always give them an A



Michelangelo is often quoted as having said that inside every block of stone or marble dwells a beautiful statue; one need only remove the excess material to reveal the work of art within.

Imagine if we were to apply this concept to the education system. It would be pointless to compare one child to another. Instead, all our energy would be focused on chipping away at the stone, getting rid of whatever is in the way of each child’s potential skills, mastery and self-expression.

Every child thus becomes an A-grade student. After all, the ABCDEF system of grading is a game that’s been invented by humans, so we might as well choose to invent something that brightens the lives of our children = A-grade.

The practice of giving an A to every student allows the teacher to focus on producing a great outcome – to focus on what’s fully possible; their full potential – and to not compare one against the other in the process.

And what if we now give an ongoing A to all people, in all of our relationships. The free granting of an A to everyone takes them off the success/failure ladder, removes them from the pleased/disappointed list, and spirits you away from the standards of measurement and judgement into a world of possibility.

Rock on!


the power of saying it like it is



Here’s a very funny and short story, stolen from Tom, who stole it from Jon, who stole it from Jeremy.

Jeremy was apparently traveling on a Canadian Airways flight. On landing, the aircraft slammed down on to the runway with a terrible bang. Quite reasonably, the passengers waited the explanation from the captain. And this if what they heard:

“This is Captain Johnson speaking. I’ve been flying with Canadian for over thirty years, and that was the worst fucking landing I’ve ever made! Please accept my apologies.”

Here’s the rub: In that instant the captain became a hero in the eyes of his passengers. Why? Because in a world of squirrelly fucking explanations, he’d just called it like it is.

As the passengers left the plane they all wanted to shake his hand and give him a big thumbs up. And no-one was heard complaining about his language.


a twinkle in God’s eye

When Apollo 8 became the first manned voyage to orbit the moon in 1968, the crew were the first human beings to see planet earth from the other side of the moon.

American astronaut William Anders was the cameraman on that mission, and this is what he saw:



Just think, on this tiny disc, or on the reverse side, is where you were born, grew up, fell in love, breathe, eat, see sunsets, play, work, dream and die. Indeed it’s where you are now as you look at this page.

I reckon we are no more than a twinkle in God’s eye, whoever or whatever God may be.

what fish are you trying to catch?



See your life as a fishing rod.

The rod itself is something you’re connected to … life, love, wisdom.

This rod, when being viewed from a higher angle, is your eternal being and existence on the planet.

The fishing line shines with the experiences you’ve had throughout your life, and at the end of the fishing line a hook is forever tied. This hook is you and your reality.

As your fishing line and hook are cast out into the open world of the ocean, so your life and duty are cast out too.

The hands of time slowly reel your life and experience in, one moment at a time. Until of course you reach the end of the rod once more, and prepare to re-cast out into the open world of the ocean.

My question is simply this: What kind of fish are you trying to catch?


in search of sunrise



A sun riser gives out energy, a sun setter sucks it away.

A sunset person is heavy in the knowledge that the best is past.  For him or her, the future is in a calibrated decline.  And so for her or him the present is always sloping … downhill.

A sun riser is open to the idea that the best is still to come.  For him or her, the future is a wide open incline.  And so for her or him the present is always beginning … over the hill.

Personally I’d rather be a sun riser than a sun setter.


shake the dust


This is for the fat girls.
This is for the timid boys.
This is for the school-yard wimps, this is for the childhood bullies who tormented them.
This is for the nighttime cereal eaters and for the retired, elderly Vinnies store front door greeters.
Shake the dust.

This is for the benches and the people sitting upon them, for the bus drivers crossing the Harbour Bridge in peak morning traffic, for the men who have to hold down three jobs simply to hold up their children, for the nighttime HSC students and the midnight party goers who are trying to fly.
Shake the dust.

This is for the girls with the brothers who are going crazy, for the twelve-year-olds afraid of taking public showers, for the girl who loves somebody else.
Shake the dust.

This is for the poetry teachers and for the people who go on vacations alone, for the tired and the dreamers, for the ones who are told to speak only when you are spoken to, and then are never spoken to.

This?  This is for you.

Do not let a moment go by that doesn’t remind you that your heart beats 100,000 times a day and that there are enough gallons of blood to make you an ocean.

Do not settle for letting these waves settle, and the dust to collect in your veins. All that pushes and pulls, pushes and pulls for you.
Shake the dust.

So when the world knocks at your front door, clutch the knob and open on up, and run forward into its widespread greeting arms with your hands before you, fingertips trembling though they may be.

Shake the dust.


[adapted from Shake The Dust by Anis Moigani, slam poet extraordinaire]