January 6, 2016

Master Of His Own Destiny

Woke up this morning, first thing, to a comment from a cousin of a Facebook friend that made me reconsider my open public Facebook policy, in it’s sheer ignorance and biased view. It was so fundamentally false- the argument was so misguided, illogical, and simplistic that my first reaction was to ignore it and chalk it up to bi-partisan mudslinging.

The ideas of a stranger had somehow leaked into my feed, but that didn’t mean I had to engage. It was 5:50 in the morning, why did I need to explain to a stranger that Donald Trump’s ad about banning Muslims from the USA  was not okay, especially when he was saying things like, “And there is a law on the books that states that anyone that is a member of any organization that is contrary to the beliefs of the USA - freedom - can be banned from entering this country.”

But then I thought about it all morning. I didn’t want to be thinking about retorts and rebuttals, but my brain had caught fire and I couldn’t seem to find a way to put it out.

Because if I had a student who thought so simplistically, a student who argued so illogically, a student who felt so callously, a student who lived with such little understanding of the world and such lack of empathy, I would do everything I could to teach that student. For better to for worse this is the curse of the educator, we want to teach everyone we come across- even the random cousin of a Facebook friend we will never meet.

Our first reaction might be to label people who disagree with us as right-wing fanatics, or ignorant (fill in the blank), but if we get into the habit of doing that, then how are we different from the people who see liberals as some false stereo-type. At the end of the day we need to see people, who’s views are different to our way of thinking, as people who we need to engage with.

Anyway, as I was thinking all these thoughts my friend Bryan​ came in and saved the day, with one of the best rebuttals I have read in a while. It was clear, coherent, logical and dead-on. So I was saved from having to do my civic duty, which made me think how important it is that we work together to help educate the internet. No small feat, I know. But everytime someone spouts inaccurate information it is our collective civil duty to say something.


In school this happened during break before class. Two students came running into the classroom with their copies of Into The Wild and the following conversation took place:

“But why would he change his name?”
“Because that part of his life was dying?”
“But what does changing your name do?”
“His name symbolized everything he hated about the overly commercialized life he was forced to live by his parents and society. He needed to break free from that, so he needed a new name. See look it says it here on this page (pulls out book) ““no longer would he answer to Chris McCandless; he was now Alexander Supertramp, master of his own destiny” (He then waved the book around and sang, Master of his own Destiny a few times)
“Yeah, I get it. That must also be why he turned down the gift of the car from his parents. He didn't want what they were offering. He needed something else.”


Time hop reminded me that I began my experiment being vegan three years ago today. I feel pretty good. I love the line that Brighde​ once told me, “I am vegan 100% of the time, but I am successful 90% of the times."

Yes I cheat occasionally with the weirdest things- Krispie Kreme donuts and muffins at Starbucks, but for the most part I have been pretty good. The very thought of eggs, cheese or milk, makes me sick. Those damn baked goods, still haunt me.


I watched Obama’s speech on guns and cried at the end. I respect him more and more. He’s just a cool dude trying his damn best.

Sometimes I feel guilty for being too tired to properly spend time with my kids during the week. Are we just wasting their childhood and setting them up for the rat race?

There is a new salad bar at school that I am excited about trying tomorrow.

I have a girl in my class who is going through a hard time with a parent’s divorce and I complimented her on her writing today and she was so grateful that she was beaming. It made me very happy to be able to make her happy so easily.


Lessons Learned:

  • Politics are messy and engaging with people is tough but necessary. 
  • Kids get excited if you are excited. 
  • Compliments are so easy to give and do so much good. I should give them more often to everyone in my life. 


  1. What’s a political argument you rarely back away from? 
  2. Describe an exchange you witness that made you happy. 
  3. Tell us about a compliment that you gave that made someone’s day or one that you received. 

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