Why I Teach

As another semester draws to a close, and the Students continue to change from year to year, it seems like a good moment to pause and look at Why I Teach…

Barbara Walters

Barbara Walters

Perez Hilton

Perez Hilton

Because I grew up with BARBARA WALTERS
And you grew up with PEREZ HILTON.

Because I grew up in the EISENHOWER/KENNEDY Era
And you grew up in the REAGAN/BUSH Era.

Because I grew up learning Table Manners
And you grew up learning Apps.

Because when I grew up, we made it,
And when you grew up, you bought it.

Because when I grew up, Discipline and Respect and Good Sportsmanship were Values taught to us,
And when you grew up, Everyone got a Trophy.

Because I grew up with Banks as a Service Industry
And you grew up with Banks buying our Elected Representatives
and having stolen the right to steal money from you
And you think that’s Normal.

Because I grew up before IVAN BOESKY’s UC Berkeley Commencement Address proclaiming “Greed Is Healthy!…Be Greedy…Feel Good…”
And you grew up with Movies about it,
as if it were integrated into our culture that Deadly Sins can be Healthy.
They Can’t.

Justn Bieber

Justin Bieber

michael-jacksonBecause I grew up with MICHAEL JACKSON
And you grew up with JUSTIN BIEBER.

Because I grew up in an Era of Tenant’s Rights
And you grew up in an Era of LandLord Lobbyists.

Because when I grew up, we didn’t use the term “Lobbyist.”
We called those people what they are — Criminals who bribe our Elected Officials
We knew that they all belonged in Prison.
We took to the Streets in Protest.
You don’t.

Because when I grew up, 1984 was a Projection of a Terrifying Future
And because you grew up in what EDWARD SNOWDEN proved to be a Terrifying Present.

Because I grew up with ANGELA LANSBURY and HELEN HAYES on Television
And you grew up with MILEY CYRUS twerking and VANESSA HUDGENS sexting naked pictures of herself.

Because I grew up covering my mouth when I yawn and chewing with my mouth closed
And you grew up without correction.

Because when I grew up, in 1965,
the Average Wage of the American Worker was $7.52 per hour,
while the Average Wage of the American CEO was $330 per hour;
And when you grew up, in 2005,
the Average Wage of the American Worker was $7.39 per hour (It’s Less!),
and the Average Wage of the American CEO was $1,500 per hour.

Because when I grew up Berries had flavor and were sold in Green Cardboard Containers that decomposed when they were thrown away, so that you would never see their remains.
Because your Berries are flavorless and the size of apples — they come in Plastic Containers that never decompose and wash up onto the Shores of Haiti,
and your Great Grandchildren will still be dealing with that plastic swirling in the Ocean’s gyres.

Because when I grew up, we didn’t pay for Water.
Clean Fresh Water was Everyone’s Right.
Because your Water costs two dollars, comes in Plastic Bottles,
and 180 Million are disposed of Every Day.

Because when I grew up Movies were an accessible luxury.
Because your Movies cost $17 for a ticket, Popcorn is $8.50, and they show Commercials while you’re waiting for the Feature to begin.

Because when I grew up I baked, breaking Non-Genetically-Modified Eggs, one at a time into a cup, to make sure there wasn’t a bad one, as sometimes happened before GMO modification.
And you grew up buying cookies in a package, and never thinking about their ingredients.

Because when I grew up, I strived to get an “A.”
Because when you grew up, you seemed to think a “B” was just Fine.

Because when I grew up, I learned to read a Map;
I had to figure out for myself where I was going.
Because you grew up with a GPS Navigator telling you where to go,
And you’ve only ever done what it tells you,
Even walking.

Because When I grew up, we Dated from a Look in one another’s Eyes.
Because you grew up making those decisions from a Thumbnail Photo of one another’s abs.

gloria-vanderbilt-jeansBecause when I grew up, Monsanto was putting Jeans on GLORIA VANDERBILT’s Assmonsanto
And You grew up with them putting Poison in our Food Supply.

Because when I grew up, Time Magazine’s Persons of the Year were
JOHN F. KENNEDY, POPE JOHN XXIII, and MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.
And for you, it’s GEORGE W. BUSH (twice), MARK ZUCKERBERG, and YOU.

MLK

You

Because when I grew up an appliance purchase included the Plug.
Because your Plug is sold separately and costs you an additional $85
And that doesn’t make you angry.

Because the Broadway Musicals with which I grew up started with an Overture.
Because yours don’t.

Because the Movies with which I grew up did not contain such explicit nudity and gratuitous violence.
Because yours do.

Kim KardashianBecause when I grew up, you had to be Good before it was possible to be Famous.
Because you want to be Famous
More than you want to be Good
And Now it is as possible for you as it is treacherous.

Because when I grew up, “Wait,” “No,” and “You’ll have to do Without” were acceptable responses that taught immense Values.
Because you have been Clicking since you were born and you wait for nothing.

Because I grew up in a World with THE BEATLES and FRANK SINATRA topping the charts at the very same time.
Because you didn’t.

Because I grew up in the Legacies of JOE DIMAGGIO, JACKIE ROBINSON and BABE RUTH.
And you grew up in an age of performance enhancement drugs and obscene money contracts.

Because Earning is a Value
And Taking for Granted is not.

Because when we leave this World, it is only the Lessons and the Love that we will take with us.
Because you depend too much on things — cyber-things; cloud-things; i-things…
But things, nonetheless.

Because I grew up with “Yes” and “No” and “Please” and “Thank You”
And your “Whatever” became “What. Ever.” And is now “WTF.”

It is a BEAUTIFUL WORLD.
In many ways it is a Better World.

hero-1976-hero-2015
You don’t make such a Big Deal about someone being Transgender
or InterRacial Marriages.
You are more Accepting and More Welcoming to new Ideas.
I applaud you for that.
You have the technology to reach others and to Change the World for the Better.
Entire Societies can mobilize
Revolutions, as in Egypt, may take form more quickly.
The Advancements in Communication and Medicine,
Even just in your Lifetime,
Are So Profound as to Boggle the Mind.

Ireland becomes the first Country to Approve Same-Sex Marriage by a Popular Vote 23 May 2015

Ireland becomes the first Country to Approve Same-Sex Marriage by a Popular Vote 23 May 2015

And Ireland’s Stunningly Powerful Passing of the People’s Referendum on Marriage Equality this Week, becoming the first Country on our Small Planet to do so,
1,201,607 votes to 734,300.
There is the Ability now for so many of us from so many diverse Cultures
to Commune as never before…
YOU are not the Problem.
YOU are a Beloved Child of the Universe,
as MAX EHRMANN’s Desiderata tells us,
“No Less than the Trees and the Stars;
You have a Right to be Here.”

But when I grew up, we were given tools with which to Cope,
An Awareness of Community,
And Grammar and Spelling were Important
And Helpful
Intergenerational Collaboration was highly regarded
And avidly sought after
We were Frugal
Everybody pitched in
We Shared,
We wore hand-me-downs.
We called it a Sin to throw away food, when there were so many people in need.

And when you grew up, it seemed to all be about selling you $500 Toys and convincing you they were obsolete as soon as you purchased them
so that you’d fork over another $500 of your parents’ money for another one.

I want to Help.
I am Being the Change I wish to see in the World.
I teach Alternatives.
I teach to Empower you.
I teach so that as you Grow, you may see Beyond the possibilities before you
To what has been before
To what Can Be Next.

It is to Ignite your Potential
So that Together
We may set the World on Fire.

I teach Operating Systems
For People.

OfThePeopleMemeI grew up with the Promise of
Government Of the People
By the People
For the People…

I teach, that I might pass these ideas along to You.
It is my Great Honor and Privilege.

Yet in truth, I do not come here to teach, at all.
I come here to Learn.

One of My Great Teachers... Lloyd Richards

One of My Great Teachers… Lloyd Richards

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5 Comments

  1. Ah…and all those reasons make me happy you made the choice to be a teacher.

    Reply
  2. Astrid Larsen

     /  May 25, 2015

    Beautiful article Arnold. You are a true teacher! So good to read to the end and see the closing of the circle from the great qualities of the era in which we grew up to the gifts of present day – and that to achieve our great potential today it would be wise to remove the baby from the bath before pulling the plug on the past.

    Reply
  3. Beautiful perspective.

    Reply
  4. Brilliant and inspiring and sobering

    Reply
  5. LS

     /  May 27, 2015

    Perfectly written… everyone needs to read this. THANK YOU!!

    Reply

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