinion that she was the sole purveyor of knowledge in her classroom. In my humble opinion that sole attitude should be enough to get you disqualified from interacting with youth in any capacity, which involves expanding the role of wisdom in their lives.

I can also remember a time involving our youngest child. He is not really a trouble maker but he does have a bit more of a rebellious streak than his more compliant elder sibling and I was once called in for a discussion with some of those in charge or his own scholarly endeavors because he had acquired enough “points” to deem a meeting with a parental figure an appropriate course of action. During the course of this discussion I discovered that one of these “points” was acquired for standing up in class before it was actually dismissed and another one was acquired for sitting at a table not assigned to him, during lunchtime, mind you he was already approaching teen years by this time, at least a whole lot closer to them than infancy. Now, I am not one that believes my child can do no wrong but I began to get a bit irritated and made the inquiry if he was being disrespectful in any way, they assured me he was always very respectful. I then asked if he was disrupting any other students attempts at receiving an education, they again assured me there were no problems there. I kept it as cordial and pleasant as I could but firmly let them know that if those things were not an issue then their concerns where somewhat petty to me. Structure and control; so opposite of how we learn naturally; rubrics to determine how a writing assignment should be done, instead of focusing on creative thought ; standardized tests to insure core content in curriculum, and the list goes on; how backwards can you get. Go back to how we are designed from the beginning, then everything falls naturally into place.

I also remember a time when I was just starting to explore writing. Essays of mine were read aloud to other classrooms but instead of encouragement, a teacher decided to test my honesty and gave me a failing grade which “had not been recorded yet,” just to see if I would attempt to change it, which I did, because I determined it was unfair. Imagine how my life might have turned differently, if encouragement had ignited potential back then, influence shaping the course of my life in a whole different direction. I watched a very similar thing happen with our son; when just a little encouragement at the right moment could have made a world of difference but that encouragement did not come, nor opportunity to develop and shine, so we are left with a “what if” scenario.

When we go through life, too much negativity can wipe out the positive, turning life into the exact opposite of what it is meant to be. I have had some rough patches in my life, quite a few of them actually, from feeling inferior as a youth, to learning differently and not knowing how to channel that properly, to struggling with hardship and serious health concerns, to losing people at a young age. There have been times where I wondered if it was all worth it, if it might have been better if I had not appeared on this earth at all. I once told a friend that I wanted Garth Brooks song -the dance- played in remembrance of me. I know it is a song about the end of a relationship but not changing it anyway but I feel about life itself like that. It was not and is not, all easy but there have been some very good parts, so all in all, its worth it. We all have a unique story to tell, we all have “your truth” to tell, which basically is just our personal connection with the divine. For me personally, what hurts more than anything else I've been through, what cuts to the soul, is to be; disregarded, found to have no value, to be told nobody cares about your story, nobody is even listening, to be ignored and overlooked, instead of feeling needed. It is enough sometimes to make a body consider walking away or giving up but that is the exact opposite of what life intended, what God intended. Another of my favorite songs is about a dance, about sitting it out or taking a risk. Life is a risky proposition but all in all, it's worth it. Tell your story, risk love, join the cause of justice, become a co-creator with the great Creator; BE YOU; it's all God asks or intended, to begin with.

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