Welcome to CMP: Truth, Goodness, Beauty & Sincerity– Fall 2007(first post, fall semester)

17Sep07

Welcome!

Thank you for being a part of this community.

So far we have read for class: Parker J. Palmer’s Community of Truth, Adrienne Rich’s Claiming an Education, Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence, and Plato’s (Allegory of) The Cave.

The ideas we are initially wrestling with are those of education, truth and classic structure of arguments, but specifically what purpose an education provides society and the individuals therein.

What I would like to ask you to contemplate is Palmer’s mention of “the grace of great things.” Do you hold in your heart an affinity for something that may fall under this category? Something that speaks to you to know it further?

I look forward to hearing what inspires you!

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48 Responses to “Welcome to CMP: Truth, Goodness, Beauty & Sincerity– Fall 2007(first post, fall semester)”

  1. 1 jhuereca

    I would have to agree with Palmer on what he mentioned on the subject “the grace of great things” Diversity is huge example for this. Diversity can range from cultures, color and sexual orientation. I believe that Diversity is something that people in America are trying to get used to. People with a different sexual orientation than others is a big deal within our world. Many people believe that someone who is not “straight” is a bad person, and this shouldn’t be the case at all. People should be willing to get to know someone and try to understand them rater than judge them so quickly. This isn’t just something that pertains to sexual orientation. This also pertains to culture. A lot of people don’t understand why certain cultures do certain things and that leaves room for them to make fun of or reject a certain culture. Diversity is a big mystery to some people, even myself. There are tons of things that I don’t understand about some people and wish I knew. I find it very interesting to learn about another culture because there is so much to learn. This is one of the main reason’s why i have chosen to become a Spanish major. The Spanish culture makes me what to learn more about it. They do certain things that makes me what to learn about it.

    People with different cultures and a different way of living should be willing to learn about new cultures as well as teaching people about his or her own culture. America is one big melting pot of different backgrounds, colors, cultures, and different thoughts on different things. We, as American citizens should be the ones spreading the truth about questionable things around and learn about everything and everyone around us.

  2. 2 pdarms

    I agree somewhat with what Palmer said. The part on “diversity” interested me the most because it is so relevant in today’s world. Throughout the years, diversity has grown to be more and more politically correct–not necessarily because of force, but because racism and prejudice are less acceptable, especially in the United States. Of course, racism is still real in many places, but it’s a lot better than it was, say, fifty years ago. Of all the things mentioned in Palmer’s essay, the diversity part is, I believe, the most important. I also agree with the previous entry: America, the cultural leader of the free world, should set an example for other countries by embracing diversity. Nevertheless, there are many things in other cultures that we, as Americans, don’t understand, and people always fear what they don’t understand. This fear can sometimes lead to hate, but not always. I agree that we should be spreading the truth of these “great things,” no matter what others may think or say.

  3. What does it actually mean when he says “the grace of great things”?

  4. 4 vpec13

    I agree with both of the post’s above, diversity is a major issue it today’s society. Even though diversity has drastically changed throughout the years, it still has it’s flaws. Even though America is labeled as a “free country”, we still have diversity problems. Including such as since events after 9/11 people have racially profiled against that “race” thinking that they are all evil and that they are all at fault. When in reality they face the hardships that we all have faced from that tragedy. Not even is a race a problem but also with just sex problems. Such as Hilary Clinton running for president, and how the President position is a male position and that women should not run for it. We should be examples for country in the Middle East and across the world, on how diversity can be better, and will continue (hopefully) to get better in the up and coming years

  5. What I am finding interesting is that you have (except for aimzf) focused on an element that derives from being in the presence of “great things”… and perhaps diversity is something that you do find inspiring. Look again at paragraph #35 on page 633… think about the examples Palmer has used. What are the things that a “circle of seekers has always gathered.”

    So let’s see if what we talk about in class helps!

  6. 6 vecere

    Palmer put the subject “justice under law” in the category of “greater things”. This is a topic which has been given a good amount of attention over the course of its existence; however it seems to take a backseat to more seemingly prevalent topics such as racism. Racism is a topic widely discussed and constantly scrutinized by all forms of society, and while there are other issues that may not require the attention racism does, I still believe they should be thought about with the same type of enthusiasm. And I’m not just talking about the debate over the death penalty, because that is a topic widely discussed, opposed, and supported. I’m talking about the general sense of conformity that goes along with being part of any culture. We will tend to accept society’s laws because they are what we were taught were correct. I should think most of us had many influences who stressed the importance of following the law. I doubt anyone reading is a “perfect citizen” (I certainly am not) but we all generally have our society’s sense of right and wrong. While I know our judicial system is under scrutiny because of multiple design flaws and moral dilemmas, I feel our perception of right and wrong could and should be much different if we asked a few more questions.
    In our culture repeat offenders who will continue to steal can be subject to Life Imprisonment. This can occur in instances such as grand theft auto (not the game). Generally speaking, society accepts the fact that the theft of a material possession can lead to the essential “giving up on” of an American life. Perhaps some (or most) of you agree with this law, or will simply say “well maybe he shouldn’t have stolen cars”, but I think that if you were to change perspectives you may see this idea a little differently. At some point in a person’s life there has to be a change from the norm that society so elegantly bestows upon us (I’m not a big fan of the norm). Whether it’s an abuse in the family, a loved one dying, or simply the loss of one’s job, there will be one or more things that contribute to this persons state of mind. In some cases this will become obvious, as the person will become mentally unstable and won’t properly be able to perform in society. However, there will be others who can function in everyday society, but will lack the morals that are deeply embedded in the majority of us. Instead of society saying “hey this guy is stealing, something must not be right”, that person is condemned and then released back into the world (or never released) free to repeat his mistakes. Why is ok to strip a person of their liberties after they have committed a grievance against us? Does that make them less human? In my opinion our judicial system is being used to benefit society as a whole, however I don’t think anyone would want to be one of the select few that is sacrificed for the “greater good”. While I do believe that our moral code could definitely improve, and I do believe those committing “wrong doings” should not go unaffected, it seems that the effect should be in a positive manner that will not only allow society to cope with the individual but vice versa.
    BTW I know this post was WAY too long, and that these goals are very unrealistic in the immediate future.

  7. 7 jenncook

    When I first read “the grace of great things,” I followed their thought pattern, focusing on education. There are certain subjects that make people come together in education to discuss, debate, etc. I also agree with “jhuerca” about diversity leaving an impression in this. I believe we are one of the most accepting countries since we are so diverse in our population in race, beliefs, sexual orientation, etc. Going back to education, I also focused on the creative conflict aspect. I’m a firm believer that creative conflict is crucial to education and discovering new things things. Such as their example of Watson and Crick. After reading the article and seeing that example, i realized how true it is that in many different accomplishments, creative conflict is just part of the process to reaching the final goal or outcome.

  8. 8 carpedi3m

    “THE GRACE OF GREAT THINGS”

    I believe this entire phrase is a matter of opinion and personal inspirations. What are great things? And what gives these great things grace and appeal?

    Fresh out of High School, filled with stress, fear, time-management issues, independence struggles, and all of these freaking hormones, very few things become noticably great and inspiring. One unavoidable factor in life, no matter where or when that may always remain great (to me) is nature. It’s ever inspiring colors, noises and smells captivate the mind, even just for a second. It took a great deal of discipline and inner strength to walk through all of the sun-kissed grass, in and out of the cool shade, through patches of brightly colored and sweet smelling flowers all the way to the library to type this blog entry.

    The “grace” of nature is found in the rippling of water and smell of fresh cut grass. All of my summer nights were spend on Colling’s Lake looking at the stars. The grace of nature inspired me in so many ways. People may find inspiration in a run-way model or movie star. Girls may look up to Barbie, or ( god forbid) Paris Hilton. Beauty is the center inspiration. Absolute beauty, in it’s true form, not synthetic or fake, I believe is found in nature.

    ( I don’t know if this answered the topic, but I really did my best)

  9. Thank you for the PASSION!!! (yes too long… but I’ll take ’em long if you are inspired!)
    Yes, you are all answering correctly!
    YAY!

    Carpedi3m (love the name!) Read ye some Socrates, if you haven’t already– specifically his writings about love.

    PS- isn’t Paris Hilton and Barbie one and the same?

  10. 10 denigris

    Palmer states ” By great things, I mean the subjects around which the circle seekers has always gathered- not the disciplines that study these subjects, not the texts that talk about them, not the theories that explain them but the things themselves.” I believe that from this quote the Grace of Great Things is when you are looking more into things and what you find to be really inspiring and interesting. I agree with carpedi3m, the “grace” of something are the little minor details that we overlook all the time that makes it up. Palmer also brings up the point that great things don’t disappear from reality- they only disappear from our view. I believe that he is saying we as human beings tend to think we know everything. The great things survive our arrogance because they are the important elements of life. Can we as humans learn to understand when we make mistakes and realize that we are not perfect. We rely on great things and only when we recognize them we will realize that they are more than just objects, they themselves make us who we are as human beings.

  11. 11 robyn123

    I agree with denigris, the Grace of Great Things is when you are looking into things and what one finds to be really inspiring and interesting makes one want to learn, find out more about the topic. I feel that Palmer is saying one should educate oneself on what he or she finds exciting. I also agree with what Palmer says about how men and women become free through education because tyranny in any form can be overcome only by invoking the grace of great things. This is shown in The Declaration of Independence when discussing the reasons the thirteen colonies want to break away from England. However, I also believe that being educated gives people an advantage when making decisions that affects others and prevents one from being easily manipulated.

  12. 12 jesssprung

    I think that “grace” is a pretty word for the opposite of chaos. Chaos goes on everyday; everywhere. People my own age are blowing themselves up for their country and think that when they do that they have a handful of virgins waiting for them in heaven. Why do they blow themselves up? To kill American soldiers? Who told them Americans were so awful? Why couldn’t they have their own minds to have their own thoughts on Americans? The truth is, they are taught at a young age how they should think about Americans and from there on out it’s not left up to personal opinions. Imagine if they had their own opinion and just ONE potential suicide bomber decided, “Eh, never mind. This is pointless. Americans never personally harmed me.”…imagine how many lives that could say? After that change of mind from that one Iraqi, it’s no longer just a bomb. It can be looked at as a beautiful thing happening. By choosing not to blow up Americans he saves their lives, he saves the devastation of their families, the devastation of their friends, and so forth. The movie PAY IT FORWARD had the right idea of a beautiful thing coming from something that seemed so small. The young boy in the movie told wrote a stick figure on the board in front of his class and he told them that if that one person did a good deed and went out of their way for just three people, the three people would have to do the same for three more people. Eventually, the cycle continues and there is a possibility of it becoming a world wide idea of stepping out of our selfish busy lives and doing a nice thing for a person we may have never met and may never see again. I’m not looking at The Grace of Greater Things from an “school-educational” standpoint, but an educational standpoint that has to do with self.

  13. 13 ericakulp

    i feel that Palmer’s mention of the “Grace of Great Things” is to portray his feelings about the gathering of people usually based around educational purposes. With every piece of knowledge gained by education, diversity is created. In our society, diversity is demanded because it brings the thrive for knowledge. There is usually more behind someone’s thrive for knowledge however. Upon obtaining knowledge about a certain subject, people are concerned about where their facts are from. Learning someones background may change someones opinion if a subject is factual or not. To contradict this, when Palmer states, “By great things, I mean the subjects around which the circle of seekers has always gathered- not the disciplines that study theses subjects, not the texts that talk about them, not the theories that explain them, but the things themselves”(633), I feel that he is saying that people care more about the topic itself, rather than the facts and evidence that stand behind it. However, I do not agree with that. As i stated, diversity brings conflict and is key for understanding ones opinion. Without diversity we would be walking around listening to the same music, eating the same foods and feeling the same way about every situation. That is why diversity is among “the grace of great things”.

  14. 14 ndileone

    Palmer describes “The Grace of Great Things” as “the things that call us to know, to teach, to learn.” (633) He further explains our educational society to be quite small without great things. He specifically describes diversity, ambiguity, creative conflict, honesty, humility, and freedom, as necessities to obtain an education of greatness. “Great things such as these are the vital nexus of community in education. It is in the act of gathering around them and trying to understand them that we become knowers, teachers, and learners.” (633) I agree with Palmer’s list of great things. Diversity allows people to become open minded individuals, not only in education but in everyday life as well. Without ambiguity, there would be no questions asked. What good is an educational community with out doubtfulness? How else would a person be able to learn from their mistakes? Creative conflict is a way to correct situations. There must be conflict to society, not every one person can agree all the time, society would be fake. Honesty and truth alone would solve much hatred in our culture. When it comes to education, honesty is the best policy to strive for graciousness. Without humility every one person would be perfect, which is not possible in education. And finally, freedom is beyond a great thing, education would not exist with out the right of every person to express themselves freely. I believe Palmer is trying to get the point across to readers that education in our society would be dull with out “The Grace of Great Things,” and I agree.

  15. 15 matticks

    I agree with the points made by denigris and robyn above. When I read “The Grace of Great Things”, I thought Palmer was trying to get through to us. He was trying to tell us to really spend more time looking into the details of our lives. For example one of his statements, “…The reality we belong to, the reality we long to know, extends far beyond human beings interacting with one another.” In my opinion, this means that the world we live in is much more than interacting with others, it is the deeper, greater things, which affect our everyday lives unknowingly. After reading this passage in its entirety and others comments; I think that Palmer wants us to appreciate the nature that surrounds us instead of being overwhelmed and sucked into the busy, nonstop world that we have all have surrendered to. Another point I feel that he brings up throughout his passage is the appreciation of the lesser things in your life, which may in all reality be the greater things. This relates to the Declaration of Independence, when the people of the new colonies came to the new world and realized everything they had taken for granted, they now had to gain back on their own. It may be a stretch, but I think Palmer is telling us to take a deeper look into life and appreciate the little things. A principle like that led Jefferson and others to write the Declaration of Independence to gain back all those rights, that we all take for granted now.

  16. 16 jillian12

    I agree with matticks above, I feel that the grace of great things is alluding to the smaller things in our lives. Without the smaller things, the things we take for granted, in our life we never really learn to appreciate the bigger things. For me these smaller things are the smiles I received from children at a school for children with learning disabilities. They are part of the reason i wanted to further my education and become a special education teacher. For these children, the great thing was going to school just to see their friends. These children were confined to live in wheelchairs, but they still always had a smile on their face. Something as simple as me talking to them would brighten their day. I feel that the “grace of great things”, is different for everyone, and the only way to find your great things is to live.

    I hope this answered the question.

  17. 17 gallowaym

    In Parker J Palmer’s piece, “The Grace of Great Things” he strives on the idea that everyone is passonate about something. And when there is passion involved, learning is enjoyable. Building a realtionship with a strong education is vital mianly because our society is based on what we know and how we perceive our knowledge. He mentions our “educational mission” being represented in nonhuman form. Saying that interactions with other humans is not always most important and as powerful. He also mentions passing on our knowledge to persue greater things, if you will. I liked his point on being free men and women. Having the right to be honest and experience humility and overcome creative conflict. Ending on the quote, “i cannot know in another being what i do not know in myself” proves that what we feel we can accomplish can only be done by realizing we are only human, make mistakes, but can always gain from it.

  18. 18 delgrosso

    I agree with most of the posts here about diversity when I read Palmer’s Community of Truth I was more influenced by what “the grace of great things” actually meant to me as was Matticks. The great things in my life are what I am passionate about and what inspires me to learn more and go further and deeper into certain subjects. I believe without these great things, as most are calling diversity, living life would be obsolete. I cannot fully live my life without having at least some passion towards something whether it is my family, religion, or my education. To live life is to engage and not just exist and when I have a specific aspiration, I try to become that aspiration and I live through it. I have a growing passion for music and by allowing myself to engage in as many aspects of music as I can I am able to know and understand exactly what Palmer talks about. Palmer states that “there is a deeper threat to great things: they are killed off by an intellectual arrogance that tries to reduce them to nothing more than the machinations of our minds.” If we do not pay enough attention to these great things that influence our lives, such as pursuing a certain talent, playing a favorite sport, or getting an education in something that we love, they sooner or later die off and we then start from the beginning – existing and not engaging.

    If I allow myself to live out my passions I then have a deeper understanding of my own life When I play my violin and study chemistry, I learn more from these inspirations than from any text book because this is what I am passionate about and by being so driven I can become a by-product of my great things. If I let myself be great then I can know these great things Palmer speaks of. Palmer adds a Hasidic tale at then of his writing, “we need a coat with two pockets. In one pocket there is dust, and in the other pocket there is gold. We need a coat with two pockets to remind us who we are.” If we become what we are passionate about we can then understand the grace of great things by realizing that we were not always at the point where we are now.

  19. 19 fetzer

    I think in Palmer’s “The Grace of Great Things”, it is talking about how if a person is interested in a topic and have a love for it, it makes them want to study it further, and have more of an insight into the what they are doing. By thinking this, I am agreeing with denigris’ and robyn123’s post. In Palmer’s writing, for example, he states that James Watson said “The molecule is so beautiful. Its glory was reflected on Francis and me. I guess the rest of my life has been spent trying to prove that I was almost equal to being associated with DNA, which has been a hard task.” By Palmer adding in this quote, I think he is trying to show that what ever you do in life, you do for the love of something to further your knowledge, and hope for a positive outcome of it when it is done. By Watson “associating himself with DNA” it proves that he is creating a relationship with his topic of science, and by all his tests and knowledge, he is interpreting information to bring together the knowing, learning, and teaching in the community. The passion that he brings to his work helps others.

    Me personally, being an education major, I want to communicate with children in a positive way so they can learn and retain information better so they can grow up to be the next leaders of tomorrow. Interactions with children have a great impact on their lives. Instead of just looking at the big picture and saying “I want to teach them”, I have to look into how I will teach them, what a productive way of doing it is, and how will I have an impact on their lives by doing this. My love for wanting to help children, and have them learn to succeed in life makes me want to retain a lot of knowledge in college, and to find out more information on how to become a good teacher.

  20. The Following Response is Tabatha’s:

    I agree with Dnegris, and ericakulp’s comments above. When Palmer states, “By
    great things, I mean the subjects around which the circle seekers has always
    gathered- not the disciplines that study these subjects, not the texts that talk
    about them, not the theories that explain them but the things themselves.” I feel
    that people only give credit in the text they read or what’s in front of their
    eyes. I feel like in order to know the “great things” you need to read in
    between the lines. What makes up the text? What makes up the evidence? It’s the
    little things that people don’t give the credit too. When Parker states, “We
    welcome creative conflict not because were angry or hostile but because conflict is
    required to correct our biases and prejudices about the nature of great things.” I
    feel that virtue is one of the main components of “The great things”. We need
    conflict to mix things up. We can’t just follow in one direction. People just
    can’t be followers we need leaders too. With this comes diversity not just by
    color of skin, or cultural background, but by diversity in opinion.

  21. 21 bboscamp

    When I read through the blogs, I think that I have to agree with the points that matticks made. When I read this passage, the quote that stood out to me stated, “great things do not disappear in reality – they only disappear from our view.” This means to me that materialistic things will come and go, but we need to look deeper into ourselves and our surroundings to see what really matters to you.

    I am a dance teacher and I teach three and four year olds. For many of them, it is their first year dancing. Seeing them smile and light up the stage is my “grace of great things.” Knowing how proud they feel when they accomplish something new, or seeing their parents faces light up when they see their children having fun is what I think of when Palmer talks about being appreciative of our surroundings. In the busyness of everyday life, you tend to forget about how simple and carefree life is capable of being. When I am teaching those girls to dance, it makes everything seem so clear. Just like Palmer said, “..we cannot know the great things of the universe until we know ourselves to be great things.”

  22. 22 xdennyx

    i have to agree with bboscamp’s post above. i too have been working with children for the past year and a half. i was employed at The Brookside School in Sea Girt NJ and i worked there as a camp counselor. I had a group of 4-5 year olds and the best part of my day was the first time i would walk into the room in the morning and they would all come running over yelling “hi mr dennis!” and hugging me. to me that was the highlight of my time there.

    I think what palmer is trying to get at (and i apologize if someone already made this point i only had time to read the one above) is that the grace of great things means that we are surrounded by false ideals and objects that supposedly make us happy, but if we just stop and take a moment to realize the little things in life that truly make us happy then we notice that we are in the grace of great things.

  23. 23 dancingrl425

    People continuously ask why my double major is dance. Why would I major in something so useless? However, these people do not realize that dance is my “Grace of Great Things”. Parker J. Palmer gives the example that great things can mean the shapes and colors of music and art. Likewise, majoring in dance has so far enabled me to study all the different forms of dance ranging from ballet to Israeli Folk Dancing. While learning about these different types, I am accompanied by a myriad of other students with a common goal. Palmer states, “Great things such as these are the vital nexus of community in education. It is the act of gathering around them and trying to understand them- as the first humans must have gathered around fire- that we become who we are as knowers, teachers, and learners”. Nexus means a connection or link between groups of people. I think Palmer was trying to say that it is extremely important for people to share their knowledge on a common passion in order for the best outcome. I agree with delgrosso when they said that you can learn more from the actual subject than you can from a textbook. When my Dance History class formed a circle and did an Israeli Folk dance or an Irish step dance I learned how the people felt while doing those movements, the joy, the sense of community, the freedom. I definitely learned more from that than the articles we are assigned to read every week in that class. When I am introduced to a new style of dance I feel an unexplainable yearning to learn everything about it, just as Palmer says most people feel when they love something a lot.

  24. 24 srosato

    When discussing Palmer’s “grace of great things,” I refer back to what Professor Lake said in class. She stated that “the ‘grace of great things’ was when you stumble upon something and feel inspired to learn more about it.” I agree with this statement because each and every one of us, at one point or another, have experienced the effect of “the grace of great things.” Whether it is hearing a really great song on the radio and then going on the internet to Google it or whether it is reading something interesting in a book/magazine and letting your curiosity lead you into learning more about it, we are all inspired to discover and learn about the things that interest us.
    The quote “great things do not disappear in reality – they only disappear from our view” (Palmer 635) is a perfect link between Professor’s Lake’s statement and Palmer’s view of the “grace of great things.” Although bboscamp used this quote, I disagree with how she interpreted it. I feel that this quote expresses how people may have certain aspirations, but since there is no focus on achieving these aspirations, they just sit in the back of our heads. Thus, this quote connects with Professor Lake’s statement because even if a person stumbles onto something that intrigues their curiosity, it is up to him/her to act on what inspires them.
    Finally, my “grace of great things” is similar to fetzer’s because children are what inspire me to pursue my dream as an elementary school teacher. Just like Fetzer, I want to be a part of educating the “leaders of tomorrow.” I want to be able to go through the triumphs and challenges that each student’s faces, guiding them along the way as they make mistakes and quickly learn to correct them. Ultimately, watching children grow through learning is what speaks to my heart and inspires me to achieve these “great things.”

  25. 25 samanthagallo

    I agree with bboscamp the passage that stood out to me was “great things do not disappear in reality – they only disappear from our view.” But I feel it means that we take these “great” things for granted. We know they exist but we don’t realize how important they are to us. But once we take notice of these “great” things we recognize their importance, and look at how it is relevant to ourselves. Basically, Palmer is implying that what we feel is great know, was always great, it just took us a longer time to figure it out. It could be something small or something huge, but this doesn’t matter because we see it as a “great” thing, and that won’t change in our eyes, unless we lose sight of what is important.

  26. 26 dpinkston

    I agree with srosato, mentioning Prof. Lake’s statement about the “Grace of Great Things” being those things we stumble across and desire to learn about. Personally, I have a desire to learn about a large variety of topics, so my grace of great things is widespread. I love hearing about something I lack knowledge on and going through the trouble of learning about it. It is a rewarding feeling to learn about something new and to be able to talk about the topic with an actual knowledge of what the topic is. The quote “great things do not disappear in reality – they only disappear from our view.” is also an outstanding point, because often we push the things we desire to know about out of our head in spite of other information or topics of thought. samanthagallo makes a good point that great things can be small or large, it is our personal opinion that makes them great. Different people have different views on what is important, so everyone’s “grace of great things” is different from the next.

  27. 27 betyeman

    I agree with bboscamp as well. Back when i was in high school during the winters in Colorado i used to work for the Telluride Adaptive Ski Program. This was a program where mentally and physically challenged people could come and enjoy the thrill of skiing. When i first started working there it was just a job, but through the many ski seasons working there it became more of a passion. Sure that the money that you make is nice but more satisfaction came from the looks and expressions on peoples faces when they where having the time of there life. To some people there “great things” might be materialistic, but for me teaching provides me with a feeling of more greatness than any thing else.
    I don’t know if i answered that correctly but i gave it a shot.

  28. 28 samanthasutton

    After reading all of the previous responses to this blog and re-reading Parker J. Palmer’s mention of “the grace of great things”, I’ve come the realization that I really liked this handout. It actually talks about things that I tend to think about on a daily basis. Sometimes we, as humans, tend to rush around from activity to activity and not really take the time to stop and just appreciate the world that surrounds us. We get so caught up in our way of living that we aren’t really aren’t taking the time to think about what makes us want to live. What I mean by that is taking the time to find out the little things that make us really happy and things that we enjoy.
    I really liked matticks’ comment and their use of Palmer’s quote“…The reality we belong to, the reality we long to know extends far beyond human beings interacting with one another.” I think this quote is really important because it ISN’T just about interacting with eachother, its about interacting with yourself (if that makes sense) and finding out what you consider to be great, whether it’s the “shapes and colors of music and art” or “the loving and the loss that are the stuff of literature”. I also liked srosato’s comment on the quote “great things do not disappear in reality – they only disappear from our view” because they explained the quote by comparing it to the things that interest us that we don’t pursue or explore a little further.
    Both of the quotes that I’ve commented on really made me think about my love of acting. I really love the feeling I get when I’m performing on stage in front of an audience. I love becoming a character who is someone totally different than myself. I even love the nervous feeling I get before I go on stage (even if, at the time, I hate it!). These little things that I love about acting make me want to try and pursue it as a career. I am majoring in theater, trying to learn how to become a better actress because I don’t want acting to become one of those things that, later on in life, I wished I had attempted to do. It is something that I consider to be wonderful, it is my “great thing”.

  29. 29 evancho

    Just like Matticks and Delgrosso as well as many other students, I feel that Palmers idea of “The Grace of Great Things” is really about the things that mean a lot to someone and things that make you passionate about them. I also feel, like many others that a passion is created by what we do often. I started selling eyeglasses my sophomore year of high school. I used to go to work only to make money, then after working there for a while I found myself at work more than my own home. Then as senior year came around I debated if I wanted to go to college for education like I had always wanted to, or if I would change my ideas and go to college for eye glass making. This gives a strong example of how something can turn into a passion even if it does not start off as one. Just like many other classmates, I really like the way that Palmer talks about diversity and how it is only accepted not because it is politically correct, but because we need different ideas and opinions on subjects.

  30. 30 babyblue2842

    I would have to agree with Robyn123 when I read “The Grace of Great Things.” I interpreted Palmers writing to mean that when someone is interested in something, they go after it. When you are passionate about something you don’t just watch is fly past you, you try and make it a part of your life. That is the difficult part; how to bring the things that intrests you into your life. The quote “we will experience the power of great things only when we grant them a life of their own-an inwardness, identity, and integrity that makes them more than objects, a quality of being and agency that does not reply on us and our thought about them.” (Palmer 635) We each have to allow this to happen in order to make our passions part of our lives.
    Palmer also talks about education as playing a role in “The Grace of Great Things.” Education is what allows us to find out what we are interested in. It shows us a variety of different paths we can take. Some become passionate in English, other in math, science, or history. That’s just the beginning because then each subject splits up into many more paths and opportunities for you to find something that interests you. I have always enjoyed math. Everyone always thought I was crazy because I loved going to math class and hated going to English class. I never really knew what I wanted to do with my life, all I knew was that math had to be in there somewhere. I talked to my parents about the different options I had when it came to picking a major in college. When I heard about Actuarial Science I decided to take a statistics course and see if I wanted to follow up. It turns out I loved it and knew that’s what I wanted to do. I feel that this is a good example of “The Grace of Great Things” because I learned about something new and was interested in it so I decided to pursue it and find out more. I believe that every college student should know what that feels like.

  31. 31 krissssy

    I think that when Palmer explains the “Grace of Great Things” he is telling the reader that these “great things”, meaning the different topics everyone is learning about, all depend on what the individual finds important, and this, in fact, is the grace of it all. What I find important and is my great thing is my passion for the art of dance. Through dance I can learn about how the dancer is feeling and what emotions they are portraying through their actions. By watching a dancer you learn what their individual truths are. Dance is the unspoken language of life. In my opinion it is the best way to understand another being. Everyone has their own great thing that they are intrigued about and to find the truths about your individual great thing is what education is all about.

  32. 32 walush

    A lot of people have mentioned that the “grace of great things” relates to education and I completely agree with them. Education really does help us realize what we want in life. It shows us different paths that we can follow. Everyone will choose the right path in the end. Over the summer, I worked with little kids at a day camp. I loved waking up every day just to go and see their smiling faces when I walked through the door. They seemed to make all the stress of college go away. Those girls also put the idea of me being a teacher into my head. My young girls inspired me to major in education. I will pursue this path and see where it leads me.
    Srosato stated a comment that Professor Lake said when going over this handout. She stated that “the ‘grace of great things’ was when you stumble upon something and feel inspired to learn more about it.” That was very interesting to me as well. It happens every day. If you see something that sparks your interest you want to learn more about it. That was what happened to me when I was just three years old. I saw kids dancing at my recreational center and I felt inspired to try it out. My mom signed me up and fifteen years later I’m duel majoring in dance.

  33. 33 ericaaaa

    I agree with Ferzer above that Interactions with children have a great impact on their lives. There is more than looking at the big picture and saying “I want to teach them” The grace of great things for me as been working with children. I have been tutoring for a long time now and I still am amazed everyday by them. When Palmer writes “We embrace ambiguity not because we are confused or indecisive but because we understand the inadequacy of our concepts to embrace the vastness of great things” This holds very true regarding children. I do not believe there is any expert out there who can define why children are the way they are this would greatly limit their understanding. Every time I work with a child I try to remember what it was like to be that young and in their position. You have to talk be them be their friend essentially have a dialogue with them. Only at that time can you start to teach them because they are teaching you as well. As Palmer writes when we reduce great things to such dismissive categories, you rob them of their selfhood and deprive them of their voice.

  34. 34 itsmiseo

    Why is it that everyone believes that great things are the little things that we overlook? Maybe I’m way out in left field, but isn’t the very first step to noticing the tiny details that may be your “grace of great things” is to identify the major aspects of our life, of which we take for granted? In no way, shape, or form am I disproving anyone’s views, I just think we all tend to get ahead of ourselves.
    Most people relate well with sports, hobbies and even teaching. What brings teams together is a passion for one common goal, a passion for the sport. As an athlete and a part-time coach of a young ice hockey team I see those “little things,” like a sense of accomplishment when an entire line breaks out of the defensive zone, weaves through the opposing team, makes a great play, and finishes with a beautiful goal. However, without realization of the common graces of great things, the much more valuable and smaller things are much more difficult to see, also impossible to create.
    This is just my take on the subject and in my defense, I’ll end with a quote from Palmer’s essay: “…there is no need to continue in dialogue with great things or with each other: one truth for you, another for me and never mind the difference.”

  35. 35 kelly4

    I agree with itsmiseo above, why does everyone believe the grace of great things are the little things we overlook? I mean there are many little things that we overlook, but there are also those big accomplishments that are viewed as the grace of great things. But in this case, Palmer is speaking of the grace of great things in the sense of education and learning. Palmer states in his essay exactly what he views the grace of great things to be, ” By great things I mean the subjects around which the circle of seekers has always gathered-not the disciplines that study these subjects, not the texts that talk about them, not the theories that explain them, but the things themselves.” (633) I like this quote because Palmer says what he means. I also agree with carpedi3m when they ask, what are the grace of great things? And who established them? For me one great thing is love. Love is established through society to be considered a great thing. Most people continually strive for love, and when it is lost become heartbroken. Everyone has their own idea of what the grace of great things are.

  36. 36 possessky

    I strongly agree with Walush and Srosato’s comment of “the ‘grace of great things’ was when you stumble upon something and feel inspired to learn more about it.” Inspiration is what causes great things to be created or discovered. If archaeologists were not inspired to look into the past, would ancient civilizations be discovered? If Benjamin Franklin had not been inspired to find a way to light up a room other then a candle, would we have discovered electricity? Inspiration is the ‘grace of great things’. If people were not inspired, civilizations would crumble. Inspiration makes us dream and wonder. It makes us want to change things for the better. It makes us want to create an easier, more comfortable way of life. The inspiration does not have to be as extreme as changing the world, it could be as small as wanting to make someone smile.

  37. 37 pennello

    Like Krissssy, I believe that when Palmer is discussing “the grace of great things” I think he is talking about the different topics that everyone is interseted in. Everyone is interested in different subjects, objects, beliefs, and ideas. Their grace is different from everyone else’s. What makes this a great thing is that because of our unique differences in what we prefer to learn about, it brings conflict to the world. This conflict makes it easy to debate subjects and find the ultimate truth. Also, like Krissssy said, it is what education is all about. Also, with peoples’ different ideas and preferences it makes it possible to make new beliefs and ideas and to form a more involved sort of life. My grace is the water. I love the water and learning about it. Even though my grace is different from other peoples’ it makes it possible to bring many different aspects of life to education. Diversity is the key to education and with diversity comes conflict and then truth. It is a continous circle of graceful things each part adding to the next.

  38. 38 jral27

    Every person has their own personal “great thing”. It may be an emotion, or an action, or a moment in time that has such an impact on you that you remember it forever. However, great things tend to affect more than one person. Together these people share their viewpoints with each other to discuss how the subject should be perceived. When the diverse viewpoints have been discussed then the people have a chance to explain the answers of the other people. This leads to conflicting ideas which I believe is the most important part of understanding the great thing. It is conflict that motivates us to understand our subject more. It is conflict that lets us hear our peers’ views. And it is conflict that allows us to learn from our mistakes and strive to understand it in its entire truthfulness.

  39. 39 scastles

    When Palmer discusses the “grace of great things”, he means that everyone has a main personal “great thing” in their life and within that subject, they must discover the “greatness”. However, we are still inspired by other subjects and can still gain more knowledge about those subjects. I’m kind of ambivalent about itsmiseo’s comment above, regarding overlooking the small stuff, because I believe that each of us do have our one major passion, but there is no aspect that we can overlook. We all strive to be experts of our passion, but once we discover as much as possible about that subject, we realize that there are other (less important, or maybe even equally as important) passions in our lives. Carpedi3m says that the grace of great things is “a matter of opinion and personal inspirations”, which in her (or his? …sorry, I’m not sure) case is the inspiration that comes from nature. This may or may not be what he/she bases a career on, but it may remain a passion that he/she can be inspired by and learn more about. Personally, my main “great thing” would be the ability to inspire and educate students. For the next four years, I will be learning how to become the best educator I can be. Once this dream becomes a reality, I will continue to gain knowledge from experience. However, as the years go by, there will be other subjects that will inspire me, some of which I will pursue and others which I will not. Regardless of how deeply we look into subjects, the beauty of “the grace of great things” is that it allows for discovery of anything that inspires us.

  40. 40 chelxc

    In Palmer’s “The Grace of Great Things”, I agree with his statement about diversity. Palmer wrote, “We invite diversity into our community not because it is politically correct but because diverse viewpoints are demanded by the manifold mysteries of great things.” As Jhuereca stated, “America is one big melting pot of different backgrounds, colors, cultures, and different thoughts on different things.” Without all these different types of individuals, our country would not be as advanced and prosperous as it is today. Everyone has their own thoughts and ideas, it is our job to incorporate them into our society and make them useful. Pdarms wrote, “America, the cultural leader of the free world, should set an example for other countries by embracing diversity.” I agree with this statement one-hundred percent. People need to stop judging everyone because of their race or beliefs because these individuals could be the ones that find a cure for cancer or make other spectacular findings. With everyone joined together, our country can thrive and become a better place.

  41. 41 longca

    In Palmers “The Grace of Great Things,” I also agree with the statements above about diversity. We really do demand the opinions and outlooks of the diversity in our community. If we only get the opinions of one culture whether it be the same sex, nationality, or color the opinions vary from each person. We are all brought up by many different views and standards and if we were all brought up with the same views, i feel we would be robotic. The views of others help us decide the best for our community and country. Different inputs help us bring up more advanced technology and thought in everyday life. Many people live day by day putting a stereotype on people that they do not even know. We honestly take advantage of the diversity in our communities and we need to fix that.

  42. 42 w8ting4science

    I was a little puzzled by this thought at first, and I have to admit that I read through Palmer’s “The grace of great things” as well as the other blogs everyone else posted many many times, and I think that It’s starting to click. It’s a feeling I’ve always felt, but Palmer did an amazing job putting it into words. I spoke about this in my essay a little, but basically, just as part of being human, we are all drawn to certain things. That’s what makes us all individual in our own ways. I might be drawn to swimming and marine science, and someone who I may or may not even be friends with might be interested in something on the complete opposite end of the spectrum (whatever/wherever that may be). And that’s what makes us all individual. Palmer talks about “Diversity” and how it’s “Demanded” in our society, and it’s completely true. If we were all passionate about the same things we would be no where. As a marine science major, I’m truely interested in studying fish and marine life, and someone once told me “we need people like you in this field.” It certainly makes sense to have someone who loves to study fish in this field, but what if everyone studying fish and conservation issues hated fish? It just wouldn’t get us anywhere. And the same goes for things like advancements in technology all the way to subjects being taught by professors. Everything we get from life, we get from either the fact that we ourselves are greatly drawn to whatever the thing is ( such as loving dancing so we dance) or from the fact that someone in our immediate surroundings is drawn to a particular thing (learning about something in school). And everything progresses because everyone has an affinity for something that we’re willing to learn about until there is nothing left to learn. “The grace of great things” is what not only keeps us wanting to learn more about something, but it’s what challenges us to discover something new and be somebody.

  43. 43 afhock21

    After reading some of the above posts, and re-reading the Palmer handout, I began to think about the day we discussed “the walking dead” in our class. The “walking dead” or the people who get so hung up in their everyday schedules, tend to forget why they are doing what they are doing (why they attend school, why they go to work, why they come home to their family). I feel the idea of the “grace of great things” could include the realization of why one does what they do. In everything we do in life, along the way you find something great about it, something deeper then the subject itself. I agree with Samanthasutton’s comment on Palmer’s quote, “…The reality we belong to, the reality we long to know extends far beyond human beings interacting with one another.” She said that it ISN’T just about interacting with each other; it’s about interacting with yourself. Interacting deep down with your personal feelings and thoughts, in my mind is what the “grace of great things” is all about. Sometimes, when it comes to school, I feel as if I am one of the “walking dead.” Every day, for the eight months we are attending school, I follow the same schedule, in the same buildings, and do the same kind of work. What makes this bearable is the one lesson, or one reading assignment that interests me. Just one lesson, that makes me want to learn, and want to know more and more about it is a very important thing to me. Discovering a subject that inspires me to want to pursue my knowledge on that subject to me is what the “grace of great things,” is all about.

  44. 44 paonej

    In the piece Palmer mentions the practice of honesty not only because we owe it to one another but because to lie about what we have seen would be to betray the truth of great things. To lie starts a lot of conflicts. It is harder to remember a lie, then to remember and tell the truth. Honesty plays a big part in ones dignity and earns respect. In a business environment no one has any trust in a liar and will not want to work and it is difficult to cooperate with one, but a man or woman with honesty brings respect from their peers and creates a better relationship between people as they have trust. Trust is important in any type of relationship and helps to create stronger relationships. A wife or girlfriend will not trust their boyfriend or husband if they consistently lie. If one side lies it makes it difficult to build trust and any relationship will suffer.

  45. 45 miamiace

    In “The Grace of Great Things” Palmer’s idea’s on diversity, honesty, ambiguity, creative conflict, humility, and being free have a great deal of understanding to the community of truth and also tie into all aspects of education. It seems most of the responses focus on diversity foremost, but in my opinion I agree with Palmer when he explained the great things themselves. By great things, Palmer was talking about the subjects around what the circle seekers have always gathered. He focused on the things themselves such as genes and ecosystems, symbols and referents, betrayal and forgiveness, and love and loss. He believed that all these things are necessary for the community in education. We have to know ourselves first before we know the grace of great things, and its not until we consider ourselves great that we truly understand what these great things stand for.

  46. 46 shawt

    i reposted my blog..

    I agree with Dnegris, and ericakulp’s comments above. When Palmer states, “By great things, I mean the subjects around which the circle seekers has always gathered- not the disciplines that study these subjects, not the texts that talk about them, not the theories that explain them but the things themselves.” I feel that people only give credit in the text they read or what’s in front of their eyes. I feel like in order to know the “great things” you need to read in between the lines. What makes up the text? What makes up the evidence? It’s the little things that people don’t give the credit too. When Parker states, “We welcome creative conflict not because were angry or hostile but because conflict is required to correct our biases and prejudices about the nature of great things.” I feel that virtue is one of the main components of “The great things”. We need conflict to mix things up. We can’t just follow in one direction. People just can’t be followers we need leaders too. With this comes diversity not just by color of skin, or cultural background, but by diversity in opinion.

  47. 47 jellybeanqueen620

    Oddly enough, since for most of my life I have been painfully shy, my passion is people. Well, now that I think about it, maybe it is better to say that my passion is in learning about people, and understanding and connecting with those around me. I have often been praised for my ability to make others feel comfortable, to sympathize with others, see many sides to a story, and not only understand those around me, but help them understand one another. I am good at figuring out what makes people tick and what others hold close to their hearts. Psychology fascinates me because I love learning about what makes us who we are, how people grow and change, how we learn, and how our environment and experiences shape the people we become. I am also thrilled by education. When I get older my hope is to spend some time teaching because I believe I am good at seeing things from other people’s points of view, which is an important quality for an educator to possess. To be able to understand others’ difficulties and relate to all different types of people is a gift that I believe will help me reach out to students who learn through untraditional methods. In fact, I have already spent a good deal of time working with children as an educator. I currently work at a camp for children and teens with autism. I am passionate about my work because the environment is one in which I am constantly challenged to connect with people who do not relate to others in typical ways. Many of our children are non-verbal, and I am not fluent in sign language. Every time I work, I must find creative ways to communicate with these children. It forces me to constantly put myself in their shoes and try to see what they see. It can be stressful at times to work with a child who doesn’t respond to his name, who lacks any sense of danger, or who cannot describe his wants and needs through words. However, I must remember that it is equally or sometimes more frustrating for the child to have a teacher that cannot understand that he may be in a bad mood today or feeling sick and need to just take a break. Each child is unique and must be reached in a way that is different from every other child I work with. They can be obsessive, moody, and aggressive and are often misunderstood. To work with these children I have to understand each one individually, and each day become a different teacher than I was the day before. When we are out in the community I am often in a position where I must explain to strangers why a twenty year old man is having a tantrum in the shopping mall. I need to understand the disorder and also find a way to make others understand it as well. The rewarding part of the job comes when I can successfully communicate with the child I am working with, or when I teach someone about autism and they come to understand and sympathize with our children, or when the child shows me he has learned something new, despite the fact that they cannot learn in the ways most other children do. I am not sure where, in the grace of great things, this passion fits, but it is something that has certainly inspired me, and has helped me tremendously in trying to figure out what I want to do in life.

  48. 48 fensterb

    Honestly, this is kind of confusing for me. It’s hard for me to wrap my head around this idea but for me, the “grace of great things” is something that I feel, something that I do. To me, the “grace of great things” means doing something because I want to or fighting for something I believe in. Thinking about this reminds me of why I want to be in the field of education. When I was in middle school I had a horrific experience with a few teachers. After that experience I hated school and never wanted to step foot in it a day longer than I had to, needless to say any job in education was out of the picture. Senior year I had an amazing teacher who taught me to love school again and showed me the value of being an educator. She completely changed my views about education and being in a school building which is why education is my major. She showed me that education can be a good experience and taught me that not everyone is the same. She showed me the “grace of great things”.


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