August: learnings

Joining Emily P. Freeman again to share things I’ve learned in August. If you’d like to read what she and others have learned in August, or share your own list, click on this button to go over to the link-up on her blog, Chatting at the Sky:

What-we-learned-in-August1. I learned about a level of strategy I never imagined in baseball — not that I’ve spent much time imagining about baseball — from this segment of NPR’s Fresh Air, interviewing record-winning pitcher Jamie Moyer. Did you know that body language and psychological strategies come into play on the baseball diamond? It made me want to go watch a game — huh? — so I could watch for this stuff.

2. I learned a little bit about how oil wells work, curtesy of my oil-field-working engineer brother. The names of things — derrick, block, gun — didn’t stick too well, but I could sketch some processes for you. And I gained a new appreciation for what people have figured out how to do: I mean, I would never, NEVER have figured out how to dig down multiple thousands of feet, get machines down there, and get the stuff I wanted out of the ground without ever going into the ground myself.

3. I learned that according to some estimates, there are as many as 25,000 converts to Christianity in China per day. Praise the Lord!

4. I learned that, on any ordinary Tuesday afternoon, a mid-sized raccoon may be digging up a yellow-jackets’ nest in the woods, and you may startle it on your afternoon walk, and find out what the interior of a yellow-jackets’ nest looks like when pulled out in the open. I shouldn’t have been surprised that these ground-dwellers are as orderly and amazing as the bees, wasps, and hornets which build above ground, but I was.
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5. I learned from — and was convicted by — this article by black evangelical pastor Brian Loritts, in response to the racial situation in Ferguson, Missouri this month: “We will never experience true Christian unity when one ethnicity demands of another that we keep silent about our pain and travails. The way forward is not an appeal to the facts as a first resort, but the attempt to get inside each others skin as best as we can to feel what they feel, and understand it. Tragedies like Ferguson are like MRIs that reveal the hurt that still lingers. The chasm that exists between ethnicities can only be traversed if we move past facts and get into feelings.”  Start that journey over the chasm by reading his article, and the others in the series.

6. I found — didn’t learn — this, what my daddy used to do when I was a little girl. So cool. (Also fun was watching it with him, feeling him get tense beside me: twenty years later it still makes him excited!)

7. I learned some of this semester’s students’ names and faces, and found some of other semesters’ students in this semester’s classes. I’m learning which ones prefer to be called by middle names, or by last names, or by nicknames.

8. I learned that the books from which I’m teaching this semester — including two hefty anthologies — plus various other teaching supplies make for a ponderous book bag.

9. I learned a good bit about ISIS — The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria [or the Levant] — this month: the things they’ve been doing — beheadings, and car bombs, and persecution of minorities — the things they want to do — establish a caliphate. They aren’t pleasant things to learn, but they are necessary.

10. I learned that when the power is off on a summer’s Sunday morning, my church meets in the fellowship hall, which has big windows and multiple doors for ventilation.

11. I learned that I like the espresso granitas served by my favorite local coffee shop, just in time, of course, for them to stop running their month-long $2 granita special. But they may make my list of occasional indulgences hereafter . . . .

12. I learned again that a larger-than-usual expenditure of enthusiasm on the first day of classes goes a long way in making students expect to enjoy even English courses. (But it is also a little bit exhausting for this introvert.)

13. And I learned again that wearing high heels all day makes my feet hurt. (So, while I like the extra importance and height they give me when I meet my students, I probably won’t be using them often this semester.)

The list could go on and on, but I’ll stop here, grateful again for grace which allows me to keep on learning things.

©2014 by Stacy Nott

4 thoughts on “August: learnings

  1. TJ says:

    The line “Tragedies like Ferguson are like an MRI reveal that hurt still lingers.” So true about all relationships not just between races. I is something for me to think about. Blessings on the beginning of your school year from one teacher to another. Luckily I know most of my students’ names since I teach at a small school. It can in handy since I have a talkative bunch this year.

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