Towel Day is a celebration of the life and work of the late Douglas Adams, hysterically funny author of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and many other books. Fans carry a towel, or sometimes signs that say "Don't Panic," to show their love of his work and their commitment to keeping his memory alive.
(Both the towel and the saying are references to The Hitchhiker's Guide. By the way, the books are MUCH better than the movie!)
also on this date:
Happy Birthday, Ralph Waldo Emerson
Born on this day in 1803, in Boston, Massachusetts, Emerson grew up to be one of America's most important writers and philosophers. His friends included writer/philosopher Henry David Thoreau, Bronson Alcott (father of Little Women author Louisa May Alcott), and Nathaniel Hawthorne (author of The Scarlet Letter).
Emerson is associated with the Transcendentalist movement, and he promoted the idea of individualism—that is, the importance of independence and self-reliance rather than group-think.
Here are some quotes from Emerson:
“Children are all foreigners.”
“A friend is one before whom I may think aloud.”
“A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is braver five minutes longer.”
“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”
Dive into Philosophy
I found an interesting Philosophy-for-Kids website: A philosophy professor of Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts, Thomas Wartenberg, created the website with discussion questions on philosophical topics raised by children's books, including short picture books. Called “book modules,” these could be a great resource for talking about important ideas.
This very short video of a classroom discussion inspires us to deal with deep ideas like beauty and value.
Another website devoted to kids and philosophy is Kids Think About It. There are lots of resources here, and some interesting mini-bios (“Famous Brains”) and questions about Big Ideas (“Try This at Home”).
Emerson seemed to think that there was a lot of wisdom to be found in nature. Here are some quotes:
“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.”Go outside today and soak up a little bit of wisdom, laughter, and nature.
“The sky is the daily bread of the eyes.”
“Earth laughs in flowers....”
Emerson: Master of the Chiasmus
I'm sure you're asking, what in the world is chiasmus?
It's a figure of speech in which there are two phrases, and the words in the first phrase are just turned the other way around in the second phrase. Here are some examples:
We should eat to live, not live to eat.
Why do we drive on a parkway and park on a driveway?
Ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.” (John F. Kennedy)
Here are some examples of chiasmus written by Emerson:
"The true philosopher and the true poet are one,
and a beauty, which is truth,
and a truth, which is beauty,
is the aim of both."
"If a man owns land,
the land owns him."
"Words are also actions,
and actions are a kind of words."
Can you write or find some examples of chiasmus?