I don’t want to be composing this blog, but I am. If I was born in Utah, I'd probably be a Republican, a Mormon, and a Romney supporter. Thank you, Mr. Silverman. "Makers" please admit you were fortunate.
In response to a friend's request, I just read the New York Times Article, "Big Study Links Good Teachers to Lasting Gain." http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/06/education/big-study-links-good-teachers-to-lasting-gain.html?_r=1 The article summarizes a scientific investigation which concluded that kids who have had the luck to be taught by "good" teachers, have increased earning capacity, more college degrees and a lessened chance for teenage pregnancy.
Since I worked as a teacher in public schools for 20 years, and I brazenly consider myself a "good" teacher, this article made a great read. You ask, how do I know I was a good teacher? Well, parents, administrators and lots of students have said I was, and I immodestly have decided to concur. Note: Accolades will be sent on request.
Though, this article made me puff up a bit, obviously, I know that there is a lot more to becoming a successful, good human being than having a good 7th grade science teacher. Where you are born, who your parents are, your DNA, every life experience molds us into who we become.
If you were fortunate to have had the right genes, lived in the US and had a basketball coach for a dad, you might be Michael Jordan. If you had had George Romney for a dad, you'd most likely be a Mormon and a Republican. Personally, I'd prefer to be Michael than Willard (aka Mitt).
I don't want to get into a discussion of self-determinism and free will, but since, I have no choice, I strongly concur with B.F. Skinner's words as follows:
"In the traditional view, a person is free. He is autonomous in the sense that his behavior is uncaused. He can therefore be held responsible for what he does and justly punished if he offends. That view, together with its associated practices, must be re-examined when a scientific analysis reveals unsuspected controlling relations between behavior and environment"
I thank and blame my life experiences for making me who I am. Thanks Mom and Dad. Likewise, a bit of the good stuff about me is due to my 7th grade science teacher. Thank you, Mr. Silverman.
Apparently, many in this country sincerely believe that each person decides who he/she is and what he/sh will become. They believe that individuals are solely responsible for their success or failure. If you are a billionaire, it is because you earned it. If you are a panhandler on the mean streets of Dubuque, you earned that too. Take the credit! You did it or you blew it.
It is the belief of this writer that if we are affixed to an immutable concept of self-determinism, we lose our empathy, our compassion and the impetus to help the less-fortunate. Note; the word "fortunate" itself conflicts with the concept of self-determinism.
Recently, a well written comment was posted on Facebook in reference to my last blog, The-Makers-Takers-and-Fakers. It read,
"We see Obama supporting equal outcomes and not equal opportunity. That is a loser for everyone in the long run."
To this I respond as follows: Opportunity is not opportunity unless people have had events and people in their lives to enable them to take advantage of opportunity. Open doors are not enough to assure social mobility. We gotta do more.
Interactions between humans affect humans. I wish there was a Mr. Silverman out there to help the "makers" of our society look into their being and credit all the people and events which enabled them to be "successful" and then see what they can do to enable others to a good life, or perhaps they just want to live in gated enclaves.
Posted By Matt 1/14/2012