Measure This!

Top o’ the morning to you All!

With all of the excitement coming out of Great Britain for Prince Philip’s 91st birthday and, last weekend’s celebration’s there in his absence, I thought I’d borrow a British phrase to start the morning off! It is a lovely country, as I had a chance to visit it while teaching European History at White Plains High School. London was an intriguing place to visit including Westminster Abbey, Piccadilly Square/Circus, 10 Downing Street, Big Ben and the magnificent view of the Thames River. The Royal Museum takes a few days to visit with all of its many fine exhibits and displays! Simply marvelous!

Yet, the place I am from and the place I will stay, more than likely, is the Grand Ole USA! Always something exciting going on here … “from Sea to shining Sea!” One of my most growth producing era’s here was my time in college. Since I initially wanted to study Psychology, I often gravitated toward studies that involved a lot of “test and measurements”. In psychology, for example, one would become obsessed with measuring IQ (intelligence quotient). As I found my way into more socially oriented studies including social psychology, I found a preoccupation in determining the accuracy of a study’s findings by measuring the standard deviation. Kenneth Clark and Karen Kaiser Clark were amongst the psychologist that intrigued me most in addition to studies by B. F. Skinner and Pavlov.

“Our society places great emphasis on how well each person is doing. It makes us judgmental and competitive … We can’t stop the measuring …” Still there is much more to each of us than what can be measured by a test, scale or score, even in athletic competitions like basketball games and baseball games as well as tennis matches. Have you ever tried to measure love, loyalty or peace? Not so easy to ascertain any scale that holds mathematical measurements for values and philosophies, perhaps.

We learned so much in college courses that we are a product of our environment. We studied the juxtaposition between “nature vs. nurture” theories. I found that we are a combination of them both! So, in essence, may we be cognizant of the multifaceted characteristics of our human personalities and not limit ourselves to being able to measure values like respect, honesty, peace and wholeness. May we embrace each other along this journey and continually lift each other up.

“We are each so much more than what some reduce to measuring.” – Karen Kaiser Clark

Today, I will remember that my value as a man (or woman) isn’t measured on a man-made scale. (TOUCHSTONES June 11th)

Have a wonderful Monday and a great week!


John I. Cook, Director
Educational Excellence
ps – An additional special thanks to Coach Armond “Doc” Hill of the Boston Celtics, my former room mate at Princeton, who provided me with some great seats to see Game 7 of the Play Off match with the Miami Heat this past weekend! Can’t measure that kind of friendship either.

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