When we come to it

The Universe in Verse by May Angelou, read by astrophysicist Janna Levin

Follow along with the poem here at BrainPickings

When we come to it, our human truth, we understand the words of Maya Angelou:

In whose mouths abide cankerous words
Which challenge our very existence
Yet out of those same mouths
Come songs of such exquisite sweetness
That the heart falters in its labor
And the body is quieted into awe

We come to understand that we are all imperfect and cannot possibly be our best at all times. And even the worst of us have another side. Yesterday, I wrote about “More Than Kindness,” a conversation about being kind while still standing up for truth and justice for all humans, especially during this time since November, 2016. And I said that

 I can stand strong and kind at the same time

Sarah responded with this tweet on “How to Criticize Kindly,” a BrainPickings about philosopher Daniel Dennett’s four steps to understanding differences and finding common ground. Be sure to read it.

When I come to this, I remember learning about this idea so many years ago, and learning that the strategy is not to lead someone to your way of thinking, but rather to truly listen and state the ideas clearly, finding the common ground. From there, share the points that clarify one’s own ideas, and build together a solution of cooperation, compromise, or collaboration from the understanding gained by all sides.

I think this also relates to William Glasser’s Choice Theory, which reinforces the idea that we can only control our own behavior, so if we want to come to an understanding, then we need to listen to each other, and the needs we have for survival, love and belonging, power, freedom and fun. When finding common ground, these will be part of each of our “sides.”

When I come to this, I know building connections in contrasts can be through kindnesses as we share and discuss to bring our differences to understanding and working together.

When I come to this, I realize that Carl Sagan says this best:

When it comes to it, the astronomers who see us as a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam understand the truths most clearly — that we are all home on this place called earth; we need to come together in peace. As Maya’s poem calls on us:

When we come to it
We, this people, on this wayward, floating body
Created on this earth, of this earth
Have the power to fashion for this earth
A climate where every man and every woman
Can live freely without sanctimonious piety
Without crippling fear

And Carl Sagan reminds us [click for his entire quote– worth the read]:

And Anna creates her own version:

When it comes to it, we wait for the stars each night with a whisper someone sends on gentle branches of the heart and mind…

When it comes to it, we will create the world for the better–like this from Dogtrax: [link for story]

WC 507

About #MoDigiWri

This post is an invitation and a response to Anna’s Challenge invitation: More MoDigiwri! [More Digital Writing]

And here’s the challenge:

So, we’re inviting you to engage in a combo of these two challenges, writing digitally every day to jump start your writing… and sharing and responding to others who are doing the same!

The writing can be about anything and come in any formUse the hashtag #modigiwri if you want to help people find your posts!



on “When we come to it
4 Comments on “When we come to it
    • Great article Sarah! I think many teachers in the project/problem based learning circles have been instrumental in showing how the soft but essential skills can be taught, and perhaps assessed: it requires cooperative, collaborative, authentic inquiry. It’s a slower, more reflective learning cycle that encourages development of this skills through conversation, problem-solving, reflection, revision, and publishing. I’m sure Charlene Doland would have some suggestions; she knows a lot about PBL. I think it means we need to keep our education focused on learning and relationships– on the human elements rather than following set curriculum and mandates. I like one of Larry Ferlazzo’s recent tweet with a quote from Paulo Freire: http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2018/12/30/quote-of-the-day-wisdom-from-paulo-freire/ I think I’ll save this site for a later post. Thanks for the resource. ~ Sheri

  1. A poetic response:

    This Universe confounds us all
    with its beauty and wonder,
    and with the faith we place
    in knowing beyond what we see
    is something else entirely

    Always be ready to open your heart
    for what’s possible


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