school

Calm to be had.

Calm to be had.

March 27, 2020
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Last week as I stepped into the cold water of the ocean off the coast of Malmö in the south of Sweden, I had my phone with me. I’ve a habit to do that, now and again, as I record myself going in, staying in, sharing my experiences with cold bathing. What came out of my mouth that crisp spring afternoon, with sunshine and blue skies, as I was standing in the water, which, just like the air was around five degrees Celsius, was this: There is calm to be had.

The world has turned upside-down, for so many. A global pandemic is raging, and I fear that we’ve just seen the beginning of it. Cities, counties, countries and companies are closing down in varying degrees, and whatever was normal, no longer is.

And.
With all that going on.
There is calm to be had.

It’s easy to not experience calm right now.
I know that.
I see that.

I also know it’s equally easy to experience calm.
I know that.
I see that too.

There are many things I have no say in.
What my government is –or is not– doing. Whether or not the school my youngest attends will stay opened or not, and what will happen next, neither locally nor globally.
No. Say.

But there are many things I have a say in.
In what I choose to do with my days. How I spend them, regardless of external constraints. What I read. What I listen to. What interactions and conversations I engage in. If I seek out Drama, or not. If I stick to routines (as best I can) that serve me and my wellbeing.
If I show compassion and care. To me. And you. And us.
A. Say.

There is calm to be had.
And it matters whether or not I choose calm. Or not.
Because I matter. Just as you matter.

Can I always choose calm?
Yes. I can.
But I don’t.
Because I am human. And so are you. And that’s the way it should be.

The choice is still there though.
There is –always and already– calm to be had.

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Advent Calendar – December 15, 2019

December 15, 2019
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A classroom at Kaewa Secondary School, a public secondary school that we visited as they were the winners of the Green Initiative Challenge in 2018.

On the blackboard – which still was an actual blackboard with chalk, something you only see at Waldorf schools in Sweden nowadays, otherwise it’s whiteboards – the schedule for the day of our visit was visible:
Wednesday
English
Agriculture
Break
English
Kiswahili
Break
Mathematics
Business
Lunch
Something I cannot read
Chemistry 
Something else I cannot read

Isn’t it funny, how classrooms all over the world, look the same more or less? Perhaps this classroom rather evokes memories of times long passed in Sweden; the 40s? The 50s? Something like that. But anyway, I don’t think anyone would look at this photo and miss the fact that it’s taken inside a classroom. Do you agree?


Advent Calendar for 2019: sharing pictures and stories/reflections from my trip to Kenya in June. I went to visit “my trees” and get a hands-on experience of the social entrepreneurship of the Kenyan forestry company that I buy trees through.

Full disclosure: I am proud to say I am both a customer and an ambassador for the company. If you are curious to find out more, let me know and I’ll gladly get in touch with you! Here’s my sponsored link: https://betterglobe.com/27216 

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Don’t panic (book 10 of 12)

November 11, 2019
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in Tip
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At long last, a few weeks late, but hey, better late than never. Here’s book number ten of my English book-reading-challenge of the year: Don’t Panic (or why The World No Longer Looks Like Your World) by Lotta Alsén and Troed Troedson is a book I will be rereading. And referencing. And lend to friends, so they can read it as well. I’ve jotted down notes in the margin on 55 of the 285 pages of the book.

“Effect is the outcome of the result. The interesting thing from a systems perspective is not how the result turns out, but how we measure it. It is critical that we measure the effect and describe it in exactly the same terms as the goal. Otherwise, the system will slowly produce something different than that which was intended. If the goal and the outcome are not described in the same terms, the entire enterprise will gradually warp and run askew. Eventually, you’re producing in order to achieve the effect that’s measured instead of the goal you set up from the beginning. If a school system’s goal is ‘responsible and independent contributors to society’, then it had better not measure its results in terms of, say, knowledge and test scores. If it does, the school will get so bent out of shape that it will become impossible to see the connection between the goals outlined in the school’s mission, and the results that the system produces.” 

Having spent many an hour this past decade talking about, dissecting and questioning the school systems of Sweden (and the world at large), there are many gold nuggets in Don’t panic. This is one reason why I will be lending the book to some friends of mine working within the school system.

“The level of knowledge and education among the average adult is now, for the first time, at parity with (and increasingly higher than) teachers and school administrators. Where are the best places for fifteen-year-olds to meet interesting people who can give them new ideas about what life to lead and careers? Probably not in schools. The progression is predictable, inevitable, and irreversible: the 150-year-old revolution of universal education has now come to its end.

This might seem threatening or pessimistic. On the contrary, this is a sign that we succeeded! The only way a school could keep on working, century after century, with the same rationale would be if it completely failed in its original goal.”

But there are plenty of other nuggets of gold in the book as well, giving me ample reason to dig into it further on now, as I am busy developing #tankespjärn. One of the pointers of the book (see below) is one of my foremost hindrances at the moment. My schedule is jam-packed, and I simply have not scheduled (or honored…) enough “empty time” for myself: “Efficiency is the enemy of flexibility and creativity. When you’re efficient, you’ve left yourself no empty time: the time when you are creative.”

A sign as good as any, and one I am getting from many sources right now:
I am not giving myself enough (empty) time for being creative. Are you?


The book I am blogging about is part of the book-reading challenge I’ve set for myself during 2019, to read and blog about 12 Swedish and 12 English books, one every other week, books that I already own.

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Think and Grow Rich (book 8 of 26)

April 22, 2018
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in Tip
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Think and Grow Rich is a book written by Napoleon Hill. It was first published in 1937, with a few more years of The Great Depression having the world in a firm grip. I picked up a copy in India some eight years ago, but again, never got around to reading it. until now – this was one of the books I decided to read for my English reading challenge of the year. The copy I picked up was the original unabridged version, and in a sense that’s a shame. Because it is dated. The way it is formulated, the actual style of the writing is a bit… well, it’s as if Mr Hill believe the reader to be a bit obtuse, so he’s capitalizing the most vital parts, and that in and of itself rubs me the wrong way.

I also do not like how 99% of all of his examples of successful men, are actually men. The women are few and far apart, and basically show up at the very end of the book. Two, or possibly three examples of ladies as successful role models to mimic, the rest of the time when women are mentioned speaks of “our” ability to wrap men around our little fingers. (I trust I don’t have to even begin to explain why this get’s me all riled up?!) But, given the fact that the book was written close to a century ago, I tried to let this slip.

And once I do that, sure, this is a book that has its virtues, for sure. And given the fact that this is actually one of the most successful books of all time, it would be weird if it didn’t right? Read what it says on Goodreads about Hill and this book: “Hill’s most famous work, Think and Grow Rich (1937), is one of the best-selling books of all time (at the time of Hill’s death in 1970, Think and Grow Rich had sold 20 million copies).” 

Here are a few of the passages which spoke to me for one reason or another:

Open-mindedness is essential for belief. Closed minds do not inspire faith, courage, and belief. 

Every man is what he is, because of the DOMINATING THOUGHTS which he permits to occupy his mind. 

we-are-where-we-are-and-what-we-are-because-of-ouKnowledge is only potential power. 

[…] the word ‘educate‘ is derived from the Latin word ‘educo‘, meaning to educe, to draw out, to DEVELOP FROM WITHIN.

Any man is educated who knows how to get knowledge when he needs it, and how to organize that knowledge into definite plans of action. 

The person who stops studying merely because he has finished school is forever hopelessly doomed to mediocrity, no matter what may be his calling. The way of success is the way of continuous pursuit of knowledge.

[…] we are where we are, and what we are, because of our own conduct!

A book worth reading? Hm. Yes. It is. But I hope (and trust!) that there’s a revised edition more recently re-worked, and if I were you, I’d pick up such a copy instead of the original unabridged version.

The book I am blogging about is part of the book-reading challenge I’ve set for myself during 2018, to read and blog about 26 Swedish and 26 English books, one book every week, books that I already own.

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