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Thursday, May 28, 2009


In youth we learn; in age we understand.

~ Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach ~

(1830-1916, Austrian novelist)

Aye, ‘struth!!!

(My Auld Pop always said there were two truths :the proud man’s truth –always flawed- and God’s truth; hence ‘Struth or God’s Truth which is more emphatic and certain!)

We must hesitate to say which is ours!

Aletheia (ἀλήθεια) is the Greek word for "truth” which means "unhidden; or self-evident. ".

So some truths are so strong that they are, or ought to be , self-evident. The Latin translation is VERITAS.

Aristotle defines truth 'to say what is true, and to say what is not true truly.' (Metaphysics 1011b)

Cicero, who was the coiner of many words we use today such as PERSON, HUMANITY, QUALITY, CONCEPT, was the among the first to use the Latin word veritas as a translation of aletheia .

Cicero said:

"Friendships are nurtured by veritas (truth), alliances by fides (good faith), close relationships by pietas (loyalty and steadfastness). "

(veritate amicitia, fide societas, pietate propinquitas colitur [Pro Quinctio 6.26)."

Virgil’s Aeneas was considered the model of a man with pietas (dutiful reverence and loyalty).

The Marines’ motto is SEMPER FIDELIS (always faithful) but PIA FIDELIS (dutifully faithful) would also have been a good motto as well. To a Highlander the good man was the Leal Mon or someone who was loyal and true no matter what. “Highland hearts are as true as Toledo steel” is an old saying I remember. Mar lann Toledo; like a Toledo blade.

A good Roman had to show pietas. (dutiful reverence and loyalty) towards his family, his country, and above all, piety (reverence) to the Gods.

As Aristotle knew there at least two wisdoms: PHRONESIS (knowledge and practical wisdom) and then SOPHIA (true and deep wisdom found rarely in those under 30.)

In youth we understand less than we think we know; in age we understand more fully the depth and width and pathos of our small bounded mortal lives.

Not all can be known though some things can be felt.

The young are bold as brass; the old cry HARK ALAS!

(If only I had more time…….)

With humility we learn at last that even the wise and the learned are at the beginning of knowledge and true wisdom.

One truth I have learned is that it is one thing to know and quite another to teach.

How difficult it is to know but even more difficult to teach what one knows!

We pitch ‘em but they have to hit ‘em. They have to WANT TO HIT ‘EM. Students must be exhorted to have the desire so that they can have the willingness to achieve –most have the ability that they need but many waste their opportunities out of what can only be described as false pride, stubbornness and willful ignorance.

Algunos se quedan con la carabina en el hombro my old Spanish teacher used to say; “some (students are like batters): they go back on their heels and take strike three with the bat on their shoulders.”

In other words they don’t put forward the effort they need to succeed. Inspiring them to make that effort to want to make that effort and even to want to sacrifice is part of what makes for good teaching.

Love what you teach. Love your school. Love the kids. Forgive a lot. Every day is a new day. Never give up. Understand that there will be bad days but stick to your guns. Accept that there will be losses, failures and disappointment. You can’t save everyone. Mother Theresa said it best: “God does not expect us to be successful only faithful.” If you do the right thing and do not give up you will get good results in the end.

You have to realize you are working for something much bigger that you are.

Education is a great unfinished task that will never be complete; God willing others will pick up the torch and carry on when your day is done. It is very satisfying to know that two of my own children want to be teachers and many of my students have chosen to be teachers.

And above all love the kids or get out of teaching.

Teaching is not a job it is a calling.

SO these are my final musings of the school year. One always learns a little bit more.

My last essays have been graded and the grades entered in not into a grade book but a mysterious collection of pixels on the computer screen. I still print out all my grades so as to double check what is in the machine. Sometimes I think computers have a mind of their own! Sometimes things just vanish but the printed screen is proof that I was not imagining things! So always double check and verify! Always have a backup!


Here’s wishing you all health, happiness and length of life!

Signing off from WEST HIGH SCHOOL for the summer in 48 hours.

I will be unplugging the computer May 30. And only God knows when I will plug it in again or where! (I am moving classrooms).

Off to Cincinnati June 9th to grade AP Spanish exams as I have for many years.


Packing up the old kit bag etc.

Richard (Ricardo) Munro

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