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Rolling in the Muck

May 14, 2009

I came across the following quote on Twitter this morning:

“On no account brood over your wrong-doing. Rolling in the muck is not the best way of getting clean.” — Aldous Huxley

I always loved Aldous Huxley – “Brave New World” is still one of my favorite novels and “Doors of Perception” was totally cool even for a geekster like me to read while I was in college.

What the quote made me think about was the dismay with which my advocacy is often met – and I have been reminded on more than one occasion to focus on the positives and the changes that my efforts have wrought in the area of gifted education – not on the negatives that drove me to fight for them. But I think that misses the point. If educators classify you as a troublesome windbag or “one of THOSE moms,” you and your cause are easily dismissed. If, however, you can point to real examples in your experience where the “wheels fell off” then you are forcing accountability for the reality that: needs have gone unmet, time has been lost, and students have suffered. So while brooding over wrong-doings from the past can mire you in a state of seeking constant atonement, it can also provide an insightful, well-lit path on what not to do in the future.
So allow me to share another quote in that regard:

Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement: and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. In the first stage of life the mind is frivolous and easily distracted, it misses progress by failing in consecutiveness and persistence. This is the condition of children and barbarians, in which instinct has learned nothing from experience.
George Santayana, The Life of Reason, Volume 1, 1905

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Lauren Close permalink
    May 14, 2009 7:03 pm

     I detest the attitude (so pervasive these days) that trying is good enough.  When it comes to issues of such importance as gifted ed, advocates can’t be satisfied with giving it the old college try.  They have to push through the barriers (the “muck”) with the expectation that the force of their arguments will and must prevail.

  2. May 15, 2009 3:26 am

    This is interesting. I have come to feel that the past is not always very relevant–or maybe I just haven’t found my sweet spot. For a time I came on too strong. Ultimately, we switched schools. At the new school I fear I wasn’t vocal enough… My oldest son, a 5th grader, is now on his 3rd school and we are dealing wtih a new cast of characters. I haven’t given up, though.

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