Monday, November 16, 2015

The Creative Process as a Prism of the Divine in Humanity

Reason alone does not beget humanness. No matter how hard anyone may try, some observed or experienced phenomena may go observed or experienced beyond understanding. But what cannot be accounted for by the sciences or reason or logic can be, at least, expressed by the creative process. Specifically, creativity is that faculty of humanity that expresses within, as a part of, alongside of space/time, reaching and expanding, assessing and qualifying what science or mathematics or medicine cannot.
The creativity of which I write is to some degree undefinable. For, it deals with those things that cannot be wholly categorized plainly with words or numbers. Such is the purpose, for example, of poetry or painting: To express what otherwise could not be expressed. So it is with the things itself—that the creative process is inexpressible. Just as this faculty of humanity is undefinable, not wholly quantifiable, so is humanity within the spectrum of biological beings. Thus, this creative faculty borderlines divinity, setting humanity apart from the other eukaryotes.
A poem does have structure. A painting has qualities that can be judged. There are definable characteristics that help an imperfect, and somewhat defiled (we all carry junk) being make something not only beautiful but to which others can relate. We read a poem, we hear a melody, we watch an actor, and we are moved—touched. Not only is art (in this broad sense) a glimpse of something divine in humanity, nor does art just quantify and qualify what science or mathematics cannot, art connects, moves, mends; art can be a form of healing and a form of rebellion.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Homeschooling thoughts: first two weeks

It's only been two weeks of formal homeschooling, but things are going well. I have three: 1.5 year old Joe, 3 year old Brandt, and 5 year old Arri. My initial observations are as follows:

Every child needs specific attention, but every child can participate according to their aptitude. Joe may not be able to understand “less than” nor “greater than,” but he can watch, mimic, and help by holding materials. And that is what he needs at his stage of development. He needs to observe and mimic.

Understanding takes copious amounts of time and energy and patience. It is easy to force a 5 year old to memorize stuff. But sitting down with the number “4” and the number “5” written on a piece of paper and then “figuring out” what those symbols actually mean is difficult.

Intuitive understanding can be taken for granted. For example, is “4” a quantity or a reference; is it an amount or a point on a line? How do you “explain” this to a 5 year old? You can't. Rather, you discover what these numbers are and how they can be used through experimentation, play, and getting the answer wrong again and again and again. 

Your initial plan for the day may not work out as you desire; you will have to improvise. If Joe doesn't get his nap, he can be difficult to work with. I might have to adjust my schedule, maybe my whole lesson plan, to get him to corporate without degrading the quality of the other two's lesson. I can do this by rearranging some of the activities. For example, give them an art project to work on while I rock Joe.

Quality, not quantity. My primary goal is to prepare my children to be magnificent adults. A major part of this is developing the way my children think, not what they know. Many people know stuff; few know what to do with the information they have. Many people know how to access information; few know how to figure things out on their own. By providing an atmosphere, and guidance, in which my children are encouraged to discover and understand, they develop a foundation of understanding of concepts and principals and the skills needed to implement their understanding to gain knowledge.

Make chores apart of the education. Part of learning has to include character building; plus, life is made up of the mundane, every day things like doing the dishes or changing the oil. Having chores for each child teaches them to work and work hard if you hold them to that standard.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

The Winter Diet by Joseph Brock

With Thanksgiving and Christmas upon us, I know a lot of you are getting nervous about loosing muscle and building up fat this winter. It's hard to get out when it is cold, and the food—mm! Please pass me some more turkey and carrot cake (yes, I like it with raisins, and creamy, creamy, buttery frosting). Plus, the holiday season is busy—its hard hitting the gym every day. I've got a great diet that will help you stay stacked without gaining that unsightly gut.

Here's the short list: tofu, peas, avocado, greek yogurt, honey, blueberries, pineapple, turkey-bacon, sprouted-grain bread, steel-cut oats, coconut oil, raisins, bananas, lentils, salmon, and some locally sourced, fresh raw milk.

I like to start early—really early, around 2AM—with some breast milk. Then I sleep some more—got to get that rest to recover! For breakfast, I'll eat some oats (soaked over night in purified water and apple-cider vinegar) with raisins, honey, and coconut oil. And some more breast-milk. For lunch, I'll eat some lentils and peas and maybe a little bit of turkey-bacon, tofu, or cheese. I might or might not eat dinner. It depends on how I feel and how tired I am. A good dinner, if you aren't feeling a whole meal, is a green smoothy. Just throw in some organic soy-milk, mango, berries, kale, spinach, greek yogurt, and some stevia, switch on the Vitamix, and BAM—dinner. But I'll definitely drink some more breast-milk before I go to sleep.

I do make sure to eat consistently throughout the day. Research has shown that small consistent meals, rather than a few large meals, is better for digestion and recovery. I'll snack on some grapes, a banana, maybe a slice of bread or cheese, some yogurt or keifer, or some breast-milk. It just depends on the day's demands. And even though you are busy this holiday season, please make sure to get plenty of rest. I sleep at least 10 hours a night with an hour nap during the day. It will do wonders for your mood, your mind, and your body.