Musical legend Joni Mitchell wrote the hit song “Both Sides Now” that was recorded by Judy Collins in 1967. Even if you were not alive when that song was released you are probably familiar with the tune and perhaps some of the lyrics; like “I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now”, and “I really don’t know clouds at all.”
A couple of days ago I made a post that included a shameless reference to the dagger soliloquy in Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Looking back at that post I was remiss in not taking the time to pay homage to my late high school senior English teacher, David Johnson.
Mr. Johnson stood in front of a class of 30 seniors at James M. Bennett High School and had them fall in love with William Shakespeare. Granted, it did not happen at first, but it surely did happen over a gradual period of time.
As students, we were being exposed to a classic story told from a different time, using a different form of the English language than we were accustomed to using. We were encouraged to read and interpret in ways that were comfortable for us and urged to share our views, no matter how silly or outrageous, in order to invoke conversations among ourselves. Mr. Johnson never ridiculed anybody’s view, but he would ask us thought provoking questions that helped us mold our views and express them more thoughtfully and, of course, more articulately. He presented things for us to consider, but never told us what to think.
To this day I credit Mr. Johnson for teaching me to look at “both sides” of every issue, balancing one view against the other, and prompting me to make a more informed view of what I really thought about things. I suppose you could call it playing the devil’s advocate, for lack of a better term.
Mr. Johnson also taught us that making an informed decision does not necessarily make it the right decision, as all opinions, just like life itself, will evolve over time, and are rightly subject to change.
Over the past many weeks my typical morning involves me watching 60 to 90 minutes each of ABC, FOX, and CNN. I run it all through my mind, considering all views, before I make up my mind.
As students on Delmarva soon return to school virtually, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, I am certain that if Mr. Johnson was teaching them online, that he would have them performing the “dagger soliloquy” via an online Zoom meeting. They would be laughing and learning and developing into more critical thinkers.
I do not doubt, as our kids return to school. that they will discover their own Mr. Johnson and continue to get excited about learning in this troubling time.
We’ll see both sides of clouds over the next few days. Today should be the last mid 90’s day under partly cloudy skies. Storm clouds should appear tomorrow into the weekend as things cool off and we experience some thunderstorms. High temps on Friday should be about 85 degrees.
Florida will be contending with Tropical Storm Isaias this weekend. We on Delmarva will want to watch the track of the storm as it could potentially affect us this coming week.
Tropical Storm #Isaias will bring gusty winds and heavy rain to parts of the Caribbean before approaching the Southeast Coast this weekend.
— The Weather Channel (@weatherchannel) July 30, 2020