‘Houston, We have a Problem”

ImageHello from the Houston Hilton North,

I did not plan to be in Houston this morning, I had planned to be to my destination, although it was a circuitous way to arrive, I had booked the cheapest ticket I could, so I knew I would be in airports for the day. However, when I ended up on the plane that was 17th in line for takeoff from Newark things began to change. So in the words of the Apollo 13 astronaut, which was spoken so clearly by Tom Hanks, this morning I am blogging from Houston. I should finally get to my destination this afternoon. Unfortunately, I will get to do this again on Sunday, but I am hoping their are no traveling SNAFUs then. Otherwise, I will have a Monday nightmare on my hands for many and various reasons.

I was actually in the Houston area many years ago. It was when I was on the LYE team and we had made a north/south cross-country trek in Elmer, the Ford Econoline van. Both John and I ended up sick and we here headed from Birnamwood, WI to Nassau Bay, TX. I think I am relatively close to their now. Then I was 23  . . .  now, a lot older. I think it was a really nice area as I remember and I think we even played for some sort of wine and cheese function (party) of some kind. I think it was a fund raising things for a youth group.

Well, as I sat in my hotel room last evening trying to get organized, I read blogs. What I have learned about many of my students is when they are thoughtful and reflective, they are good writers. I have to ponder that over the weekend. I know they are struggling with this memoir paper and even with the map idea. Yet, when they think reflectively in their blogs some of their writing is very strong. What makes them comfortable in that venue. It is the length? Is it the topic (which they are allowed to choose as long as it is relevant to class)? Is it the repetition of being required to do it daily?

Before I left yesterday, on Wednesday, I spoke with the Interim Director of the Program. There are some concerns about the quality and commitment of a few students. I am somewhat stumped that a few seem to treat this as a six week vacation versus an opportunity to come to the university and have the opportunity to begin their education. Again, is it because they were psychologically under-prepared? Is it because a few merely are not ready for college? Is it because they have been coddled in the public school system (or is my perception of high school merely jaded and that does not happen?)? Or . . . . and I am just not sure why. I do want my students to succeed, but I also believe success is something we initiate; it is not thrust upon us. I do believe there are individuals who can assist out trek to become successful. In fact, I think very few actually do it on their own. However, for it to be lasting, there has to be discipline and consistency. There has to be a desire to reach for that which seems at times unattainable. I have had a few students ask if I knew I was going to be a professor someday. Never in my wildest dreams might I have imagined such a possibility in high school. Perhaps that was the problem. I had no dreams really. I had no idea who I was or where I was going. How do we provide that sense of dreaming in a manner that someone believes his or her dreams are possible? How is that ability and hope instilled in such a way that one merely see that dream as a challenge, and therefore, a reality versus an illusion? Something I guess I need to ponder today. I am hoping that I will always have a sense of dreaming and making those dreams reality, whether it be for me personally or in helping someone else achieve his or hers.

Thanks for reading.

Michael

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