Awesome Stories 308

This week Awesome Stories brings you better teaching, preserving silence, miracle messages, and comfort cases.

Better Teaching

In this article, Parker Palmer shares what he had learned as a teacher, educator and group facilitator. His core premise is that teachers need to bring their whole person to their teaching. In most education systems the personal is discouraged as somehow bad or interfering with the objective truth. I agree with Parker, that in fact bringing our whole person to the role adds a level of truth, learning and inspiration that is too often missing in our current educational programs. Additionally, he talks about the need for listening to our inner teacher as the best source of wisdom for both teaching and life. This is what he calls the heart of teaching. What about you? Would you rather have a teacher who brings their unique person to the role or strictly teaches the facts?

The Sounds of Silence

Silence is not the absence of something, but the presence of everything. ~ Gordon Hempton

silence, Awesome StoriesI find this a beautiful definition of silence. Silence, especially in nature, fills me to the brim, flowing with aliveness. Gordon has been studying silence for years in the Northwest wonderland of the Olympic National Park. I visited there many years ago and was struck by both the lushness and the quiet. It is the largest temperate rainforest in the Western Hemisphere. Like myself, Gordon has a passion for nature and silence. As an acoustic ecologist, he is a champion of silence, asking us to protect areas from acoustic pollution in his project called One Square Inch of Silence. More and more, we have no spaces that we can be away from the lights and sounds of civilization. I yearn for those places and hope enough of us want to protect the precious areas like the Hoh Rainforest of the Olympic National Park where we can reconnect with nature, silence, and our souls. And I agree with Gordon that we protect what we love.

Miracle Messages

Kevin Adler started Miracle Messages to help bring more awareness to the challenges of living on the streets. Kevin’s compassion for the homeless grew from having an uncle who lived on the streets for many years due to challenges with schizophrenia. Kevin wanted to not only raise awareness but help the homeless be seen as more human; neighbors going through a tough time. They use technology to create video Miracle Messages from these people to facilitate reunions with lost family and friends. Lack of social support is often a more critical challenge than housing for people living on the streets. They are building a network of chapters around the country with volunteers to outreach, create videos, and facilitate reunions. If you want to help, you can find out if they have a chapter in your area.

Comfort Cases

Having experienced the pitfalls of foster care himself, Rob Scheer is an outspoken advocate for foster children and system reform. Disturbed by the prevalence of children carrying around their possessions in trash bags, Rob created Comfort Cases to make sure foster kids in the Washington DC area are provided with a backpack filled with both necessities and comfort items like teddy bears. Their charity went from providing about 300 kits in 2013 to donating 25,000 last year. The most touching part is Rob’s passion as a parent and advocate for foster children, as well as more inclusive ideas for what makes a family.

May your week be full of silence, support, and family. Blessings, Brad

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36 thoughts on “Awesome Stories 308

  1. Great stories this week, Brad, thanks so much for sharing them. 🙂
    After being involved in education for 11 years while working at my daughter’s school, I fully agree with the idea of teaching from the whole person – those are the teachers who truly make a difference and make a lasting impression in the lives of children.
    And I love, love, love the Hoh Rainforest! I’ve been there on three different occasions, and omygosh it’s one of the most wonderful places! ❤
    I also enjoyed the story on Miracle Messages – stories that involve outreach to the homeless always touch my heart.
    And of course, I loved the Comfort Cases story too, bless people like Rob Scheer…

    Liked by 2 people

    • My pleasure Julie. I believe inspiring stories feed our mind and soul, reminding us of the goodness and potential within us all. I bet you learned a lot about education working on the inside. I agree about the Hoh Rainforest; it’s beautiful, lush and so quiet! Thanks for your support and friendship. blessings, Brad

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Bring me the sound of silence especially out in Nature any day Brad.. and I loved that Quote I will come back for the video’s my friend as I skip and hop along here in WP as I log back in today for a couple of hours only.. 🙂 xxx Mega Hugs my dear friend.. Have an Awesome Weekend.. ❤ Hugs your way Sue

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  3. Love that quote on silence Brad. Makes me think of composer John Cage’s book on silence and his quote “Every something is an echo of nothing”. Have you ever heard his piece 4’33”? Amazing live- the conductor queues the orchestra/ensemble as she/he would for any piece and then they sit in silence for 4’33”. I’ve seen it a few times and it’s always a different experience- so much truth in “Silence is…the presence of everything” Also, I visited Hoh Rainforest in April last year and am planning a return visit- just so stunning. And the silence there is palpable. I got some amazing recordings and ‘downloads’ there, just amazing! Wishing you a wonderful weekend!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Wonderful Laura. I have heard of this conductor, but not sat for the full 4’33” in silence. Maybe I’ll surrender and do it! Those places of silence and beauty like the Hoh Rainforest nurture my being, as well as sitting with the silence of my soul. Thanks for sharing your heart.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow! I feel my day has just started… Your soul is floating on this beautiful river of our togetherness…

    Wonderful stories touching my heart… of course, I found deeply similar convictions with that teacher…’The COURAGE TO TEACH® is the courage to keep one’s heart open in those very moments when the heart is asked to hold more than it is able, so that teacher and students and subject can be woven into the fabric of community that learning, and living, require.’ Can anybody say it better? I’ll print it!!!

    Lovely stories, dear Brad! Warm hugs

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I LOVE the Comfort Cases story. So inspirational. And Olympic National Park looks breathtaking! As far as teaching: yes, I agree. It’s so hard in our current system to bring “the whole self” into it – me being an INFP, while I enjoy my job, I’m always thinking about how to start an orphanage in Kenya. That last statement is hyperbole, but still: I’m always wanting to see what’s next and it’s hard to settle. But in the same vein, it gives me lots of enthusiasm for things. 🙂 Hope you’ve had a good weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for caring so deeply Cynthia, and your work to improve your life and those of your students, friends, family, women, etc. :). My “work” is mostly writing these days, with occasional outreach in person. blessings, Brad

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  6. You have touched on some of the most important elements of society…The teachers I remember well are the ones that brought their whole soul and being into their work. They inspired with their enthusiasm for their subject and life in general. As a teacher myself, I find that when one gives all….we the teachers receive and learn so much in turn.
    Silence is golden…and indeed it is.
    As homelessness becomes more and more evident everywhere – we are beginning to realise as societies that homeless people are not some separate breed….in fact that most of us are just a hop skip and jump from being homeless! We need to ‘see’ people who have fallen on hard times as ‘like us’ – not something other.
    As for children in care….yes, they must be treated with the same dignity and respect that we would give our own children….we need to do this for them and for society at large.
    As always a thought provoking post. Thank you so much – and hope you enjoy the week ahead…janet. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. All of your articles are great….best teachers (yes thankfully plural) that i had brought their whole person to the classroom…huge difference!! I couldn’t agree more with the silence of nature….so very peaceful and spiritual!! Thanks for sharing about foster children…I had no idea and I love the homeless “Miracle Message” …an entire piece of society often ignored…great post Brad!!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Inspiring messages again, Brad! I particularly loved the silence project. Fascinating. And on teaching, I definitely think that bringing in the person, both for the teacher and the students provides for much more complete learning. Great post 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Thanks for your hard work providing us with these incredible stories from week to week, Brad!! I particularly liked the definition of silence…it really spoke to me. Hope your Monday started off super and that you will have a peaceful week full of love and light ♡

    Liked by 1 person

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