Growing Up Being Brought Up

Walking the dogs after dark has become a habit.  This was one of the greatest things to do in Mexico, with a night life that made it seemed as if the middle of the day, neighborhoods were alive until 2:00 AM and friends, neighbors, lovers, reveled in the ability go enjoy each other at any other over good food, a warm and inviting open establishment, no matter what the time.

It is difficult to come to terms with shaking the late night walk and certainly the dogs have not shaken that from their internal schedule. Despite the itching to just not go back out after a long day, once out, I am grateful for being able to have the tranquility of the stars, the quiet of the night, and now, even in such a forced time of quiet and solitude, despite the loss of open revelry of establishments and socializing that used to be the norm, from Mexico to the United Stated, this tranquility still exists to a degree.

It was this reflection as I walked past homes and almost every window was illuminated with a television screen that I also reflected on the lack of a television as I grew up except for the holiest of holies, a weekend Steeler game at my grandparents, the latest Mash episode, and, well that was it – often as I grew up I remember a television now even being the focal point of the living room, often absent.  I am grateful that even today I am not even aware of what sitcom is on when, and I have time filled with the outdoors and connecting with others with…

Yes – we have the computer now to take the place of the time television sucked out of us, don’t we?! As I thought of this, I did relish one of so many meaningful opportunities that have presented themself during this pandemic. The National Theatre in London, one of the most magical of streaming theatres that we would attend religiously in Mexico – is now streaming some of its BEST performance for free, Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, for two more days for FREE.  One of my “favorit-est” productions by William Shakespeare of all time the depth and confusion, creativity and gender swapping you see allowing men to see the lives of women, women to see the lives of men, this version manipulates creativity to the HIGHEST level and HILARITY ensues.  Tasmin Greig is HILARITY amplified as Malvolio – the creative liberties that are taken with a stair case set that opens and a stage that revolves – this is an AWESOME production- and trust me, when we were lucky enough to see productions at the Lunario– magical.

It is amazing how specific events can make your adventures come full circle a world away, even during a pandemic.

Simon Godwin’s production of Twelfth Night is powerful personally because it reminds me of evenings where friends would gather beforehand for dinner on a balcony and an evening of high caliber theatre, then intermissions allowing our reactions, and a combination of socializing and entertainment in its best light (in this case, the dark). The cast – all captivating, hysterical, and in on plot within plot, is a revolving plot- dizzying at time and a great honor to the cast that makes all spin.

In the midst of this pandemic, there are so many amazing opportunities that present themselves that we can take in, in our own homes, and often defy the usual screen time experience.  And yet, the value of realizing in this difficult time, the value of having quality moments outside to truly be able to soak in the power of these experience? – just as powerful.  Do not miss the two day opportunity to see this production of Twelfth Night, it is a great spin on what Shakespeare can do in the modern day and show his timelessness – and a reminder of what is coming to the National Theatre in London, you will LOVE what comes next after this production ends on April 3oth. Coming full circle with your experience, and giving yourself time to do so, is a bright moment we can each find for ourselves during this difficult time.

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Searching for Contentment

In the middle of a pandemic, yes, easy to see many affected to being stir crazy, the onslaught of radio and television focuses on a what seems as a Repeat play of the same information, and overall feeling at times as if you are going crazy.

In trying to make myself comfortable through many uncomfortable radio messages, one resounding with me and was absolutely the truth.

In describing what we knew as “normality” before the pandemic, it might not be evident but there are aspects present now that should remain to improve what we didn’t realize we had. It is unusual to be off the “hamster” wheel of always having to move forward, always have to do more, higher, more, etc and hopefully, the realization that a pandemic should not be the reason to find time to realize time to simply be able to think, and think over your day without interruption for long periods, wow, what a difference.  This should be one staple of our lives day in and day out – and the things we are able to create, decide and do, it speaks volumes without saying a word.

Yes the pandemic is awful and not wanted by everyone, and yet while cracks exist to show weaknesses that have been exposed, it is a great opportunity to take steps to examine and approach weaknesses in a support system for salaries, health, business support and so much more.  Simply putting band-aids with the hope to move on past this momentary pause and not long term could be disastrous and given we have time, hopefully citizens will also realize now is a good time to reach out to those who represent us and take into consideration suggestions that can solidify better measure for everyone as a whole. 

The chance to reach out to relatives, friends, and realizing that away from screen time and wanting to limit that knowing how much is available, actually has been causing an appreciation for knowing technology is there, but does not have to be everything.  Old fashioned letter writing, reading, organizing, picking up new hobbies of creativity, and so much more; it is funny, I actually feel better when I feel inside I am balancing something other than screen time- it is difficult to pull away once sucked in but once knowing a limited time is okay and time away is even better – priceless.

Creativity is a huge factor, and my wish is for more people to give themselves more time for – themselves, as well as for creativity.  Time is previous, and often not realized until something force individuals to use time in a different way.  During this unnatural pandemic, the creativity that educators are using that involves SOME technology and also challenging individuals to think about concepts outside of technology, there is space and time to be invaluable during this time of crisis.

Reaching out to others and thinking more on the jobs that exists that keep us healthy, front line workers, low paid positions, and more, the hope is if each of us can reach out and thank those that give their time for each of us on a daily basis, instead of waiting for something to bring us face to face with that realization, would change much.

I have learned to carve out time in my day for me, creating time to read, to reflect, and as a result better impacts results will occur in the end. Cultures are built on reflection as a priority as I noticed in Mexico, and it changed me.  I wrote more, I blogged more, I connected with people more on a personal, conversational basis.  Now with restrictions that force time to be in place, my hope is for myself, and for others, we are able to truly turn a deadly situation into one where we will grow together in healthier ways for our lives, as well as for others. Maintaining the time and space that we never knew existed should be a “norm” all the time, and would benefit everyone in the long term, with no threat to our lives forcing this to occur.

 

 

 

 

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Beaten Before We Start

I was shocked to see a huge group of young students playing soccer together in a field today. I was in total disbelief, and seriously had no words until I thought of these words below after seeing a police officer from the local town, (thank you so so so much!) have to drive and ask everyone to disperse, and they were fighting and refusing this all the way to the parking lot, so much so that he had to pull into the parking lot to make sure everyone would continue to disperse and actually stay apart and not be a huge soccer playing crowd. I was so extremely deflated seeing all this and realizing the sacrifice so many have already made for their lives – it makes no sense to me.
“Beaten before you start”
In a drive to get my dogs in the truck and fresh air,
as I drive past the soccer field of a nearby school
I was completely beaten before I started.
25 plus individuals, together as it would be any other
65 + day, but this , as we know from another to another,
is not a normal 65+ day- nor has it been above a 65 graded
week, or season or year- – it was as if I had been deflated
25 plus individuals playing soccer on a green field,
but yet unaware, refusing, ignoring unwilling to yield,
to the fact that sunny days are certainly deceiving,
sometimes it is beyond belief and hard to keep believing,
that a day will come when we will get past all of this
yet, we need everyone to agree to not be remiss
and take more caution – the care you show every day
will not make up or reimburse the deaths making their way
into our new normal. Even in spite of the useless reasons
that seem to be ending precious lives that feel like seasons
Your actions will speak louder than the words that speak
for you as you are seen among crowds of 25 or more,
your actions will let others live beyond next week
your outward show of responsibility will spread or
even be the cure that we all are looking for
so we are not,  we are not beaten before we start.
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There is No Deadline On Caring

A bright spot – a student from last 9 weeks, third marking period- in March when we were still in school, has been sending me edits of his letter to get it better and better and sent me a final draft on April 5th. It was a project after working on picking a topic the freshmen felt serious about, they had to write letters to the Sussex County Revitalization Committee to tell them what they felt was important to consider.
 
We did this in the 2nd marking period too, to give them a sense of their writing being seen by someone outside of class.
 
It says something when you have students wanting to work on an assignment way past the due date, and also willing to go back to the drawing table to get it right – pretty cool- take a look –
 
April 5, 2020
Dear Western Sussex Revitalization Committee,
“Save Trees, Save Earth”
Trees and forests play an important role in our environment. They are rapidly disappearing all over the world and this could be disastrous for our planet. Most are unsure of how we can stop this from happening but there are efficient ways to prevent deforestation.
This quote gives the meaning that protecting the trees and forests should be a first priority in fighting climate change. Forests are critical to life on earth and they improve our quality of life by regulating the climate, improving air quality, conserving and cleaning water and supporting wildlife. Some benefits trees have on the environment are they clean the air by absorbing pollutants, prevent soil erosion, provide a home for wildlife, improve groundwater levels and provide shade for homes which reduces energy costs.
There are several things people can do on their own to help save the trees and planet. Some of the things people can do to help is using less paper, going digital with bills, reading digital books or using the library, planting trees, reuse of containers, stopping the use of paper plates and cups, preventing forest fires which are mainly caused by reckless people and educating others. Large businesses could do their part by reducing the amount of advertising mail they send out. Junk mail is received every day and normally is torn up and thrown away. That is a waste. If there could be an annual revitalization festival developed it could provide education and maybe gain the interest of people in Sussex County to help protect the future of our trees and forests in our county. If every person did their part there would be a lot of unnecessary trees cut down or damaged.
There are several regulations set to help protect the trees and forests from deforestation which are regular and planned cutting of trees, reforestation (every tree that gets cut down must be replanted) and monitoring the clearing of lands for agriculture use. The festival could also educate people on the regulations to help prevent the misuse of trees. There should be more focus on setting stricter regulations for cutting down trees because if not one day there may not be any. That probably sounds crazy but whoever would have thought we would be dealing with the pandemic we are today.
Just educating alone can help reduce damaged forests and trees in not just the county but all over the world. If people realize everything that trees provide for our environment they might take an interest in making our county and world a better place. “A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself. Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Thank you for your time and considering this idea!
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L is for Learning AND Librarian

library1YES!  It is School Librarian Month AND National Poetry Month!

Shout out to your School Librarians for School Library Month! Not seen to you, your school librarians recourse, network, create, develop, support and often repair problems with tech, research, and discovering new paths for discovery.
They put the P in Professional and in National Poetry Month!
Without them, blandness, lost opportunities, and loose ends are always present- there is a reason librarians are certified and it is not to gain a pay raise LOL! Reach out to yours and let them know what they do for you day in and day out!
If you have a GREAT school librarian experience, send it to asflitmag@gmail.com and we will share these during this month to show what this position does to support individuals and the institutions they serve!library2

A GREAT article to consider, and to realize how school librarians can be the backbone of all schools and learning!

Check out advocates of librarianship!

 

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This is your story that became ours.

I carried the thoughts around all day that today, on Dad’s favorite day, that he carried around all year playing pranks on so many, he is with us so much in spirit. I wonder what he would think of such a thing as what is happening now – and I can’t help but thinking, thanks to that stubborn streak of his, he would find the ten closest neighbors that did not have a ride, did not have food, and did not have cash, they would have all they needed if it was left up to him – There’s not a day that goes by that I wonder if I am doing things that remember him well – and not a day that he is sorely missed, especially on his birthday- April 1st. Love ya Dad.  This is your story that became ours.

 

 

The Rings Around Us

You always hear people say “Deja Vous”, or, “It was fate!”  A certain amount of events have occurred in my life where I realize that fate certainly did play a huge role, God certainly intervened, or that I just stumbled across the correct amount of lucky, though I was never known to have much of THAT.  However, one particular event has yet failed to cause others to be speechless, bring tears to my eyes, and remains a constant reminder that life is a chance for everyone to give it their all, and you will be rewarded.

It was the beginning of Spring 2002, I will always remember the sun peaking out behind the clouds on a mad rush towards home, then known as Butler, PA.  Yet, I am getting ahead of myself.  Sitting in the office of my job, chatting with friends amid piles of mindless work, my manager walks over to my desk.  Everyone has had a similar situation, flashbacks of “What did I do?!  Wrong or right?!”  I was asked to accompany her to her office.  “Uh-oh.  I really did it this time.”  With every step anchored with weight, I sat down in Bonnie’s office.  She looked at my very serious, I sucked in my breath anticipating the worst.  “Harry, your sister called.”  “What?” I thought.  My sister didn’t even have my phone number here!  “My sister?” I blurted.  A nod.  “Yes, your father seems to had to go to the hospital, and wanted you to know.”  Wow.  Now you have to know…

My father, aside from typical stereotypes about men, came from an era that buried money in coffee cans, worked until the following sunrise, and certainly did not visit doctors.  I had no recollection of my father EVER being in a doctor’s office unless it was on my own account.  My worry of job security shifted to a deep panic.

The flurry of gathering my things together, blurry images of my friends alarmed at the panic on my face, not seeing or remembering much except that sun on hitting the crystal snow on my race into Butler, PA that afternoon.  Thought sped through my head, and yet I knew.  There was only one way my father, father of 16 children, a rite of life in it’s own right, was going to be at a hospital.  “Quit being morbid and pessimistic!” I blared at myself.

The day of my father’s funeral was an extension of the emptiness that was felt throughout my whole family.  A punch in the stomach, the wind being knocked out of you, the delay in reaction that lasted for weeks, even months, call it what you will, that was me to a “T”.  Standing in the middle of the funeral floor, surrounded by hundreds of individuals’ lives my father had touched, friends of mine that were in complete silence, I felt my sense of organization and life plans gone in an instant.   My sister, Pam approached holding gently a lift-top box.  As she gently opened the box, I saw rows of silver rings with his initials HBB in top.  “Dad created these rings and left one for each son, and you need to choose the one that fits your finger Harry Jr.”  I was in utter disbelief.  In the morning of my father’s death, rows of hundred dollar bills had been aligned on the breakfast table, papers of bills, payments, and obligations neatly arranged.  That in itself was too much of a premonition to take in, but this?

A few days later, I noticed that the ring I had chosen did indeed seem big even with choosing the smallest ring possible.  I went into the closest Main Street jeweler, briefly explaining the value and problem to the owner.  Within minutes, a spacer had been put on the ring, with the last words I remember the owner stating, “It’s on the house, your father would have wanted it that way.”  Another moment to keep me in awe of the way things develop in life.

Two months later again driving on a summer and wonderfully summer day, hand waving in the half open window, I arrive at my father’s house to help at around the garage with my brothers.  Not being used to wearing a ring, I sometimes would forget I even had one on.  Looking down for no particular reason, my whole body began to shake realizing the ring was gone.  I panicked.  I tried to backtrack my day, “Yes, on before I got into the car”….realizing that somewhere along the drive, my last remaining physical tie to my father was lying somewhere on the ground.

Have you ever been so anxious or restless about a problem, dilemma, or seemingly unsolvable problem?   You’ll begin to realize the feeling I had as I spent the next two weeks conducting the world’s most extensive search.  I felt I had let my father down within a matter of months.  Irresponsible.  Inattentive.  The last words of my mother lingering in my mind, “Your father will get that ring back to you” amid my search.  I respected the optimism of my mother, however somewhere I knew this was an unrealistic conclusion to a very devastating incident.

The phone rings early on, and I can tell my Mother is excited.  Laughing, I begin, “Okay, so what’s -”   “Harry Jr.”, listen!  Sit down, seriously sit down.  Listen, now, I am serious, really listen.  A lady came by looking for a car…

That was right, a lady had come by looking for a car seeing my Dad’s lot full of cars, parts, and every other piece of machinery on the property.  What didn’t quite sink in yet was the fact that she had been by earlier that day, her son in the car.  Her son feeling suddenly sick, she pulled off to the side of the road.  Before anything did occur, (You know where I’m going with this, don’t you?!) he sees something shiny in the weeds.  He reaches out and low and behold, a ring!  I silver ring!  He pockets it.

“So you see Ma’am, when we came by the first time, no one was here, we decided to stop back.  It wasn’t until on the way back that my son told me about finding this ring.”

“May I see that ring, please?”  “Oh for heaven’s sake!”

I don’t know the expression that my mother received on her face, and I can’t even imagine or remember what I looked like in hearing this story.  I remember the sobs we both had over the phone, the jags that hit me in waves, unbelieving, wanting to so much, but receiving answers that were beyond my comprehension.   “What would have made this unknown, never been to my father’s place individual bring up this story at all?  What were the chances her car pulled off on the side of 11 plus miles of road in the exact spot where lay probably the most valuable item on earth?  What were the chances this individual arrived at my father’s place once, and would return again, with this ring, with the honesty of her son?”

To this day, I can say no more about this story, I literally find my mind stopping at this point.  However, I see things in such a more of an optimistic light.  Greater than luck, fate, or coincidence, I have realized that there are so many things about life that are precious.  The people that surround us are often taken for granted, as well as situations.  Most individuals contribute half their ability towards achieving things, or going after things they deem valuable, be it personal goals, hurdles at work or home, relationships, taking the time to reflect.  However, things will never slow my appetite to achieve what is most important to me in life, friends, family, a healthy relationship, a sense of stopping enough to enjoy the achievements around me.

To me, life is symbolic of this circular ring.  All things will come full circle if we just let it.  Quoting complete coincidence, the famous chronicles “The Lord of the Rings” peaked during this particular time in my life.  Easily drawn in to the comparisons of the ring, I was able to still value and hold true to the above mentioned values I seemed to inherit.

 

Thank you Dad.

Harry Brake

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Change the Perspectives That Surround You

Taking a break and giving the canines a break from the all day road trip in isolation and on the road, and in state parks from yesterday. Some revealing moments:
 
Sad to see so much trash on a small beach at St. Augustine – a small family on the beach on the other side- no one picking up trash and then seeing me doing so they began. Made me feel good to see example leads to another example, makes me sad to see even the smallest beach having plastic bottle caps, broken plastic straws, and so much trash crammed between rocks that could not be unlodged and stuck between rocks – trash and garbage we can control DOES make a difference. There even was a garbage bag left, I picked up and started putting garbage in, and found that it was collecting back on the ground – a hole in the bottom! LOL. If I can pick up garbage, with three dogs pulling me in all directions, and disinfect afterwards, residents of their own precious areas can do the same. Now people can change how they see their own areas they live in, and for the better.
Driving past services it was warming to see everyone was keeping the social distance, individuals pulling up  Woodland Beach in Smyrna and watching the tide and water roll in from their vehicles,  individuals on a trail in any park respecting distance and taking extra precautions when in the open, individuals dashing in and out of a food or essential need area, actually aware of their surroundings, the people in those surroundings, and the relationship between those two-
and then not so in other places. 
Lines wrapping around the corner of the Dover Rita’s touching each other, not even 30 millimeters between them made me extremely sad
Seeing young people gather in the parking lot at Woodland Ferry park and getting out of their fixed up cars, 8, 9, 10 people, it was scary how people can act as nothing is happening on a sunny day, let alone a cold and cloudy day as well.
Acts that seem against what will help increase the futile feelings others can pass on as fast as the coronavirus.  Positive actions, positive modeling will spread as fast as a potent virus, or antidote, and I hope as numbers increase negatively, more actions by others and the realizations that this is real – and will hurt others around us, create a sense of empathy and positive reaction to those modeling actions others will be willing to exhibit, for the better of others.
Hearing the actions of others, reverting to coughing, throwing slurs and comments at others- this is not the action that causes positive change or advances progress of a county, but of select groups of individuals.  This is not who we want to be as a nation, and applies to everything, from cleaning up our areas and doing something positive during this pandemic, following better actions to encourage others to do so, and simply showing compassion and actions that will change a culture of perception for years to come, let alone for the time being.  Much can be done during a period of tragedy, all coming down to how we decide to perceive ourselves and others and how we want those perceptions to surround us, and even define us.
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Don’t Let Bad Times Required Fail to Change Your Paradigm

Wow.  Therefore, we are all in a situation where we have never found ourselves. As a result, there is much we will learn, wish we would have learned, and find out about each other and of course ourselves.  I thought it fitting to share some of the realizations that have forced their way to my front door, often uninvited.

Schedules are what you make of them.  I have already had days where I laid around until 12:00 or later, relished them, but then later than night felt refreshed to have a schedule of making the best use of my time.  Definitely, I have always had the problem of learning to slow down, those are a change for me, YET, it makes a world of difference to have a section of each day to be priceless in getting things done I wished I would have days ago. Schedules made by ourselves make a huge difference in our mental and physical state for sure.

Librarians and libraries.  You probably know my soapbox but it seems to take at risk situations for a certain majority to realize, librarians, true librarian do not survive or behind stacks of books.  In the last 5 days, I have helped plan, strategize, and implement media and tools for educators all over the world, as well as other librarians all around the world have done.  Yes schools need librarians, yes schools need real libraries, yes librarians are masters of connecting, creating, strategizing, implementing, and that much more – and work especially well when paired with admin and educators that believe together, anything can be remedied.  Fresh air can be brought into the stereotypes of what education can look like when creativity and restrictions take place. It should not remain a situation as we find ourselves in to find the net worth of what someone with the training – usually a Master’s and then some, who is trained to make those all of a sudden connections, is valued.  Librarians are more than book sitters and hopefully, institutions and individuals will look at the profession differently. The connections that librarians are able to make, (this site is a collaboration of hundreds of librarians from across the world) – ends up supporting hundreds others.  People should rely and lean and refer to public and school librarians, and value them so much more when it comes to planning than is already the case.

Radio. Last night I was listening to a psychological focus on YouTube videos, televisions, and people in general – The Lure of Living through Others.

Finding ourselves outside of technology is vital, even when dangerous pandemics, and when not, face us. It is sad we have to be forced to find those things that are simple, quiet, and meaningful amid a society where Tweets, Tik Toks reign supreme, but hopefully this realization that technology as a side note, not the main manuscript, and people and the relationships real time matter more.  I like the fact that radio and traditional tools of voice, podcasts, Listening, these carry more substance than much “artificialness” technology can bring, and often not realized until later.

Difference of opinion that result in short-sight judging, falling into politics, issues, races, genders, immigration, you name it, it sucks.  Individuals are individuals no matter where located.  Often superiority to be ahead sacrifices the lives of others.  In talking with a friend in Argentina, lacks of fresh water, financial destruction, atrocious human rights violation, deaths next door and much worse seem to slip by oblivious to most people not from specific areas.  Animals disappear forever, climates become irreversible, individuals in other countries begin to matter less than what happens to ourselves and the ultimate result become a slow reduction in compassion for humanity.  It is vital we regain a more open thought and open window of awareness for others outside of our own selfish selves, to regain a balance for the things we hold dearly close to us.  I do see opportunities where individuals can come with terms to do things like can improve these actions, from helping neighbors needing supplies that are older, needing food, not hoarding, being generous and reaching out to those beyond our borders, not laying blame for things that happen on others, to resisting negative rhetoric; we are all in this together. Acting on that same phrase is a very vital step in order to improve the very things in the world we see disappearing around us.

It does alarm me the lack of concern of distance, etc.  In taking the dogs to several parks, several people wanted to come right up to me, pet the dogs and stand right beside me, aside from going into stores and people not being alarmed when they touch my fingers, wrist, etc and well, sorry, that just alarms me. It paints a larger picture of how bad things can become when individuals do the opposite of what I see in the paragraph above, a careless abandon of anything that does not seem to sit well with their view of looking at things.  The world, and what can happen is larger than we were.  Once many more people act these realizations on, things will change around us, and for the better.  Be it the way people see each other through divisive opinions, views of what librarians do and can do, being more open-minded of what our actions do to others here and afar, or simply being better people with superficial things stripped away, there is much in the positive arena that can be achieved.  There is much to be learned by opening our minds, supporting each other, and often doing what are sacrifices temporary, that will have much better long-lasting impacts.  Often students have the short vision syndrome, which is unable to see beyond the class at hand, and this often is due to awful conditions they have had to endure, OR, simply not being taught to thing that way.

In a unplanned turn of events, each of us, needs to realize, it is okay to look after how we best can protect ourselves, but also how our actions and thoughts affects others.  How we can live our best life that helps others do the same as well is an investment in others and ourselves a double bonus.  In turn a ripple that will start in our Own North Americas, will spread to Canadian, Latin American, South American borders.  America is more than 50 states, it is several others countries.  Compassion and action, through rhetoric and acts should not simply stop at our own concerns, but we have an exciting opportunity, through some scary times as well, to LEARN, and take time we have on our hands to figure out ways to learn these things and help others learn these things.  We all are students and teachers if we choose to be, and in turn, it will renovate what we know as the largest classroom of all, our world.

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Healthy Gaming – One Solution to Homebound Gaming – Isolating It is Not

One element of school that many are finding when at home is gaming. I know many associate unhealthy screentimes to gaming, but I thought – What if games existed that tied into educational branches we see at school Is it possible?  I touched base with a  gamer and she helped me brainstorm free and interesting options out there that many might not be aware of.
Contrary to popular opinion, gaming is a social activity.  As active gamer FeralF0XX goes on to say,
Many people believe most gamers are antisocial and exclude interactions, yet we all communicate vocally or through chats online. MMOs (Massively Multiplayer Online games) require teamwork after joining a specific group in order to run through missions or obtain online resources to craft items.”
Some examples of free gaming that delve into various categories are below:
“What’s interesting is the different factions/syndicates that players choose from to obtain exclusive rewards.
I found each syndicates objectives depends on the players beliefs and personalities.”
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HISTORY article on Games Involving History
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An excellent collection of games here – from becoming an Amazon tree to music-based rhythm games!
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WOW!  “When Rivers Were Trails is a 2D adventure game in which Oregon Trail meets Where the Water Tastes Like Wine. An Anishinaabeg in the 1890’s is displaced from their traditional territory in Minnesota and heads west to California due to the impact of allotment acts on Indigenous communities, facing Indian Agents, meeting people from different nations, and hunting, fishing, and canoeing along the way as they balance their wellbeing.”
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A ton of cool alternatives to history here!
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What games have you found?  What games are free, safe, and educational?  Please comment your suggestions! 

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JUST.

libraryMarch 16, 2020, a birthday that will live in infamy.  Knowing my day was occurring on a day that will be know in the middle of Coronavirus – honestly I had no idea what to think about this.  The one word that kept coming into my mind was the word JUST.  ( I was just trying to figure out how I would put together a proposal of why our school library is one of the best libraries for a contest).

“Libraries aren’t just for books. They’re often spaces that transform into what you need them to be: a classroom, a cyber café, a place to find answers, a quiet spot to be alone. It’s actually kind of magical. This week, we have stories of people who roam the stacks and find unexpected things that just happen to be exactly what they required.“ – This American Life podcast – The Room of Requirement

Libraries in my life have been hallowed ground, not JUST storing houses for information, books, etc, but places of refuge or a place where I could belong, where I did not fit in anywhere else.  As I grew up, I saw so many JUSTS in others, and wanted to help them find what their JUST was, or where they could find it.  I hoped they would find the library as a center where they can come and find their JUST and realize, sometimes a JUST is perfect and sometimes it does not have to be JUST as well.  My JUSTS are libraries are not just book depositories, they are not JUST quiet places for work- Libraries ARE JUST for everyone, just because there IS something in every nook and cranny for ANYONE, JUST if the person that is the librarian believes in an open minded purpose of the library and JUST if the patrons that come into a library will JUST believe there can be more 🙂

Coronavirus is not JUST a passing fad, when you see the statistics in other countries of the numbers slowly start to take off.  It is easy to think so when you see our schedules that seem to be breaks, and not for the deeper reasons.  Deeper reasons emerge when you JUST think about others, of the age bracket most affected, that are part of our own family.  When I hit the fifth grocery store, counting Family Dollars, seeing that shelves were empty of toilet paper, anything disinfectant, Orange Juice and tons more (yes Ramen noodles) and thought – I am glad I already had toilet paper and wondered couldn’t JUST one place basic supplies and a deeper thought hit me – I wish that so many people would JUST think of others when it came to leaving something behind – anything behind for others- it made me sad to come across this realization.

Couldn’t it be possible to JUST have a birthday that did not fall on a time period that many had to be self quarantining? Then I realized that was as selfish as earlier wishing for the fact that so many others did not horde everything I could not find on those very shelves.  I did JUST have the best birthday thanks to the 90+ family / friends that stopped during their day and wished me Happy Birthday.  It could have been the loudest birthday, it could have been the quietest birthday, but I realized for many nonvisible reasons, it was JUST a very very good day to have a birthday.

I have loved noticing that there is a line between being JUST a teacher and being an educator.  I love that ANYONE can be JUST a teacher and others can be more than JUST a teacher, and I found these people in all professions.  JUST sometimes, the not so obvious is right in front of us.  It could be hidden from us from stereotypes or prior beliefs or lack of those. Some of the best Educators are those individuals that take the time to let you share a portion of what they know, sharing more time with you, pulling from life aspects that are really there and easy to relate to, taking the time to stress the importance on a  a personal and educational level, than individuals known JUST as teachers. 

There are a hundred more JUSTS waiting for us to turn from negatives to positives. What are yours JUSTS on this wonderful St. Patrick’s Day?

 

 

 

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