|Michael Szenberg, Ph.D.|
Come to the edge, he said.
Come to the edge, he said
they said: we are afraid.
Come to the edge, he said.
He pushed them . . . and they flew.
I give you the end of a golden string,
only wind it into a ball:
It will lead you in at Heaven's gate,
Built in Jerusalem's wall.
Every Truth has four Corners.
As a teacher I gave you one corner,
and it is for you to find the other three.
I touch the future. I teach.
Much have I learned from my teachers,
More from my peers,
And mostly from my students.
The only people for me are the mad ones,
The ones who are mad to live, mad to talk,
Mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time,
The ones who never yawn.
Rejections Energize Me
For all sad words ofI adhere to the medieval philosopher Maimonides' comment that a teacher must love his/her students as if they were his/her own sons or daughters in that the teacher must be other-absorbed, not self-absorbed. In previous generations it was perhaps more difficult to understand what it meant for teachers to love their students. In our generation, the situation is different. Students are away either geographically or emotionally from their families. Therefore, the teacher, even on the graduate level (including the doctoral program) is often counted on to provide a support system. I believe that an expression of approval for students, when warranted, can literally change attitudes and behaviors. I work hard to inspire curiosity in students, instill critical thinking in them, and push them to be task oriented so that their life will be vital, interesting, challenging, productive, and fulfilling. It is all about striving for perfection while at the same time,being fully aware that perfection is unattainable. Artie Shaw, the great clarinetist, offered this thought about flawless perfect performance, "Maybe twice in my life I reached what I wanted to (in the piece of music "These Foolish Things"). At the end, the band stops and I play a little cadenza. That cadenza no one can do it better. Let's say it is five bars. That's a very good thing to have done in a lifetime. An artist should be judged by his best, just as an athlete is. Pick out one or two best things and say, "That's what he did: all the rest was rehearsal." Because there is this tension between striving for perfection and never reaching it, no scientist or artist is satisfied. We owe to Martha Graham the following central insight on the subject: "There is no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer, divine dissatisfaction; a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others."
tongue or pen
The saddest are these: "It
might have been!"