Educate yourself

This morning I was getting frustrated as I tried to discern what I might write about. There are so many things going on now like the coronavirus and its consequences. About the fossil fuel industry and the stimulus package. About change and the future. The Wet’suwet’en struggles. On top of that, trying to figure out the answer to a database/software problem for the lab in Indianapolis. I was beginning to think this might be one of those days I wouldn’t have anything to write about.

Then I came across a video by Lance Foster about educating yourself. I don’t have permission to share that video, but you can find it on Lance’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/lancemfoster

It seems he has been speaking about the book “30 Days to Better Thinking and Better Living Through Critical Thinking. A Guide for Improving Every Aspect of Your Life” by Linda Elder, Richard Paul.  Today he was talking about Day 29 Educate yourself.

He was talking about critical thinking and life long learning. Those of us who attended Scattergood Friends School and Farm recognize, often later in life, what a great education we got there. We learned about living in community, and making decisions as a community. We learned practical skills on our crews, like baking bread, farming, pruning trees, etc. And learned how to organize our work and cooperate with others.

We actually talked about life long learning a lot. Our teachers taught us the skills we would use after we left Scattergood to educate ourselves for the rest of our lives.

In today’s video Lance spoke of how few people were really educated. Among the things he said was how important it is to explore outside your own culture. To read widely. But beyond that, to be aware of our own framework of ideas, and integrate each new thing we learned into our own internal library. I realized that is what I’ve been doing as I write my blog posts. Critically examining what is going on around me. Creating a digital library of hundreds of blog posts and the things I quote, ideas I explore in those writings.

I continue to add to an actual digital library I have using the Microsoft tool OneNote. There I have a table of contents, listing each blog post and a link to the post online. The table of contents also contains a link to that blog post that is saved within One Note. As you can see above, there are tabs across the top of the notebook to allow you to organize what you save in the notebook by categories, just like a physical notebook with tabs.

Following is an example of the OneNote page for yesterday’s blog post., “Using our truth against their guns. We walk softly.”

There is also a Clipping Tool that will capture something you want to save from an external source, like web page.

That is how I create a notebook of articles of interest to refer to when I write.


Switching topics a bit, the reason Lance’s Facebook post caught my attention this morning is because I recognized his name. He spoke at a conference I attended, the National Network Assembly. He open the assembly sessions by acknowledging the land we were meeting on (at the Des Moines Y Camp near Boone, Iowa). The last thing he said, asked us to do, was to make friends with a tree.

I did, and the following is what I wrote about that.


I just returned from an amazing event, the National Network Assembly, held at the Des Moines YMCA Camp near Boone, Iowa. From information about the Assembly we received ahead of time, I knew I wouldn’t have WiFi or cell phone access, so I didn’t even bring my laptop. As I mentioned in yesterday’s post though, there were so many things I wanted to write about and I was missing my (nearly) daily writing, so I wrote two blog posts by hand.

As I sat in Quaker Meeting yesterday, at Bear Creek Friends meeting, which is in a rural setting, surrounded by trees, the image of my tree friend appeared, illuminated by the Inner Light.

One thing we talked about at Meeting yesterday was the upcoming ceremony of the planting of two memorial trees on the grounds of the meetinghouse to honor the memories of a married couple who were members and elders of our community.

Bear Creek Friends Meeting

Please Note: Since I wrote this, Lance Foster told me the land was Ioway land before the Dakota or Meskwaki were there.

https://jeffkisling.com/2019/08/26/my-tree-friend/

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