Saturday, June 9, 2012

Imaginary Book Club: Walking Drum

I miss reading books with my home school friends. I have a book club here in China, but it's not the same, and of course nothing can compare to the legendary HAPE Group. Anyway, my antidote to this current lack is to share my random thoughts here about the book I just finished reading and writing about.

What is it about some stories that feel soo beyond normal, and yet connect they so profoundly with life? Maybe it takes a story that is beyond normal to pull normal out of it's doldrums into something more profound.

Mathurin Kerbouchard reminds me of Thoreau, though partly because a friend just told of finishing Walden. He has great insights, but so many of his life goals are so different from mine . . . And yet so much the same.

Here's some quotes I really liked. I'd love to hear your thoughts on any of these:

"To get my money back would not be enough. They had taken months of my life, and for this they would pay. For who is content to get only his capital back from an investment? There must be profit also." (Kindle Locations 641-643) This idea that anything we don't like can be an investment has been enlightening and empowering to me in helping me overcome some really dumb habits.

Another way to know someone by their fruits: “You have made a powerful enemy, but a man may be judged by who his enemies are, and their power.” (Kindle Locations 1694-1695)

“Trust your instincts. Life teaches us much of which we are not aware. Our senses perceive things that do not impinge upon our awareness, but they lie dormant within us and affect our recognition of people and conditions. But you must be patient. In impatience there is danger." (Kindle Locations 1734-1735) This quote reminds me of Market-Based Education and makes me wonder what the implications are for teachers.

"stop nowhere without finding a way out, a means of escape." (Kindle Location 1899) I've pondered this one a great deal as well in my daily life.

“Explorers and discoverers are often those who draw attention to what simple people have been doing for years. I doubt if any land has ever been found where some hunter, fisherman, or trader had not been before.” (Kindle Locations 3016-3017) So it's really the simple people who lead out and the explorers and discoverers just follow them. I wonder what the simple people are discovering today?

“I dare say anything,” I replied more cheerfully, “because I have a fast horse." (Kindle Location 4372) Just a really great quotable quote.

"Civilization was born of curiosity, and can be kept alive in no other way." (Kindle Locations 4473-4474) There are so many great quotes about learning in this book. I can't cite them all.

"There is no cause worth dying for that is not better served by living." (Kindle Location 4533) I agree with this quote IF what we are dying for dies also. Otherwise, I disagree. If we die that something else can live, then it is worth dying. What that 'something' may be, which could be a variety of things only God understands.

"the spirit of inquiry was alive here, and where it has a free existence, ignorance cannot last." (Kindle Locations 4544-4545) All learning begins in freedom and with questions.

"How much could I tell them? How much dared I tell them? What was the point at which acceptance would begin to yield to doubt? For the mind must be prepared for knowledge as one prepares a field for planting, and a discovery made too soon is no better than a discovery not made at all." (Kindle Locations 4553-4555) This appears to be one of the most crucial questions a teacher should ask themselves.

“Study, Julot, gain prestige, and people will ask you solemnly for advice about things of which you know nothing.” (Kindle Locations 4659-4660) My internal cynic loves this one.

“That drum has been our pulse, and often have I wondered what it is that starts the drum of a man’s life to beating? For each of us walks to the beat of our own drum, an unheard rhythm to all our movements and thought." (Kindle Locations 5748-5750) This begs the question of 'What drum am I walking to???'

"EVIL COMES OFTEN to a man with money; tyranny comes surely to him without it." (Kindle Location 6150) I wonder if there are other things that keeps a man from tyranny besides just money? This entire book is about how learning can keep tyranny at bay.

“There are always the shores beyond, for this have the gods given to men: that we shall always have those farther shores, always a dream to follow, always a sea for questing. For in this only is man great, that he must seek what lies beyond the horizons, and there is an infinity of horizons that lie ever waiting. Only in seeking is man important, seeking for answers, and in the shadow he leaves upon the land.” (Kindle Locations 6273-6276) This quote epitomizes why this book drives me nuts in some says. Literally, I completely disagree with this. Figuratively, I completely agree. Nuts.

"Our lives hold a veil between anticipation and horror. Anticipation is the carrot suspended before the jackass to keep him moving forward. Horror is what he would see if he took his eyes off the carrot.” (Kindle Locations 6460-6462) AND another one for my cynic. It makes me laugh.

“The mob always wishes to make its hero the emperor, but no sooner is he emperor than they have another hero they wish in his place." (Kindle Locations 6465-6466) This reminds me of all the fads that people cling to, particularly fads from experts like what drugs are safe, how to parent, and what conspiracy theory will destroy us next.

There was once a man who preferred to visit a city before he learned the language. He believed he could better estimate its quality before hearing the comments of its citizens. He depended on what he could see, hear, and sense.” (Kindle Locations 6572-6574) AND some people get to learn this whether they want to or not. ;)

"He who would see a far land must carry the far land in his heart. The heat, dust, and struggle are a part of it; these were what made the beauties worth having." (Kindle Locations 6650-6651) This reminds me of Oliver DeMille's article, "Educational Pioneers" and Shadowlands. No joy or pain without the other, no progress without leaving something behind.

“To challenge the fates, that is living! To ride the storm, to live daringly, to live nobly, not wasting one’s life in foolish, silly risks, or ruining the brain with too much wine, or with hashish!" (Kindle Locations 7462-7463) One thing I love about this legend is that it challenges me to see my humble life, where even living in China, my biggest challenge isn't China but trusting God and being humble and loving my children and my fellow man, as a grand adventure.

"The weak can be terrible when they wish to appear strong" (Kindle Location 8003) Just a really good one to remember. We certainly see it a lot here in China.

"When one has lost his freedom it is always a long walk back." (Kindle Location 8082) Something to prepare for.

Love you, Keelee, Angela, & Deulene and all the others who joined that HAPE adventure!!


*L'Amour, Louis (2005-04-26). The Walking Drum. Random House, Inc.. Kindle Edition. 

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