Shawn L. Bird

Original poetry, commentary, and fiction. All copyrights reserved.

pondering- suck it up October 11, 2019

I have a smart dog.

He’s a miniature poodle, and we’ve been doing trick training since he was a pup. He earned his first trick dog title at 8 months old.  Now we’re working on his Trick Dog Championship and there are a couple of foundation things I realize I had not taught him. Since they’re needed for his championship video, I had to teach them.

Last night, I decided we would learn “hold an object in your mouth.”  There are a couple of options to show this. He could walk with me with an object for 10 seconds or stationary hold something for 6 seconds.  First, I tried just having him walk with his ball.  He is capable of holding a ball indefinitely, but, he wants to give it to me to throw, so keeping it and walking up and down the hall at my side did not work.

I switched to the dowel.  Holding a dowel is a foundation for carrying a dumb-bell which is a basic competitive obedience skill. I had been shown how to teach this and had a dowel, but I had never tried it with Kiltti.  I filled a bowl of Cheerios (our training treat) and called him over.  I attempted to put the dowel in his mouth.  He was having NONE of it.  He ran off and refused to come to me.  Evil lady with nefarious plotting in mind!

I went and got a leash.  He welcomed the leash, and then regretted it when I led him back to the couch.  I looped the leash around my leg, and we tried again.  I opened his mouth and set the dowel behind his canines. I gently held his bottom jaw and told him how talented and amazing he was.

His eyes told me he was not stupid enough to believe any nice things I was saying. I let go the jaw, he spit out the dowel he was given lots of treats.  We spent about 2 minutes on this, with his occasional attempts at escape foiled by the leash, and then he was released to go play ball.

An hour later, I picked him up and we did it again.  This time I didn’t have to hold the bottom of the jaw.  I told him how brilliant he was as I lengthened the time.  2 minutes and many Cheerios later, off he went.

Third time, no problem. I filmed him holding the dowel on his own for 12 seconds, twice the time required.  He still thinks this is a stupid trick, but he does it.

This is such a metaphor for some of my more recalcitrant students!  They spit out the dowel of whatever lesson we’re working on.  They don’t care that it’s a building block that is necessary for something they will need to do later on.

Those students who will give a couple of minutes get the task over with, are free to move onto things they enjoy more.  The next time they try the task, it’s easier.  Still not thrilling, but again, it just takes a small effort of cooperation to get it done.  Those kids get a decent report card.  No missing assignments!  In my class, that invariably means at least a B.  Their reward is success!

But those kids who are still feverishly spitting out the dowel?

The obstacle only gets larger when you fight it.  Growth comes with trying new things and trusting there’s a reason to know something, that knowledge is power.

Learning how to ‘suck it up and get it done’ is a valuable life skill.

Here is a scintillating video of Kiltti holding his dowel. 🙂  Excuse my voice. Still dealing with a cold. 🙂

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poem- not conservative, just not living August 29, 2019

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 8:19 pm
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Outside the change room,

she looked into the mirror.

Lovely,

polished,

dynamic,

and classy

in the pale blue duster jacket.

Perfectly suited her colouring.

Stunning.

“I love this,” she sighs.

“I love these on other people.  I just know that I would never wear it.”

I am aghast. “You could wear it to the grocery store!”  She could wear it anywhere.

But no.  She left in an orange dress,  that made her complexion blotchy.

I have no business being sad, that she put away a pale, blue jacket, that suited her,

because of fears I’m imagining for her.

“Do you imagine I’m conservative?” she asks.

“It doesn’t matter what I think,” I shrug.

But she looked damn fantastic in that blue duster jacket.

 

poem-imperfection March 1, 2018

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 1:39 pm
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I only dream

that the first time is the only time

to do something.

I only dream

that no one can find complaint

omission or regret.

I only dream

of polished perfection

in momentary introspection.

I only dream

and roll my eyes

at expectation of perfection

your rejection of infallibility

is nothing to do with me.

 

poem-reality June 21, 2017

Eventually

Reality has to intervene.

You’re not destined for the NHL

Or the corps de ballet

Your voice will not sell

A million records.

Simon sends you packing.

 

Reality can suck.

But if playing hockey

Brings you happiness

Why stop just because you’ll never hoist the Stanley Cup?

Dance like nobody’s watching

Sing until you’re smiling.

 

Don’t let reality rob you of the joy

Of the activity itself.

The rush of a beautiful pass and goal.

The beauty of a perfectly formed pirouette.

The harmony than hums in your ear.

Celebrate those moments for ten thousand hours.

 

They say ten thousand hours yields excellence.

Perhaps you’ll need twenty.

Or thirty.

Embrace the joy.

Share in a community of like minds.

Perhaps after forty thousand hours

Your reality will change

And if it doesn’t,

At least you’ll nurture your soul.

Like reality,

Success has many faces.

 

poem-just when May 25, 2017

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 1:24 pm
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Just when I think there’s been a change

Just when I think the brain’s been rearranged

Just when I think obstacles have been constrained

There’s a smash, crashing return to the old

The opening petals refuse to unfold

The rebirthing story will not be told

Just when I imagine, my hope’s short-changed.

Reality is bitterly cold.

My expectations are really what’s strange.

 

poem- believed me January 20, 2017

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 10:55 am
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I believed me

when I told myself I couldn’t do it.

I believed me

when I told myself nothing could be done.

I believed me

when I told myself nothing could change.

I believed me,

but I was wrong.

 

poem-weeps March 30, 2016

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 10:43 am
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Tears appear;

truth pools in her eyes.

She looks out the window, scenery unseen,

one droplet,  breaking free, tracks a slow progress across

cheek,

chin,

neck.

Another makes the parallel journey.

She turns her face, while she waits, wishes,

then slowly grows the knowledge

that what is

will be.

She weeps out the weakness.

While there may be grief,

acceptance brings resilience.

Resilience

is the power of belief

and relief.

 

 
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