The Orphan Causes

So that no one is left abandoned or forsaken.

How not to be deeply moved when I see an elderly person struggling to find his way in this world that has so much trouble to keep people safe and well treated.

How not to feel the tears of rage and deep tenderness, when these people speak up about the giant works they have accomplished. They almost never gave up, each day being such a challenging fight they had to win to ensure the peace and well-being of their loved ones.

Today we define rare diseases as “orphan diseases”. In other words people with diseases considered rare but for which medical and scientific research does not devote any budget considering the limited number of patients, thus the limited expected profits from creating a new treatment.

Just like those cases left on the back benches of our humanity along with other “collateral causes” there are also – not really a top secret thing – the causes that I like to call “Orphan Causes”

Let’s talk a bit about the cause of seniors, those people who have worked for so many years, looking after their family, their children, their home, their daily meal preparation.  Have we ever wondered how dull was it for a mom to get these thousand of meals, sometimes feeling hurt by their loved ones comments, “too hot, too salty, too dull “ Yes of course we smile many years later when we remember when we used to avoid a certain meal, but how about all that time mom did spend preparing it ?

Family members take for granted a well-ordered, clean house, a tasty meal that simmers in a saucepan when one comes home from work or school

It is assumed that all this is given to us in the most natural manner. But aren’t we forgetting behind these stories there are people. What about the time when senior dad or mom gets tired , age or is no longer fully efficient “like before”.?

When these forgotten people become an orphan cause that we ought to live with, then I assume we have a serious problem.

Let us not let them become some kind of “embarrassing or too much greedy for attention”. As parents and friends get involved, we begin to “suggest” a center for the elderly. I have nothing against this fact, but if life is a cycle that continues is it not more humane to discuss and know how to deal with it especially with them, I mean our seniors? Don’t they have a say on the matter of their own life. I guess that’s the whole point of the problem.

Each person is a unique story, a unique life, each child lives or will have lived unusual events, the idea is not at all getting rid of someone, rather to provide some human dignity at the end of life, don’t we agree right?

Often I observe people, their gestures, their physique.

Have you ever noticed if they could speak up how many stories these elders hands could tell us? These hands all wrinkled but how beautiful by its elegance and finesse beyond the years of hard work, such shriveled hands, deserve a better fate than being parked into some kind of place. I was looking at a couple of seniors today at the medical clinic, the  man was wearing the same ring on his right hand, after noticing  he looks at me his face quietly showing a smile of whom knows the meaning. We did connect through a ring of the same kind. Both seniors we understood each other.
This man made me think of what could have been his life, hands that survived winds and swamps, basically it’s all that remains: Dignity and self-respect so hardly earned !


What to say about these parents that “we forget in their home” we go to see them when we have time, or when the game of football or hockey does not fall during this day or this evening, so easy to postpone a visit to mom and dad, or our grandparents.

In the jungle of smart devices culture (Smartphones, tablets, components, maybe soon smart companions, smart kids and smart planet), we use such devices for almost everything except communicating with each other. What about after reading this paper giving a call to grandad or grandma, eventuelly mom or dad ?

So what do we do ? Will we let these orphan causes interfere with our social model? I pray life that you would answer yourselves something other than a simple polite silence by way of a response ! If that helps I could dial your folks phone number for you!

Michel ©



Never underestimate the power of books !


To a special friend…


“Let us pick up our books and our pens,” I said. “They are our most powerful weapons. One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world.”
Malala Yousafzai


Of all the papers that speak about books, there are seldom those addressed to authors or writers. Generally speaking, a paper will advertise the latest publication or the first book of a new author.  

Anyone would tell that the bond between the author and the readers is obvious, hence such obviousness may also trigger the prevalence of certain gaps that need to be reminded to writers.

Once my first book was published, I was excited expecting my readers’ comments , hoping they would share more than encouraging words. In fact,  there’s been a common expression that came in the various feedback notes. It was about emotions. Yes, emotions that readers felt and discovered through my chronicles.

I was impressed and sincerely humbled as I never imagined that simple chronicles could spark such personal and intimate state of the heart.

As if people reminded me of what mattered the most through pages and chapters. “You allowed me to feel emotions I thought I had forgotten”. I assume that says it all about a book.

Whether we deliver a novel,  chronicles, essays or short stories,  we deliver a part of our intimacy to the eyes of the reader; at that point, we better be real and true. The bond between a writer and his audience is one of trust and honesty.

I learned a lot from these newly found friends (my readers), they showed me how high they put the bar of expectations for this book and eventually the next ones to come.

I rushed to my book shelves, did sort through these,  filing  those who procured me emotions during their reading. I tagged them as “my emotions books”; those I would read again with the same pleasure as in the first time.

If it is tempting to use a seductive style, or draw audience’s interest to appreciate how good writers we are; however if we cannot deliver our emotions, there are chances people will start fast reading through pages or simply abandon the volume as I did to the books that never procured me any emotion.

Delivering a book is a responsibility, a great one, our readers’ trust based on a very simple and human attitude: emotions !

Michel ©  

Earth Day!


If we are ever to halt climate change and conserve land,
water and other resources, not to mention reduce animal suffering,
we must celebrate Earth Day every day – at every meal.
Ingrid Newkirk


It is strange that such an event goes unnoticed, so poorly promoted. Yet I think it should be amongst the most important occasions not to celebrate but to meditate about our “Home”, planet Earth. Our home’s address that consists of a single word: Earth.

It is also strange that we are preoccupied about claiming resources on other planets where our own is left forsaken by the same who anticipate how to colonize other worlds. Such a thin excuse to cover what in our own house we are unable to keep things right.

Shall we keep on using our critical resources and leave our own waste and trash moving on to cleaner places and redo the same?

I find it very ironic when many official sources and NGOs promote recycling and the fact of being “green”, they drown us  discoursing about sustainability. Speaking of recycling without proper civic education is in itself a waste of time and energy.

The real sustainability is out of our hands if we do not consider ourselves as part of this sustainable balance. Alas we grant to profit the biggest part and allocate so little to the base foundation of people wellbeing and profit prosperity that is our planet.

Interchanging between people and profit has proven so far that prosperity has not benefit masses, as many populations still suffer from hunger and lack of decent life.

How odd it is that research dedicates many efforts to extend people’s health and life where millions do not have clean fresh water and proper food, not to say they are left starving and lack knowledge that will grant them their autonomy and freedom. Do these technologies care for making some people work longer to grow the profit of the few?

Earth Day is such an important day!
Wishing you to male it yours not just on April 22, but every day we still live on this amazing place we call Earth!

Until our next chat,

Michel ©


The Forgotten Language.


Blog April 201

 Strange that we all defend our wrongs
with more vigour than we do our rights.
 Gibran K. Gibran
(Sand and Foam)

 According to the site “Ethnologue” site (, considered as a trusted source on linguistics and world languages, there are approximately 7100 used (spoken, written,…) languages today amongst the 7 billion people living today.

 There are many regions in this world where populations strive very hard to protect their own language as it refers to their history and legacy. 

 Among all these spoken languages there is one, just one that seems to be missing, or should I say forgotten. Yes that language existed some time ago, the human language.

If each nation is proud to protect and speak her own language, what about human kind who seems to have really forgotten what it is to speak the most exclusive one? The one that does not need years of learning, school attending, grades and tests, its learning starts from the first day we come to life.  Yet the one that is disremembered so easily.

 Whatever country we live in, we are solicited from every source of information. Whether it is daily messages, formal communications, political discourse or social and personal exchanges, the human language seems to be left out. Left out to the benefit of other expressions that progressively dehumanize the essence of our own behaviour.

 The frequent use of comparatives, affirmations and how often negative expressions tend to be the only menu that is served every time we are receiving any sort of information. This tends to be a precarious exposure to a new standard of personal acculturation.

 The use of verbal innuendo became the panacea to seduce people, double meaning is, alas, king. Messages often transmit the form and seldom the substance.

 It is not a matter of syntax or grammar, it is rather how the true meaning of things are transmitted to people. The true nature of things.

 News networks are fondly using sensational expressions, words that will glue us to the screen, from a simple event made a drama, and for a global concern a simple piece of news.

 The scale of values has swung from an extreme to another.  Networks in general seek to wow people so they come back and listen to their daily flow of “things” they present as truth, even if unverified and poorly validated. They have “processed” their audiences to trust their certainties as solid facts. Whom else should they believe when they parse every piece of news with their regular panel of experts who seem to have found all of the answers to complexity and problem solving?

 And if the information appears to be missing accuracy, another event covers the previous and the 24/7 ingestion of what people need to listen and believe goes on.

 I wonder how many people can explain clearly what they understood from a live TV coverage. Sometimes I just keep record of how many times the reporter repeated the same expression under various fashions. It is very disappointing that most important events are so poorly covered. I had a friend who used to say on such situations: “It lacks substance!” Before turning off the TV.

 And yes, substance is all what it is about. Substance mixed with true human attitude.

 Compassion, empathy, are human related expressions. Care, concern, may be considered as  human attitudes. Truth sincerity and clarity,  describe professional and public attitudes.  Aren’t these the fundamentals of human universal language?

 How many times in a day we would use the positive words even to express a negative answer? Don’t we really miss that kind of culture? Let us prevent the actual to become the norm our young ones will learn as the adults of future, our world is really in need for a humanized change.

 Until our next chat,

 Michel ©



A Book! Creating a Story! A Story about Real Life!


We are all storytellers, but if we are first storytellers,
and second humans, we run the risk of manipulating
our lives to create a story, rather than living out
our lives and sharing where we’ve been.

Vesterfelt (Unblogger)[i]

 The first time someone mentioned I was a “writer” it really made me feel very strange. I never imagined I would be called “writer”. It has been over three years I started blogging for the fun, for myself, mostly because I love writing.

Nevertheless the idea of writing was persistent to the point it haunted my thoughts before I got myself into putting words about stories, these real life stories that happened to me.

From simple events to observations, taking advantage of every day’s commuting to work back and forth, interacting with coworkers in my field, and much more.

I rarely worried about finding a topic to write about. Life is such an amazing place where every second has its own story. My preoccupation being instead answering that essential question of how true my story was, and what it related to things I have lived for real.

I must admit I was very new to the world of digital writing. Most of my teachers during the various courses I attended wrote papers, some had their own blogs, and a few wrote and published books. It seemed to me the bar was too high to consider such activity.

Among the few researches I made, I purchased  a book about blogging, it was “the” trigger for my very first paper. A paper I wrote but never published. That book “Unblogger” by Darrell Vesterfelt spoke of why people would blog or write a book. A very different approach from the lot of many other authors, Darrell spoke about real life events, such events becoming stories he wrote and shared with his audience.. “Unblogger” sparked this entire adventure that has being ongoing since 2011.

One of the most challenging matter I was confronted to: deciding in which language I would like to write.

Living in a bilingual speaking country, I wished to share my papers with both French and English natives. After a couple of articles in French, someone asked me if I would not start writing in English as well.  To my worries about syntax and good writing style, a friend, who is an experienced writer and published author shared her own challenges about writing skills. She said, I remember “Write no matter what! We all do mistakes! You will never know how good or bad it is unless you write and publish your first paper” she then added, “Remember, if your subject is captivating, readers will be tolerant towards your writing” So I did, I did write and I did publish my first paper in English, it was read by 50 people, a couple of positive comments, I had all what it took to go on.

The main difficulty I was facing, and still it is, that regardless of the language I speak and know enough well, my grammatical and writing structure remained French. What a nightmare it felt when rereading myself to find a French translated text. It  lost the entire essence of the meaning. I knew it would confuse readers more than ever.

Back to square one! That is when ones regrets for not paying attention to the English teacher who provided all creative efforts to teach me grammar and syntax. Bless you Mrs. Daphne ! You were so patient with me, I owe you so much, even if I was always late submitting my assignment or being late in your class. I owe you for those little tips you wrote on the margin of my papers (filled with red ink), they taught me a lot, yes, I kept these very preciously since, on a file !

We all need to write, we all need to keep our memory alive. That is what writers do, aren’t they? Writing is first to indulge yourself, have fun. Fame and success can wait, but feeling good about yourself is of essence.

One of the movies & the books that influenced my passion for reading (and after for writing) is definitely Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451”. How powerful is a book, how more powerful is a writer!

In today’s world we do not write any more, we keep ourselves busy in creating “How to” guidelines and users manuals. If kids learn to read at school it is more to read these guides rather than unleash their imagination, the imagination through writing!

Until our next chat.

Michel ©  


[i] Unblogger: Discovering the power of story in a how to world

Where does “Education “stand from “Profit Inc.”?


If all the rich and all of the church people should send their children to the public schools they would feel bound to concentrate their money on improving these schools until they met the highest ideals.
Susan B. Anthony

The add offered a variety of “products” to the high school graduates, then addressing to the “parents” aka the payers, it promoted an “affordable” tuition plan for their “loved” ones aka their “clients”.

No it is neither a joke nor a hoax; it was intending “serious business”. If the text ended there, one would not give it too much thought or concern, but it continued describing the benefits of registering to this university where social, humanistic and citizenship values would accompany students throughout their program, etc. etc. etc.

During my recent visit to Lebanon I met with teachers, students (clients) and parents (payers). To say the truth I knew that collecting education in the country has been one of the most important if not the first source of expenses, I tried to understand what have universities and higher education centers planned to help students to afford such requirements.

I admit I had an idea, but preferred to ask, hoping things did change since the time I used to live in the country.
I found out that things did not get better, worse would be a polite expression, I also discovered how most parents were living a very stressful state of mind as they had to struggle to afford these fortunes that were needed to ensure a good education for their loved ones. I met with people who worked double shifts or two jobs both husband and wife, just to meet both ends and of course pay these “affordable tuition plans”.

Some would say it is the price for ensuring the best for one’s children, and that is true, it is true when at the end of the loop these grads can hope finding a job, completing this entire (expensive) process. The truth, very rare openings can be expected in these days.

So let us recap this simple equation:
– Parents (Payers) work hard and occasionally sell a piece of land or mortgage their house to pay:
– Universities (Businesses) who always have a good explanation for the high cost, who:
– Graduate students (New job seekers)
The morality of this story is that there in none, most graduates leave the country to places where they will and would find a good starter in their professional and personal life!
But wait a minute, what is this country gaining from exporting the best of their future generations abroad? Where are those humanistic principles about “Educare” (The quest for knowledge), where are these plans for the building of a country?

I know there are many reasons why does education cost that much and such reasons would have a true and logical explanation, but aren’t we missing a key factor here? “Public Education” Aha!
Yes, public education seems to have inherited this say that the more expensive education is the better it is! Knowing that some of the top-notch teachers provide their services in both!

My brain tried to solve this flagrant contradiction, trying to share my thoughts with others, getting the inevitable phrase: “That’s the way it is, here!”

Strange times, strange logics, strange educational model! At the end of this unbelievable story, foreign countries should be grateful to admit all set and ready for the work force graduates.
The irony of accepting the: “That’s the way it is, here!”

Until our next chat

Michel J.B. – © 2016

The Concerns of Today’s Education Model: Imagination!


To teach, is to learn twice.
Joseph Joubert[i]


The concerns of today’s education realities! An Education model that lacks imagination!

If you have joined specialized social networks on education, you likely must have crossed specialists from various disciplines: mainstream and special needs education teachers, care givers and other persons dedicated for the learners’ wellbeing.

There are many ongoing discussions about new technologies, and many topics covering what some like to call a “reinvented education”, a new pedagogy (also known as “modern pedagogy”), after all these people’s efforts are mostly commendable in regards to education.

Concerns and efforts are well addressed and discussed, I sincerely admire these persons who dedicate their thoughts, minds and efforts to this domain. You may ask yourself if such being the case, then where I am getting at. I would like first to reassure readers of my full agreement that maths, grammar, science and writing skills are very important given the many challenges students will have to overcome during their entire life as learners and adult productive citizens.

However we must remember that these essentials are not the only skills students need to learn and become able to make use of all what they learn during their schooling life. Collecting knowledge is not only to memorize information, knowledge consists also in discoveries, comprehension and linking all the elements together as part of one global entity: our world, our universe.

Students need to learn about their local environment, they need to understand about citizenship culture, other people’s history, the traditions of ethnical diversity from other countries, and so much more about the sources of knowledge preparing them to be the real citizens of their own world, and not ours.

We are witnessing great changes into today’s world. Such changes are shaking most of the principles and the foundations of our model we have lived by until now.

The meaning and the true essence of human principles are being rewritten by the few who surprise the rest of the population with a fait accompli about such changes.

These events transpire on the future of education as well, students are asked to spend so much time in books, memorizing, and sitting for tests, instead of also discovering and retaining the result of their observations, their discoveries and what is real life about.

This will result in graduating future employees who will lack the necessary curiosity to go beyond what they are asked to do. The sense of initiative and the spirit of creativity will be seen as well as non-compliant behaviour, that the system in place will correct very rapidly.

I sincerely do not know through what kind of phenomenon it has been decided to push a very simplistic mode of grabbing and retaining information retention (funnily called “modern pedagogy”) rather than collecting and understanding knowledge, the excuses invoked to justify such approaches are the never ending statement “the guarantee of a job!” Ah! Yes! Impressive!

Creating more jobs! Can you believe that? Forgive my sarcasm, as it has never been much of unemployed youth in the so-called industrial and advanced countries than ever.

We see these young graduates who must, once their studies are completed, return to small “odd jobs” until something better happens, such jobs have nothing to do with their field of studies. SO next time you go to a coffee shop or a department store, and notice these young adults not showing a smiling face, you might understand the real reasons of their state of mind.

What comes top off for desolation, some specialists who speak, sometimes too often, about the virtues and benefits driven from new technologies, spread into ravishment at the borderline of mental ecstasy while the essential foundations of education is sorely lacking. Humanism, Social Sciences, a wider grasp and knowledge about other countries, cultures and populations.

Some time ago I expressed comments about how an educational system “treats” children (students) with learning difficulties. How kids must complete certain goals, achieve objectives, follow the one-size fits all model, when he or she fails a couple of times, then the student is simply tagged: “Child with educational special needs!” At that moment the kid is taken into the maze of the processes and never ending evaluations that will disconnect him or her from the feeling of being like other kids, worry the parents and extend such unclear diagnosis that retag the kid once for all: “Special Needs”. What a sad admission of failure! We could agree that not all kids who fail must have a behaviour problem! Sometimes it is about the model and the mind map of the person that does not click!

I know, most likely and probably I have been one of the many, one who has never been tagged as such! Yet I was labeled as “lacking attention> or “must put more efforts in memorizing”. Yet I managed to go through as I had the most important help and support: my own parents who believed I needed to find my own way in learning.

I do not deny that children with learning difficulties do exist and such cases are true realities, however it appears that the actual process tends to classify, sort and convey in a funnel all of who do not answer correctly to expected responses, do not reach and attain results and achievements as defined in that actual model, that is alas the inevitable rate of success.

As late as this morning I was reading several articles on the “famous recipes”, loads of advice, recommendations and tips to follow in order to achieve educational goals successfully!

For the love of life, could we change this sanitized language, which does not say much! Moreover these papers pivoted around the wonders that were attributed to the functionality of a given tablet!

Unfortunately so little was shared (a reminder: this paper was addressed to education specialists) about pedagogy, approaches, how the mentioned device would fit to these educational skills and not the other way.

Sincerely speaking, 7 over 10 papers promote the tool over the learning curve and the benefits kids or learners will get from using a given approach (please let’s call it pedagogy)

Correct me if I am wrong, it was never said that the tablet was at the core of the educational Yet specialists and experts made it the pivot of today’s learning! The core of the model is most likely the core of a bargain deal: “use the tablet so you can pass or succeed” and that looks wrong, very wrong! At least to me!

Specialists are tireless in finding educative values to new technology tools, I would rather expect them to act diligently in the opposite way: find the appropriate tool that fits the educational needs.

The educational model and the teams of experts seem to only promote brands and the gadgets surrounding that come with. Yes these applications are really cool yet how much value is in these for the sake of a good suitable education of our times? How much can we assure today’s clients (kids). We need to stop making these tools look indispensable to their own wellbeing, before they can understand and then decide what is the best tool for their knowledge.

I will never say enough how much of a fully persuaded and convinced user I am on new technologies, I own a couple of amazing tablets, tow e-readers, a very smart phone, I use most of the social networks, medias, clouds, remote printing, video-conferences. All my personal banking and communication activities pass through the net. Be assured I am not close to a cave man at 62 years old!

I have started connecting to the Web in 1994, a years after the first Web site was publicly launched by Tim Berners-Lee, my CompuServe© account number at that time was 3 digits, and my first personal site was created on those not so good looking black on grey background HTML pages! In the middle of the 90’s I contributed to the first e-learning program (e-learning not computer based training using a true portal also known as LMS – Learning Management System), and more activities I could have dreamed of in a life time. Yet my sole and only concern was and remains: people at the core of any educational solution.

If I would summarize my own vision about education: what can be taught with a couple of sheets and pencils and a true blackboard and chalks, can with no doubt be used with tablets and sci-fi equipment. All the true secret about education is focusing on how learner can learn with any tool, else they will always see what others use and keep at the bare minimal level of learning, becoming expert users of tools.

The point we miss today, is considering people’s need to learn how to learn! During all the teaching years I have cared to ensure that learners understand why and how instead of memorize, I used to say that books are useful when the educator is not available, helping learners to discover the thrill of finding new things and come up with an intelligible answer to their own benefit.

We badly need to learn how to learn!

Until our next chat.

© Michel J. B. – 2015

[i] Joseph Joubert, (7 May 1754 in Montignac, Périgord – 4 May 1824 in Paris) was a French moralist and essayist, remembered today largely for his Pensées (Thoughts), which was published posthumously.