Sunday, June 22, 2014


After receiving what I consider to be some very sound advice - I have decided to take a step back on the publication of my Thoughts - which I hope will result in two steps forward. I am preparing to publish on Amazon which will result in a considerable reduction in the price of the book - and will save me a lot of work and headaches on the distribution. I have a few kinks to work out and will notify everyone as soon as the book is available!!

Going this direction will also make the book available as an E Book for those who have abandoned Paper!!

Thank you so much for your patience and support.

As Always - Amor y Abrazos

The indigenous people of northern Mexico have a saying that water in the desert can be found only in shallow wells. The saying arose from the belief that if you stayed out in the hot sun long enough to did a deep well you wouldn't be alive to enjoy the results of your labor.

There seems to be evidence that wonders of prodigies are produced from sources that are readily available while most of us can spend a lifetime struggling to paint a beautiful picture, compose a beautiful song or write inspirational poetry with limited results.

I have often had similar thoughts about teachers. There seem to be some who have the ability to teach as an art form and don't have to wade through a lot of methodology or research to be able to excite and stimulate students with a great desire to know and understand.

I don't think we can condemn and find fault with the masses that must spend their days digging deeper and deeper attempting to approach what seems to be an inborn gift to others. In fact, I believe their efforts should be applauded. But, never the less, we should stand in awe of those who have been blessed to be teachers, just as we stand in awe of the Beethoven’s, the Michel-Angelo’s or the Shakespeare’s of our planet.

My uncle Owen whom I had the occasion to spend a few weeks of two summers helping during my teen years (as much as a boy bred and reared in the city can help on a cattle ranch), had an innate ability to make others know and understand. When I pause and reflect on those summers spent under his tutelage I can't remember his ever having to show or demonstrate a responsibility more than once. He was never hesitant to instruct me in the use of machinery which my upbringing might have indicated would be beyond my grasp.

I suspect he had a willing student since driving a tractor or a truck or operating a manure spreader in these pre-drivers licensed days was intriguing to a lad barely starting his teen years. However, there was just that ‘something’ in the way he explained and showed me things which made me want to learn and experience the things which he was so adept at doing.

As far as I know, he had never had any formal training on the methods of teaching, but whenever he wanted to show me something, learning and understanding always seemed to happen.

Even though his training was lacking his credentials were valid.

He had an exhaustive knowledge and interest in his subject.

He had an unsatiated desire to expand his knowledge and understand and keep abreast of the new discoveries in husbandry and agriculture.

His willingness to share his knowledge was endless.

He had the patience to accept and look beyond the inefficiencies of those who were not equal to his abilities.

His love for others seemed bottomless, which seemed to give him an added desire to help them to develop and progress.

What he possessed was indeed a ‘Pearl of Great Price’. He possessed the art of being a teacher.

I don't believe everyone is a prodigy of teaching any more than everyone is a prodigy of any of the arts. I believe those who are blessed with this gift, are almost under some divine obligation to use it.

I believe that the rest of us who are not naturally gifted are under just as firm an obligation to do all we can to develop our limited abilities (to spend time digging in heat of the day, if you will) to teach at the highest level we possibly can, because it is indeed holy ground we step upon when we venture into the developing of the thoughts and actions of another.

During those two summers of my developmental years which I spent under the watchful eye of my uncle, one of the subjects I was schooled in was the ‘field’ of ‘seed-ology’. I learned that if a person wanted to grow wheat he had to start by planting wheat seeds and no matter how many barley or oat seeds he might plant the earth would not give forth wheat until it had received a wheat seed. (Did I not indicate that I was bred and raised a city boy?)

In our endeavors in the classroom, I am convince after the many years I spent in front of students, the process of learning will not begin to bear fruit until the teacher pays the price to understand the student. It is contrary to the nature of things to be able to make square pegs fit in round holes.

Therefore, teaching, much like ‘seed-ology’, demands that the teacher have knowledge of the seed, the ground and the nurturing processes necessary for the development of their students.

The teacher needs to learn about the student’s previous educational experiences, their likes and aptitudes in the educational process.

The teacher needs to learn about the student’s environment outside of the classroom where his informal and, some think, his real education takes place.

The teacher needs to become enlightened as to the right stimuli which will motivate each student to come to the point of learning readiness.

The more we learn about our students, the key to helping them learn will be more easily turned. Just as when farmers become masters of ‘seed-ology’ they will have greater ability to maximize their harvests.

“How come the bull she won't give milk?” I guess I must have asked the question, because for as long as uncle Owen lived and whenever we gathered as family, he would remind all who were within the sound of his voice, of my level of ignorance about the ways of farming and ranching by repeating this quote which he claimed to be my exact words.

So I suspect besides learning that a bull is not a she and it is the cow who gives milk, it was also through his art of teaching that I learned that the sweet honey on the table was made by the thousands of bees which had gathered the nectar produced by the flowers which adorned the valley floor which grew from the ground where bees and men are buried.

The educational process likewise has a circle of existence. The person you wish your students to become and that which you wish them to learn will largely be determined by what you as a teacher have become and the knowledge and understanding you have gathered from the wonders of the world.

Therefore, if you wish to advance as a teacher, you must be ever learning.

If you want to be a faithful guide you must be ever elevating your level of living.

In the teaching profession or calling there are few who are naturally gifted, but the many can, through dedication, develop the skills necessary to be lovingly called teacher by someone who has been touched.

The toolbox of the teaching profession is brim full and being added to continually. They who truly wish to approach the effectiveness of the ‘teacher artist’ will return to the box often, making sure their tools are polished and sharpened and, when necessary, pay the price to add to their overflowing stock.

Though it may be true that nature has bestowed on some a ‘Pearl of Great Price’ which seems to allow them an endless supply of water found in shallow wells, the rewards reaped by those who must be continually digging deeper and deeper will be equally as meaningful.

Just as the number of wheat kernels which come from a single seed cannot be counted, the results of the efforts of teaching, whether by one of prodigy or painfully developed, cannot be imagined.

I have no doubt that my thankfulness for having spent the majority of my life being referred to as a teacher will extend throughout all eternity. I also know that whether you have the gift of teaching or have become one through hours of extreme effort, that your heart will likewise swell with gratitude when you contemplate the bounteousness which resulted from your faithful sowing.


  1. Our "ever learning" process, and that "seed growing" seems to be aided by the spirit, or when it is, that is when we really learn. Thanks for your part in that process for me.

    Jean Seavey

  2. I will treasure this "THOUGHTS" because it's a reflection of myself.

    I'm delighted that you are moving forward in preparing to publish "the book". Remember, I've asked for one!


    Carla Johnson

  3. So happy to hear you will be publishing on Amazon-I have a Kindle Paperwhite and usually just buy books for it.
    Thank you so much for you emails, I really enjoy reading them.
    Hello to Kathy also-You are both in my prayers always

    Joni Mullin Decker

  4. Sounds great .. Keep us posted !!!

    Geralene Beckett

  5. Awesome idea! Can't wait to get the book

    Brodie Woods

  6. Hi Bro. Riley,

    Due to internet problems, I got behind on reading my email. If it is not too late please add me to the list for your book.

    Phillip Knarr

  7. Thank you so much Brother Riley! I'm a member of your fan club and can't wait to purchase this wonderful book!

    Betty Draper

  8. Love the idea of the e-book. I have a Kindle!

    Gayle Randall

  9. Muchass Gracias Hnos !!!Un saludo desde la Antartida pero con fervor Argentino !!! Jaja Verdaderamente un placer recibir sus mails

    Mercedes Castillo

  10. I suppose at the end of the day you have to get at the motive for writing the book. I have decided that my pieces will be passed on as files on CDs; but that may be even more fleeting that bound paper pages. After a few generations the bablings will be misunderstood anyway. Great care must be exercised in all this; we do not get carried away with our accomplishments; all of which have arms and leggs ect; all because one daughter of God saw something in us: miracle of miracles!

    Paul Hansen

  11. Gracias por sus mensajes edificantes

    Fe Maria Hidalgo Maza

  12. Hi, Bill and Kathy! I hope all's well in your little corner of the world! I surely do miss all of my Mission Viejo friends . . . very badly! We're slowly settling into a new and different life down here in Fallbrook, although between commuting to RSM (me) and Fullerton (Mike, although he's retiring next week!)we've hardly had a chance to unpack! Our 3-car garage beckons to me frequently and adamently to come and relieve it's bulging cardboard overload! Hahaha! Someday . . .

    I'd LOVE to buy a book, if it's not too late? I love your thoughts and stories and inspirations. Please let me know the total cost and I'll get a check in the mail to you (I still have my old ward list). I miss you guys.

    Thanks ~ Angie Chapman