Different Measures of Time

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On the Trail of Genghis Khan

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“…here, cradled by the ger, there was no thinking backward or forward, only a feeling of completeness, for this was nomadic life intact, virtually unchanged from the days of Genghis Khan.

In a world without fences, where communities lifted and moved as unpredictably as the weather, our usual ways of keeping track of time and place were beginning to change.

-On the Trail of Genghis Khan: An Epic Journey Through the Land of the Nomads by Tim Cope

A description of the journey from the beginning of the book: “The world expanded with every new challenge, from frostbitten toes to the dark clouds of mosquitoes that came with summer in Siberia. But most of all it was the people who left an impression on me….I found it astonishing that in the midst of an adventure I experienced more comradeship and connection with many of these people than with those where I had grown up in Australia.

Alone is Forever

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Cornered

Cornered

It’s hard to see a fellow human be destroyed. You find yourself needing to believe the victim earned her punishment. You want to think that an innocent girl would never be tortured, and that the world couldn’t possibly be so cruel…But I’m not like them. I watched the whole world desert me. And once you know you’re alone, you can never, ever forget.

Cornered: 14 Stories of Bullying and Defiance edited by Rhoda Belleza

From the introduction: “But bullying starts with adults. It starts with controlling parents who will do almost anything to maintain that control, and teachers who don’t tolerate kids finding their ways through natural developmental stages…Back before language we absorb through all our senses. If we grow up experiencing domestic violence, even if it isn’t aimed at us, we learn the ways of violence…It’s too easy to look for bullying kids and try to stop them from being bullies. That usually results in making them more devious. Let’s call it meanness. Let’s call it indecency. And let’s understand that it never starts with the kid.

Bullying is Unnatural

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Sticks and Stones

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Though bullying is a problem that cuts across lines of class, race, and geography, the reality is that most kids aren’t directly involved—either as perpetrators or as targets. And when kids understand that concerted cruelty is the exception and not the rule, they respond: bullying drops, and students become more active about reporting it.

-Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy by Emily Bazelon

Max Comes Home

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Max!” they shouted with joy. “Are you staying with us all winter?”
“Yes,” said Max. “Me and My Flock!”
Everyone looked at Irene, hoping she would say something. But all she could say was “Welcome Home!”

-Duck at the Door by Jackie Urbanovic

Some information about wild birds and winter:

Short-term Results

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End of Ethics

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“Today’s corporate culture and CEOs increasingly encourage nearly any behavior that produces short-term results, supposedly satisfying shareholders and boosting the stock price in the process. This short-termism is the very root of the problem, causing the end of ethics as we know it. It is a mania and a mantra. Leaders focus on results now, without regards to the consequences and any lingering ethical qualms. CEOs ignore “how they got here” and, instead, focus on short-term performance and reward, concentrating solely on this quarter, not the next ten.”

-The End of Ethics and A Way Back: How To Fix A Fundamentally Broken Global Financial System by Theodore Roosevelt Malloch, Jordan D. Mamorsky

Costumes, Pageants and Thanksgiving

One extremely unfortunate Thanksgiving tradition in the United States is the re-enactment of the ‘Thanksgiving Story.’ This invariably involves someone (usually children) dressing up as an ‘Indian’ who arrives with food to help the pilgrims who are on the brink of starvation.

A few basic facts that must be considered before putting on the traditional pageant:

  1. ‘Indian’ is considered by many people to be a racial slur. It can create a negative experience for the Native American children in the classroom. While there is debate over correct terminology, this issue must be carefully considered, particularly given it’s combination with point 2.
  2. Non-native people dressing up in a native costume (complete with face paint) is exactly the same as performing in black-face. Don’t. Do. It.
  3. The Thanksgiving Myth is not only (at best) an historic oversimplification, the reason the holiday exists has more to do with the Civil War (Revolutionary war, etc.) and the need for unification of people in any possible form. It also has a strong feminist connection – even though it would not have been called feminism at that time.
  4. During a holiday that is intended to bring people together, any and all performances and activities that divide people and cultures are best avoided.

Native American Heritage Month

November is Native American Heritage month. This is the perfect time to invite artistsspeakers and performers to your school, church or civic organization. This is particularly effective for those who are attempting to change a long-held-tradition of less-than-politically-correct thanksgiving performances.

If you are a school teacher, consider using the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Thanksgiving Mourning classroom resources. This is also an excellent time to take a good hard look at Engaging Native American Students and the representation of Native Americans in the classroom year-round.

 Wars, Unification and Veterans

In addition the the very direct connection between Thanksgiving and times of war, Veterans Day is celebrated on November 11. Creating activities and pageants that focus on the historic and present connection between those who serve and the need to both come together as a community and express thanks for everything we have can make for a powerful and very appropriate Thanksgiving Holiday event.

Costume and Pageant Alternatives

Here are some costumes that can be used to create a pageant focused on the American civil war, veterans and the creation of the Thanksgiving Holiday as a time to come together, show respect for others and heal rifts between communities. This is just a start and an example. If a community can come together and focus on creating events and performances that feature and explore the ideas of community and gratitude, the overall pageants will naturally transform and a larger variety of costumes will result.

Stars Awaken Reverence

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The stars awaken a certain reverence, because though always present, they are inaccessible; but all natural objects make a kindred impression, when the mind is open to their influence. Nature never wears a mean appearance. Neither does the wisest man extort her secret, and lose his curiosity by finding out all her perfection. Nature never became a toy to a wise spirit. The flowers, the animals, the mountains, reflected the wisdom of his best hour, as much as they had delighted the simplicity of his childhood.

-Nature by Ralph Waldo Emerson

Transforming Individualism

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What sort of person would cling to the hope that someone else would return to give meaning to her life? What sort of quivering parasite needed someone else to validate her existence?

Her resolution grew as she left the settlement behind. She could change. She wasn’t chained to her past. She could become someone who wasn’t merely a product of what others had done to her. It wasn’t too late.

She had a place now and a life, and it was one of her own making.

-Blood of Dragons (Rain Wilds Chronicles Book 4) by Robin Hobb

Life and Bad Decisions

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Dancing at the Shame Prom on Wordery.com

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Doing unrectifiable, stupid things is universal and shouldn’t stop one from moving forward in life.

 

Dancing at the Shame Prom: Sharing the Stories That Kept Us Small by Amy Ferris and Hollye Dexter

From the Introduction:We invite you to join us at the Shame Prom—a place where we wear our ugly dresses, then shed them. Where we parade our shame in public, dance it around on our arm, and take awkward pictures with it. But afterward, we’re not going to roll around in the backseat making out with it. This time, we’re breaking up with Shame and driving off into the sunset, stronger in knowing that we are connected at the deepest, most human level. So put on your tiaras, people. Let’s get this party started.”

Dainty Ladies, Civil War and Thanksgiving

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“Never underestimate dainty little ladies.”

-Thank you Sarah, written by Laurie Halse Anderson and illustrated by Matt Faulkner

“Whenever Sarah found a spare moment, she wrote. But this time it wasn’t for the thrill of seeing her work in print – it was to keep her family from starving. Soon Boston magazines began to feature Sarah’s writing. Much to Sarah’s delight, with many publications came payment.”

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“Sarah made sure Ladies’ Magazine was different. She published articles on history and science and new schools for women.”

“When Lincoln received Sarah’s letter, the nation was in the middle of a civil war. Lincoln understood that sometimes it was hard to remember good things in bad times. People needed a day to be thankful for food on their tables, roofs over their heads, and the blessings in their lives. Thanksgiving was exactly what this nation needed.”

-Sarah Gives Thanks, written by Mike Allegra and illustrated by David Gardner