Lessons After the Bell-Expanded Edition: A Man Who Views the World the Same at 50 as He Did at 20 Has Wasted 30 Years of His Life *

Lessons After the Bell-Expanded Edition: A Man Who Views the World the Same at 50 as He Did at 20 Has Wasted 30 Years of His Life *

by Barney Martlew


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Everyone has events in their lives that can translate into stories. Those stories, in turn, may contain lessons that can be shared for the benefit of others. That is the premise upon which Lessons after the BellExpanded Edition was written. The stories chosen for inclusion all convey a thoughtful message or principle that is worthy of consideration for living an exemplary life.

What better way to live a life filled with peace, contentment, and joy and to be able to share those qualities with others? Perhaps these stories of lifes lessons will move you further down that path or get you started all together. What a great goal!

I wish I had learned some things earlier in life is a statement we all can make. The things will vary, but the principle is the same: lessons learned earlier would have made our lives easier or better or different. Those changes, in turn, would perhaps remove some of the difficulties and challenges we face; perhaps they would put us in a better position to help others. Both are desirable outcomes. The stories told herein are meant to help others in those ways.

The subtitle of the book A Man Who Views the World . . . is a quote from boxing legend Muhammad Ali, a man who had many words of wisdom to share. Learning lessons from other peoples experiences gives us a broader and more comprehensive view of the world in which we liveanother fine goal.

So this is my hope: that you will find this book pleasant to read and that the stories will convey lessons that will help you as you go through life. I wish for you much joy and peace.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781504397803
Publisher: Balboa Press
Publication date: 03/17/2018
Pages: 230
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.52(d)

About the Author

Stories told serve two purposes: foremost, a gifted storyteller is an entertainer who calms our minds and leave us with a sense of peaceful satisfaction. Secondly, they convey lessons of life that may help others grow, mature, and gain new insights and understandings. Those were my motivating thoughts as I wrote this book. The stories contained herein are easy to read, yet thoughtful and entertaining. I hope you enjoy them.

Barney Martlew, January 31, 2018

Read an Excerpt


Lessons After What Bell?

The various ways through which we learn are quite interesting when you stop and think about it. Sometimes the lessons are straightforward; sometimes they are learned through repeated exposure to a specific type of event. Some lessons are set to a specific block of time; permit me to use as reference the ring of a bell to denote the start, and another to denote the end. Other lessons fade in and out, with no well-defined start or stop. We learn through both methods.

Now consider this: The best way to learn a lesson or remember information is to put words to music. Think, for example, how many songs you know the lyrics to. Music affects all of us this way. We don't intentionally set out to memorize the words of a song, yet we learn them, and associate the words to different points in the music as the melody flows through our mind. Psychologists and other professionals who are knowledgeable in human behavior probably have a term for this and can explain the process whereby it happens. I don't know what that term is though. I just know it works.

Another way to remember information is by taking key points and associating them with a story. There is something about the human brain that processes information in such a manner. When association is made with something else our depth of understanding is enhanced. Equally important, our ability to recall the lesson also improves. Just as we connect words to music, we connect important points to associated stories.

On second thought I do know terms used to describe this process: cognitive thinking, and cognitive reasoning - a thought process whereby information is strung together in a reasonable, rational manner. When recalling one detail we also recall other details where an association has been made between them. Story telling creates those associations, the links between lessons and experiences.

A common practice used in storytelling to convey a point and create a sense of association is a metaphor. By definition, metaphors create the association between words and pictures that help us remember key points. For instance, when I looked up the word metaphor in my dictionary (The New Webster's Encyclopedic Dictionary of the English Language, copyright 1997) it referenced the title of a very old Christian hymn, "A Mighty Fortress is Our God", as an example.

So, what does God look like? I don't know. But when I think of a fortress, I think of strong, sturdy, long lasting, impenetrable, protective, ... precisely the qualities and attributes we associate with God. I get it, metaphors work. By the way, I am a dinosaur, I like using the bound book dictionary I have rather than searching online. (Hey, another metaphor.)

As I write this sentence, a thought is on my mind, wondering if I'll get in trouble for citing copyrighted material? I don't know, but I guess I'll find out soon enough. Let's continue.

Now look at the jacket of this book. Both cover and title are meant to represent metaphors. I had three metaphors in mind when I started this project. Do you see them? Two should be clear and the third may be a bit obtuse. By some peoples' way of thinking two of the concepts may be sufficiently similar that there is no significant difference. It's your call. I don't object to either interpretation. Here's how I look at it, though:

• The building represents an old time, one room schoolhouse. In days gone by children would walk from afar to attend school, and all ages would be together in the same room. A single teacher would provide the instruction for each subject and every level of learning. Unique to the one-room setting, the older children would help the younger ones with their studies. Once the bell rang, lessons began. Not only did the younger kids learn from the teacher, but from the older kids too. In effect the young ones learned from those who had previously been in their position. Also, the older ones enhanced their knowledge and understanding by repeating and explaining lessons to the younger ones. That created a sense of community between older and younger. Lessons after the bell were both formal instruction coming from the teacher, and the informal reinforcement by peers and older kids' involvements. In similar manner lessons of life come from both formal and informal sources.

• Or the building may represent an old country church. Not many examples exist of this today but there was a time where it was common for a community to be called together by the Sunday morning ringing of a church bell.

Prior to World War I, North America, both the United States and Canada, were primarily agrarian societies. Most people lived on farms or in rural settings. City populations were not nearly the size they are today.

Life in those days was physically hard - hard, hard, hard. Much of the work performed was by manual labor. Automation, to the extent it existed, was very basic. Talk to a farmer about an eight hour work day and he'd tell you he had two of those six days a week; talk about a 40 hour work week, and he'd tell you his 40 hours started about an hour before sun up on Monday, and ended around noon on Wednesday. He'd then go on to say he still had 3 1/2 days to go before he got a day of rest. And there were still chores to do, even on that day.

Life was emotionally hard too. Farming accidents were prevalent, and that brought hardship to many. Infant mortality was off the charts, as were the number of women who died during childbirth, once the leading cause of death for the female gender. Life expectancy was significantly less than today. By the time you hit age 60 your body was simply worn out.

City life was equally challenging, with all the hardships of farm life and more. Fraternal organizations such as the Benevolent Protective Order of the Elks (BPOE, known today as the Elks Club), the Moose Club, and other social groups formed for two reasons. One was they provided the core for the social structure of subgroups in a community - the chance for men to gather and families to gather with others. The other reason, of particular importance to a family-focused working man, was that these groups provided a safety net in times of serious injury or a premature death. Every member of such organization knew that if he died and left a family behind there was a group of others who would care for them.

By today's standards both rural life and city life were hard, but a respite came with Sundays. The morning tolling of the church bell served as an early model of a public-address system. It notified folks that the time had come to set aside work obligations for a while and change the focus of their efforts. Even those who weren't spiritually minded benefitted. The majority of the population established the practices and mores of society that enabled communities to function and prosper.

Following Sunday morning church there was a relative day of rest; a chance to interact with others. The morning was for spiritual worship and education; the afternoon allowed the opportunity for relaxation and fellowship with others. Both morning and afternoon provided opportunities for learning - lessons after the (church) bell.

Toil and hardship compel folks to set priorities and decide what the fundamental needs and purpose of life are. These Sunday opportunities were embraced by most of the population. Mundane incidentals were set aside for more important aspects of life and living.

• Now think about a boxer, metaphor number three.

The lessons here may be a bit less obvious, but they are still very real. Where a boxer's education begins and where it ends are two completely different environments. Two boxers enter a ring ready for a match - healthy, prepared, confident. Each has subjected himself to intense physical training and has come to the match mentally prepared; each has aspirations of winning. Both have subjected themselves to disciplined regimens, and sought to learn about their opponent's fighting style. Regarding the upcoming match both boxers have a theoretical knowledge of what may happen, formal education. The real education comes after the bell rings and the fight starts - lessons after the bell - a significant difference between preparation and application; what works in theory, and what works in practice. One will prevail, both will be bruised and bloodied; both learn.

Boxers learn about being in the ring by being in the ring. It is there where they hone the disciplines of their sport, compete, and sometimes fail. A wise boxer analyzes his failures to assess what went wrong, modifies his style, perfects his skills, and moves on, improved, to compete again. A lost match (failure) typically doesn't thwart a boxer from continuing in his profession, and he doesn't dwell on things that went wrong. But he does learn from them.

These metaphors represent how we go through life and how we learn. A large portion of the process comes about in clean, orderly environments. Home instruction, schools, colleges, churches and synagogues provide structure, answer questions, and educate. These, along with other similar affiliations, accomplish the formal aspects of education and development, and provide the foundation of learning. The informal components - experiencing hardships; learning through personal attempts at accomplishments, both successes and failures; and learning through the experiences of others - are equally important. The former provides a framework for learning; the latter builds on that framework through experience. When coupled together they enhance comprehension, understanding, and wisdom.

To sum this up let's go back to the analogy of the boxer for a moment:

• As the boxer prepares for his fight he gains knowledge. His preparation is his formal education. The converse is also true: his formal education is his preparation. Both mental and physical efforts are required.

• Regardless of whether he wins or loses, as the boxer endures the pummeling of the match he gains experience which enhances his comprehension of what it takes to prevail. The environment of the boxing ring is where the informal education occurs, and it creates a level knowledge called wisdom.

Wisdom is the goal. Wisdom is the light that illuminates the path ahead. It is the foundation that supports sound decisions. Seek wisdom. It comes from experiential learning, both yours and that which you glean from others.

Learning from others is the purpose of this book.


Thank You Ms. Johnson, Wherever You Are

Thank you, Ms. Johnson. You inspired me to want to learn. For the better, you were an amazing influence in my life.

Eleventh grade was an epochal year for me, at least in terms of understanding math, and regarding the decision I made to apply myself. Up to that point anything associated with school and learning caused a mental malfunction. It wasn't a case of not comprehending whatever the subject of the hour was, I just didn't care. I'd sit in class out of obligation and watch the minutes of the hour go by: a circular analog clock with three hands - a red one that swept the circle once every 60 seconds; a long black hand that took 60 times as long to complete the same task; and a short black hand that moved 30 degrees around a circle in the same amount of time it took the other black hand to go a full 360 degrees. One hour, then on to the next class and the next clock to watch.

Being the annoying adolescent I was definitely irritated the situation. In fact it was a root cause of the problem. Though not my intention, I made myself unlikeable. I managed to frustrate one middle school math teacher to the point where she screamed at me. To this day I remember her words: "Don't ever become an architect or engineer! You're terrible at math!" My initial reaction was to think: "How do I know what I want to be(?), I'm only 13 years old." But I believed her. A scowling, semi-maniacal authority figure told me something and I figured that since she said it, it must be true.

The next couple years became a self-fulfilling prophecy reinforced by subsequent teachers. My memory is that they wrote me off prematurely. Looking back, they would probably tell you I was an annoying, impetuous kid who made their job difficult.

By the time I hit eleventh grade I was rebellious, arrogant, and cocky. I was also very insecure so I had to put on a boastful front - a survival mode instinct.

Enter Ms. Johnson, my 11th grade math teacher. She chose to treat me different than others had. Rather than write me off, she saw through my facade. I remember her words too (kinda): "You can be good at math if you apply yourself." She didn't tell me I was smart (how would she know), rather her encouragement came as a challenge: "Work hard. It doesn't come easy, but you'll figure it out." Given my teenage inclination toward self-absorption I still marvel that a person who should have had no influence in my life became a source of inspiration. What I find interesting is that, as a result of her expressed confidence in me, not only did my math skills improve but my performance in every other class improved as well. Out of concern that Ms. Johnson might talk with my other teachers (further evidence of teenage self-absorption) I didn't want to disappoint her or give her reason to lose confidence in me.

A foundational truth came into play through those events: When someone expresses confidence in you in one area, you naturally want to improve in other areas too.

So in the spirit of Ms. Johnson let me express confidence in you. It is legitimate for me to do that because most people simply get overwhelmed at times and don't know what the right thing to do is. It has nothing to do with intellectual capability. Rather, it pertains to being organized, setting goals, and moving forward.

Ms. Johnson had a series of rules she used to get us through the anxieties of learning math. Those rules have application to life and living as well:

Math takes time. You can't just read the pages of a book and plough through math. It takes time to work through the process.

The words math and life can be used interchangeably and the rule will still apply. Life takes time, and you have to work through the process. The goal isn't to avoid conflicts nor avoid making mistakes; the goal should be to learn and move forward. All of us experience successes and failures, so use both to your benefit. Learn, improve, and move forward

Think of what you know, and what is being asked.

This rule applies to deciding which equation should be used to solve a problem. By looking at the information provided you can discard all the math equations that don't fit. For example, if the information provided deals with radians, degrees, and angles, you know you have either a geometry or trigonometry problem to solve. Thus you don't need to consider math equations that deal with finance or algebra because those equations can't use the information provided. Focus and simplify. Focus and simplify is an important discipline to develop in life as well. There is a lot of "noise" (distractions, promises, wants, and the opinion of others) that clamor for our attention. Politicians use this to their advantage, as do advertisers. Both manipulate human emotions to achieve their own goals. Our challenge is to separate out all the noise, and make decisions based on sound reasoning and factors we know to be true.

Break big problems down into their individual components. Treat each big problem as a cluster of little problems. They are easier to understand that way. Then solve the individual little problems.

This needs no explanation as the principle applies in life just as it does in mathematics. There is a caveat to this that is worth mentioning though. Complex problems often seem that way because we let noise - the details that scream the loudest - distract us. That is just part of human nature. As we learn to dissociate ourselves with the urgency of the moment we also develop the skill to break a complex issue into root causes and secondary issues. Root causes, also referred to as primary issues, are those that control the overall outcome. Secondary issues can be thought of as minor details. They may be important but they are not at the heart of the matter. Secondary issues are conditional on, and are subject to, primary issues.

Standard operating procedure in dealing with complex issues is to break the problem down into primary and secondary components. Then work on solving the primary issues. In doing so many of the secondary issues typically go away, or become sufficiently insignificant that they can be easily resolved later.


Excerpted from "Lessons After the Bell – Expanded Edition"
by .
Copyright © 2018 Barney Martlew.
Excerpted by permission of Balboa Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements, xiii,
So, Just What Was I Thinking?, xv,
1. Lessons After What Bell?, 1,
2. Thank You Ms. Johnson, Wherever You Are, 7,
3. Corrie ten Boom, 11,
4. Priorities, and a Guy Named Bonhoeffer, 15,
5. Evidence Documented in History, 21,
6. Vancouver in September, 29,
7. Everyone is My Superior, 36,
8. The Path Trough Life I - Meteoric Ascents and Misfortunes, 43,
9. The Path Through Life II - Trepidations and Foggy Notions, 47,
10. able Manners, 53,
11. The Daily Challenges of Grace - Granting and Receiving, 59,
12. A Bite Out of the Apple, 68,
13. A Cold Reception to Manmade Global Warming, 74,
14. Choices This Side of the Grave, 91,
15. Follow the Money Trail - Keeping an Eye on [begin strikethrough]Personal Finances[end strikethrough] Life, 97,
16. Axioms and Other Thoughts, 110,
17. Short Shorts - Defining Characteristics and General Observations, 116,
18. Pitiful Prose, Meaningful Message, 136,
19. 30 Second Ponder, 151,
20. Bub, 159,
21. The Songbird Cafe, 162,
22. Peripheral Vision and Loss Thereof, 166,
23. Things You Really Need to Know, And I Said So, 178,
24. Respectfully, We Have Our Rights, Responsibly, 183,
25. A Buck is a Buck, or So They Say, 191,
26. Facing the Facts and Comin' to Jesus, 194,
27. A Meaningful Life, 201,

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