Mr. Churchill: What is the advantage in firing so many more rounds a minute?

Mr. Shinwell: I feel very much like consulting the person whom the bullets reach.

—  The Minister of Defence, Emanuel Shinwell’s rather sarcastic response to a question from Winston Churchill, the leader of the Opposition, during a Parliamentary debate in April 1951 during which the British Government announced the adoption of a new rifle, the EM-2. Shinwell, explained that the new rifle could fire twice as fast as the old Lee-Enfield it would replace.

Do you ever wonder why things happen the way they do?

Why did she go through that? 

Why did I do this?

Why isn’t that happening?

Of course you wonder. You’re human and all humans experience things that they don’t understand at one point or another.

One of the great mysteries, eh?

When you’re a kid, those confusing experiences typical tend to last a day, maybe a week. But then you hit “adulthood” and it’s not uncommon to have a big, weird experience lasting months or years leaving us feverishly asking "why!?“

We obsess and gnaw on the why until one day, God willing, we realize the experience is over, we just keep reliving it day after day because we so badly want to know why. We continue to drown in our sorrows and are crushed under the weight of our "whys” enabling our ability to climb out of that shallow creek we’re drowning in.

Winston Churchill said, “Success is moving from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm.”

Expect greatness. When you fall, expect to get back up.

Every. Single. Time.

Applications, Lesson Plans, and more Applications.

This weekend I am:

  • Applying for college.
  • Writing math and aftercare lesson plans.
  • Applying for grants and book donations.

And if I finish all of those?  I’m going to write some e-mails.


Last weekend I visited college.  Oberlin College, to be specific.  Since both my parents went there, they want me to go there too.  I liked it a lot.  The people were really cool and the classes were really interesting.  I especially enjoyed the Environment & Society class I sat in on.  While I was there, however, I felt like I was bathing in privilege.  Even at this school where there’s a great culture of activism and social justice, the vast majority of people who attend it are from very similar socio-economic backgrounds.  This is most definitely not a problem unique to Oberlin, but since I’ve begun working with City Year, the issue has become incredibly personal.  I’m upset that my students will not have the opportunity to go to such an amazing school.  I’m even more upset that everyone’s not upset.  But being mad won’t help my students succeed.  I have to go to college so that I can learn how to better serve the world and make it a more equal, just place.  

So this weekend I started working on applying to college.  This involves filling out lots of forms and trying to figure out how to get recommendations without a guidance counselor or teachers.  Each college is telling me to do something different and I’m a very confused koala right now. 

For my Literacy Coordinator role I’ve decided to apply for a grant from the Kellogg Foundation to build Winston’s library.  Currently it is just a few disorganized shelves of books.  I want to expand our collection, create a system of cataloguing and checking out, and hire a half-time librarian.  It’s a really long application, but I’ve made good progress.  In addition to this, I am also applying for book donations for an event I will be holding at Christmas time.  I figure that the earlier I start the better.  And because that’s not enough, I am also planning out literacy boards for both the primary and secondary students.  My current plan is to make boards with an author of the month, a book of the week, a quote of the day, an essay contest topic every two weeks and a featured essay written by one of the students.  

And now I’m writing lesson plans for math (the kids just started subtraction) and aftercare clubs.  On Friday I was so exhausted that I did not get my wildlife lesson plan together in time and if it hadn’t been for my amazing teammates coming to my aid, I don’t know what I would have done.  So no more of that.

I haven’t posted lately because I don’t want this blog to become a negative rant fest.  I waited to update until I felt collected and had productive things to say.  I leave you with a quote of the week from one of my students:

“Has anyone ever tried to put you in a trash can?”