While everyone in the Northeast is sheltering

It was a nice run today. I really can’t complain. Some fatigue, still facing a bit of a malaise. Overall tempo was right, form felt good, I really can’t complain. Meanwhile, with my work schedule changing next week, I may have a change in my running schedule, I have to see how I react to everything.
So I’m going to hop into work early this afternoon, put together some desks we need for this weekend. Big weekend, Cambridge Exams. Cambridge is the “Gold Standard” for ESL proficiency examinations, for those who don’t know. So it’s a big deal, it’s what most of our students strive for, whatever level they may be. Only 4 of my students have exams this week. I have every confidence in all four of them. They’re bright, they’re motivated, I know their skills are up to the challenge. At the same time, you never know what will happen on test day, and people freeze up, have trouble, get stressed. We have our ideas about testing and everything all wrong in this world. People need to not get so stressed about it.
Yet the more I think about it, the more that stress over exams, proficiency, etc. is all just a furthering of the problems we have in society. I’m all for globalization in the sense that people begin to truly understand we’re all in this together and we all deserve equal treatment and protection, but the fact is, humanity has been global for a long time now. Modern globalization has been all about what the “Age of Discovery” was about, cutting out the middle-man. Marco Polo didn’t “discover” China for Europeans, they all knew there was a place these spices were coming from. He found Europe’s own trade route. Columbus wasn’t looking for a New World, he was trying to get to India and avoid sailing around Africa. Henry Hudson was trying to do the same thing. Ironically, thanks to modern industrialization, and green house gas emissions, the fabled “Northwest Passage” is now a reality. But the point remains, the archaeological record shows movement of goods and peoples from all sorts of fantastical locations for centuries more than the average person imagines.
Did most human beings travel across the known world back then? No. Do most people travel across the world today, even with how relatively inexpensive and quick it is? No. I mean, I’m not just the only one of my siblings with a passport, but out of this entire generation of my family, I’m pretty sure I’m only one of two with a passport. Out of my entire, immediate family, only three of us have a passport, and I’m pretty sure at least one of them is expired. Basically, I hold half the passports in my family. Most people don’t travel, most people didn’t travel. But those who did, it wasn’t just a static, quick transaction. Over time people migrated as well. This world has never been stationary, humanity has always been on the move. The history of all peoples has been dynamic, much to the chagrin of most of those who love to just sit on their hands where they are.
I think, and I know I’ve been talking about history a lot lately, that the biggest mistake we make is teaching it all as numbers, dates, lines, statistics, names. We don’t show how dynamic the world has always been, how frenetic humanity has always been. People look at history as a progression, or regression, of how we got where we are today, and that we are the pinnacle of that history, instead of seeing that humanity has always been the same, in general, and that only our knowledge base increases. It truly is a shame, as we totally miss out on the lessons of what makes us, well, Us.

Have fun, keep running, and remember; if Gil can run then so can you!

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