If you want to check my professional side, use my LinkedIn profile.

For some it takes more than a lifetime; they enter and then leave this planet without ever being completely sure of what it was they wanted to do. Not me. The choice to become an educator was, maybe, not even a choice. It was, rather something that just came naturally.

Not that I am a believer in destiny, mind you. Sure we all have our strengths and weaknesses. It would be foolish to dispute that our genetic make-up is such that we’re a better fit for some careers than others. It would  likewise be equally stupid to dismiss the effect that social background has on the people we eventually become. That said, in every waking minute we are faced with choices, some small and some significant. In the end, who we become is affected by all three “n’s”: nature, nurture and “Nah—I’ll make my own choices.”

I left home at age 16 to attend university, clueless but armed with one superpower: I was aware of just how little I knew. I did, however know one thing: my future would be in education. And so, here I am, almost four decades later, not quite pleased with all of the choices I made at that period of my life but somewhat satisfied in the knowledge that I got at least one thing right.

I often break things. I vividly recall the admonishment from by Grando MacCormack, back in Dublin around 1965, when he realized that I’d been trying too hard to figure out just how it worked. My hands-on approach had, it seems, left the device in somewhat of a state of disrepair. “You Banjaxed the clock!”


It was only later that the full realization of what I’d done sunk in. I hadn’t finished the task; hadn’t approached the task in the right way. I truly hadn’t a clue but from that point on was aware of it. That knowledge came, though, through a lifetime of learning; of both the physical world (through a formal study of physics and math) and of the world inhabited by people (through a long career in education as well as a lifetime love of reading history, psychology and all things social).

In order to make things better you must go deep to figure out the root causes, as I slowly realized. To do that you must adopt a disciplined problem solving approach, but one that is tempered by an appreciation of the “others” in your life. Subsequently, in my professional career I gained a reputation of being able to fix things: things like devices (fun), systems (a challenge) and relationships (life giving). But as my friend and mentor, Lloyd Gill, used to tell everyone, generally I have to break things a bit worse before I can fix them. That’s because you have to take the time to listen and learn; to figure out why each component exists before you can fix or improve it.

I still banjax things; and when I look around at this wonderful complex unpredictable world also know that compared to what’s out there I still haven’t a clue but at least I still know that.

There's something to be said for making sure your boots are up to the task. It's also wise to know when to go forward and when to seek a better path.
There’s something to be said for making sure your boots are up to the task. It’s also wise to know when to go forward and when to seek a better path.

54 thoughts on “About

  1. Hi Maurice,

    Thank you so much for liking my arnnarn.com blog. I apologize for not responding earlier, but with the book out, I’ve been slammed, but in a good way. Hope to hear from you again.


  2. Hi Maurice,

    Thank You so much for liking my post “Waiting (Impatiently) For The Outcome” at giftofra.com. I like the way you write and also your observations – I had forgotten about ducks, so many of us are paddling furiously underwater. Keep on writing.

  3. Beautifully said, Maurice, especially about finding the right person and how that improves your life and all its experiences exponentially. My wife is living proof of that. I’m sure your is, too. I also really like the part about the starfish, and how gentle persistent pressure can lead to great things — or at least a great meal. If you’re a starfish. Actually, I don’t like seafood, so scratch that last part. At any rate, I couldn’t agree with you more on life, its quests and being careful not to gallop through the journey. Cheers 🙂

  4. Hi Maurice….Thanks for stopping by my blog. I too enjoyed the CBC article about the choir in Newfoundland. I read About Me on your blog and enjoyed it greatly, especially about the learning experience through Grandpa’s clock. I too rely on the Lord and the wonderful Ps. 23 among others. I came from Wales originally…..hey, maybe we’re Celtic cousins? All the best for 2013.

  5. Hey Maurice, apart from a curiosity for life, looks like we share some other stuff … married in ’88 with 4 kids among them. 🙂 Hope 2013 is starting well for you. Col

  6. Hey, Mr. Barry! Yeah! I think the new Mars Rover is awesome too! ^_^ But I never really knew that fact about starfish. I think I should be reading some more. Thanks for dropping by my website by the way. Reading on…. 😉

  7. Hey, Maurice, thanks for visiting my O’Canada Blog (www.ocanadablog.com) and liking the story about Tilting on Fogo Island. Your essay above on your About page is quite well stated and I can definitely relate. I look forward to keeping up with your commentary.


    Brett (a/k/a CanadaShadow)

    1. Thanks! In a former life I was a physics teacher (18 years). I co-wrote a text and authored several web resources…and am a life-long geek– so, as you can guess, following back was not merely a courtesy :>) Your posts are dense–it takes a longer than usual amount of time to read one– but are well worth the effort. I will only comment from time to time–when I have something to say–but I will read them all! BTW–I enjoy Cedar’s digest, especially when he gets on a roll; he’s quite insightful when he gets mad!

      1. Thanks a lot! I know I sometimes tend to squeeze too much stuff that’s on my mind into a single post 😉 I should split it up – as you did with the story on mooses – really enjoyed that one! I am following Cedar’s digest now, too!

  8. littlerhody

    Love your photos and blog….funny, that our grandparents both lived in Dublin…mine lived in Glasnevin (was known as Ballymun)

    1. So many parallels in this world when we take the time to look. If you are interested take a look at the post ‘guys relationships and Grando.’ It’s (mostly) about my grandfather in Dublin. Ballymun–sure I could–almost–walk there from where I was!

      1. littlerhody

        Loved it…I have a few postings in my Irish American or Catholic Lite categories that touch upon my background that you might be interested in…still have 3 aunts in Dublin and one in Mayo…the others left…

  9. Though I have been visiting your blog off and on and reading your posts, occasionally, I took it into my head to read about you only today! And I’m so happy I did, perhaps because I’m persistent too: some might call it plodding, but I hammer away and hammer away till one day the stone breaks, to be made into something more creative. It was the last hammer throw that broke the stone, but it couldn’t have, had it not been for the effort that went before, could it?

    It seems to me your students have been very fortunate to have you teach them. I feel that the lessons they carry from their interactions with you will take them far and make them more human: creative and compassionate.

    1. Thank you, and yes, like you I’m not always a ‘rules’ person :>) I’ll also add that not only do I enjoy visiting your blog and learning about what my fellow-nerd is up to but I also appreciate your frequent, insightful comments.

  10. Pingback: Better than Freshly Pressed | theseeker

      1. Stunning. Not sure why I’m attracted to the apparently-barren landscapes; perhaps it’s the knowledge that there is so much more life there than what meets the eye. The whole Augustinian notion that we can’t always see everything that matters (because not everything that matters is, in fact, matter).

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