About Greek art and the little things that make our lives

Usually on Thursdays I tell you about a book I have read, or an idea that I have got from a book; and sometimes I also engage in polemics but then I would, wouldn’t I? These past weeks, I have been so frightfully busy and so preoccupied that I have not had the time to look at a book, even less to read one. What am I preoccupied with, you may ask?

A piece of very complex writing! It is a report but it is of very complex nature; I have all the concepts and empirical material but I still don’t have the elegance that a text ought to possess to be read and to enchant. Still working on it and experimenting but have been needing support from me ‘beehive’ and complete focus.

I very seldom allow emotions on my blog; I don’t do emotions very well to begin with; also this is supposed to be a repository of information and a place for reflexion and debate – not a gushing ground. Today though is different!

I have been feeling so tired lately that I haven’t been exactly brimming with positivity. On top of all this a student of mine has been insisting to meet me for several weeks now; he was so un-specific about the reasons for that (remember, I am on sabbatical) that I told him that I’ll let him know when I am in next. And it was today. Guess why he wanted to see me?

My student wanted to see me to give me the statuette you see on the picture. It comes from Greece and is called ‘Female figurine of the “folded arm” type’ and comes from the early Cycladic II period (2800-2300 B.C.). Don’t get excited, it is not an original. It is still beautiful; in fact I am not certain whether the picture I took does it credit but we’ll have to settle for it.

I am looking at the figurine and I am feeling all choked up. Good choked up. I do get small gifts from students from time to time (recently I got a kangaroo skin; apparently a great souvenir from Australia). But this is mostly from my PhD students and it is not surprising: after all I work very closely with them and, being rather old fashioned, I do invite them to my home. This is different! This guy is an undergraduate, one of the group that I was mentoring and teaching theory, and method.

It is a fine gift and I’ll treasure it. What choked me up though was not the statuette; it was what came with it. A small card that said:

“To my father I owe my life; to my teacher, the quality of my life.”

(Alexander the Great about Aristotle)

I have always taken great pleasure in seeing the students’ eyes light up with curiosity and thirst for knowledge; this is what I like doing! It looks like they have been paying attention and it feels so good!

These are little things that make our lives complete!

17 thoughts on “About Greek art and the little things that make our lives”

  1. I think teachers play a much larger role in shaping future society than people give credit for. You have such an influence into the minds and opinions of future generations. We all owe a lot to those who have taught us. We are who we are because of them.

    1. @Miss T: Thanks! I only teach grown up people; until recently I only taught PhD and Masters students. But when I was talking to one of the administrators in my office, saying in jest that I don’t contribute much, I remember her telling me that I ‘touch the future’. Sounded very nice at the time!

  2. Wonderful post. Remember that for every one student who has the words and the confidence to tell you that, there are many who feel it but can’t express it.

    1. @Pat: You reckon? Hope so and not because I am insecure (this as well 😆 ) but because this will mean I am doing a good job. University education is largely about teaching people what to do with it!

      1. Most definitely! I had a fantastic prof last semester to the point that I almost cried when I finally passed the course. I was so grateful because he truly is a great teacher and I actually learned a lot (and avoided regurgitating crap instead of learning) I let him know about this in the course review and thought I should go see him just to say thanks and shake his hand, but never did. Perhaps I will have a chance to thank him in the future.

  3. Wow, I wish I’d had you as a teacher! My best professor in college retired after my sophomore year. On his last day of class, we threw a party for him – we did skits for him, and one student even wrote a song for him!

    1. @Elizabeth: I am sure you had many good profs. Strangely you are not the first one to utter ‘I wish I had you as a teacher’ – a junior academic came and told me that after my conference lecture once. I took them for a drink so – what are you drinking?

    1. @John: It is really great and I have put the note safely away as well. And thanks right back!Although I think that the people we should really be thanking are the teachers who teach little kids – they are ace!

  4. Ah that’s cool. We gave gifts to our kid’t daycare teachers this week because of teacher appreciation. Emotions are good too. I sometimes feel the honesty makes it feel more real.

    1. @Jai: Agreed on the emotion thing. Have I told you that I don’t do emotions very well (high Aspergers scorer; not clinical but not far off either).There is hope for me it seems…

  5. Get that note out of the drawer lady – get it pinned up in front of you so that you see it every day ………….. in fact this is something we should all do.

    A “Bragging Wall” just for ourselves – capturing all the certificates, photos, letters, cards ……… a place for us all to celebrate the successful things we have achieved and so often gloss over.

    You have touched a life – nothing more successful than that hon

    1. @Elaine: It is still in the draw; but thanks for reminding me that having a default position of ‘I am an impostor and will be caught anyt eime now’ is probably the wrong thing to do. Working on the ‘bragging’ wall.

    1. @101 Centavos: Hope so although it is not so much about remembering me (this is nice) but it is about me knowing that I have contributed something to these people’s lives. University education doesn’t have to be a waste of money and time; this depends on your teachers/role models and on what you do with it.

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