Thinking with Nuance and with Complexity

I  posted the following remarks on “Get Schooled” blog of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Saturday, September 5, 2015. I hope that the readers of “MaryElizabethSings” will take the time to read what I have posted, below, because I think that my thoughts will foster that peace in the world which we all seek.  I begin with understanding the complexity in teaching reading skills, but I build to the complexity within a world vision, thereafter.


“As a reading specialist, I have helped many students to learn to read well (or better), from remedial students to advanced students and I well know the value of pre-kindergarten students knowing their letters and sounds and sight words even before they start kindergarten.

However, I applaud this author for understanding, beyond letters and sounds and individual words, the organic, developmental whole of nurturing a child from birth onward to be one with himself emotionally, physically, and intellectually.  A parent’s nurturing in these ways has tremendous impact upon even reading skills.  We know that often when children stutter, it can spring from an interruption in the natural emotional development of many of these children.  And, I applaud this author for understanding that each child will have his own natural rate of development in absorbing skills.  This is what I have mentioned regarding continuous progress in grades 1 – 12, but in actuality this individual rate of development begins before grade one.  It begins at birth, and even before birth.

Often, I have encouraged people reading this blog to “refine” their thinking processes.  Exactly, what have I meant by this?  I have meant that the more complexity of thought we can hold in our minds – intellectual and emotional understanding – the more nuanced or refined our thinking processes will be, and the more we are able to alter the world in positive ways because this nuanced thinking is more in tune with emotional and intellectual truths.  More specifically, it means that we can contain what most people think as paradoxical thought as combined thought to a greater understanding, or more refined or nuanced understanding of truth.  This holds true for individuals as well as for ideas.  That is why I can simultaneously understand how teaching children the mechanics of reading early and reading to them and talking to them, go hand in hand with a mother’s “cooing” to her infants as she rocks them.  These forces work together to create a balanced individual.

Thinking in paradoxical thought is what allows me to understand how Thomas Jefferson could have slaves and even have children by his slave mistress of 37 years (his deceased wife’s half sister) and still believe fervently in the fact that all are created equal and be against slavery.  Jefferson thought in terms of process, not rigidities.

Moreover, thinking in complexities is what can allow me to encourage a poster to release himself from anger and even hate in order to try to help that poster spiritually, even if I do not agree with his philosophical or political views, and even if I do not like him or her personally. It is possible to try to help someone you do not like, just as it is possible to love your enemies.  Complex thought. Nuanced thought. Refined thought.  We are all better off the deeper we know ourselves and others, and that comes from study, not of math or science, but of human nature and spiritual truths found in literature, the arts, and history.

I hope that most will understand, and benefit from, my thoughts expressed here.”


In a political arena, I believe that it will take putting together paradoxes in our own minds, and expanding those paradoxes to a point where they can contain harmony, to build that world peace, as Secretary of State John Kerry and President Obama seem to understand as they build relationships with world leaders who at times have been America’s enemies.

The Six-Member nation agreement with Iran, including the U.S., Russia, China and the United Kingdom, France, and Germany is an example where, even with so-called enemy nations in the world, we can forge ways to work together for our mutual benefit. My below post starts specifically with seemingly paradoxical or different approaches to the teaching of reading skills, but it builds to a crescendo of a worldview for building peace on Earth.  We are all becoming one on Earth, as climate change and refugee and immigrant movement have demonstrated, already. We will need to find ways to continue to work in harmony, even with former enemies, for the mutual benefit of all of our children throughout the planet, and their children, in matters such as nuclear disarmament and climate change, among other matters, some of which cannot now be foreseen.

Link to the “Get Schooled” blog on which my words, above, appeared:

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