Thursday, August 6, 2009

michael, may you now be at peace: a reflection (no. 36)

today was a bit more of a challenging day... not necessarily because of anything specifically related to you; but at the same time it is related to you. with all of the excitement around being with kids, and all the spontaneity yesterday, i went back in the world with 'adults' (aka 'work'). i do really like where i work, but i admit that it's hard to deal with people, because of the culture of apology. PEOPLE APOLOGIZE TOO MUCH FOR THINGS THERE'S NO NEED TO BE SORRY FOR. i know i speak of the cycle of violence in more concrete terms; but this culture is so pervasive in a way which extends beyond the more obvious forms of violence.

where does this culture of apology come from? was there a place in our childhoods where we lost self-direction and autonomy? what place is this, where even in adulthood we need approval/validation/permission to do things THAT WILL NOT HINDER ANYONE ELSE? how did we become so self-wallowing as a culture, to the point where if there is no permission granted, then we feel we are somehow in the way, or causing harm? when did we lose our sense of assertiveness as a culture?

it's assumed by more than enough people that assertiveness is the same thing as aggressiveness, when that is hardly the case. of course those two things can merge; but assertiveness implies a sense of self-control and responsibility. aggressiveness is making attempts to wield power or control over a situation or thing; possibly due to the lack of control one has in life. i am prompted in finding out more about this whole thing now.

when you made all of those business moves did you feel as sense of assertiveness or aggressiveness? which moves had more to do as a reaction of how you grew up, and which ones were a reaction to what you've seen in the industry? people always saw your actions out front as being weak (due to your quiet demeanor and soft voice). one of the things i've admired about you though, is your ability to control a situation even WITH that voice. i never saw you raise your voice when in a conference; and in performing on stage your speaking voice was raised only slightly. you are definitely an aggressive performer; an angry one (as fred astaire used to say), but it was a sort of aggressiveness that was an aspect of your performance. it didn't extend beyond the stage. it kept people on their toes. in terms of asserting your power... yes, that definitely moved beyond the stage. you were no joke with that. being a young guy making all those moves you did, that is pretty amazing.

still... what is the root of all you did? what line was there for you between assertiveness and aggressiveness?

this is something i am struggling with in living here in the northwestern part of the country. and the more i struggle with it the more it makes me love kids, with their honesty and the lack of hangups they have.

see what you've done, teacher?

your humble student,

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