When I was a counselor at a middle school and then at an elementary school in Florida, we started using a morning words of wisdom program. It was great. It started the day off with great words for students and staff to absorb in whatever way they might. I know many schools start the day in similar ways, and it makes me wonder if, by chance, there could be a correlation between schools that share words of wisdom and other good things like: less discipline problems, less jail terms for those students later in life, and yes, maybe even better academics. Since I have been asked nicely by Dave, my dear husband who put up with me in my Master's and Doctoral programs, to refrain from getting another degree, I may never find out myself. But I do wonder...
I get my words of wisdom from the Bible, from another big book that is an integral part of a 12-step group of which I am a proud member, from various readings I do, and yes, from Facebook. I told a friend this morning that I love reading people's positive posts about words they live by.
Today's blog is simply a sampling of some of my favorites I've grown to love over the years of teaching, loving, losing, and living. I'd be honored if you read mine then added your own to the comments below or to the comments in Facebook or Twitter or LinkedIn (wherever you read this).
1. "So much has been given to me, I have no time to ponder over that which has been denied." Okay, I'm going to admit that this quote is one that I don't always adhere to. It is highly possible that I might whine about silly things every once in awhile or get a bad case of the "I want"s. Everyone was supposed to let out a collective "What? Not you, Shelly!" in unison just now. Alas...it likely didn't happen. Hey, I said they were my favorite words of wisdom. I didn't say I practiced them 100%. While I love the quote itself, the author of the quote is what makes it so very dear to me. Any guesses? Helen Keller! I figure if she could say this with all she had to deal with, my problems seem pretty petty and first-worldish.
2. “The highest reward for person's toil is not what he gets for it, but what he becomes by it.” —John Ruskin. I made this quote into a sign that hung in my classroom when I taught students with severe behavior/emotional disorders. I had to find something, because they were always asking me, "Miss, what do we get if we do this?" I know that partially stemmed from the extrinsic reward system on which they had always been operated in school. But imagine my distinct pleasure when someone asked, "Do we get candy if we finish this?" and Mario starts to quote the quote himself. Honestly, I'm not totally sure they all understood the true meaning of it, but I will tell you that my brother, Ryan Armstrong and his wife are living the quote right now as they prepare to take a boatload (literally) of supplies to folks in Houston tomorrow, to help out in any way they can.
3. What others think about me is none of my business---Author Unknown I promise I would give credit to whomever first said this, but if you look online, it appears every 10th person in the world (slight exaggeration, perhaps) is credited with having said this. But what a truth! And coming from a slightly sensitive person who still suffers from 'I just want everyone to love me' every once in awhile, I am so grateful I have a spiritual advisor in my life who reminds me of this, not just in words but because she lives it, too.
4. I always have a choice, no matter what I do. I make the choice and I can't blame you. ----- Shelly How selfish, you might think, to use a tiny little poem I made up as one of my "wisdom quotes" to live by. The reason is it reminds me so much of my time as a school counselor and principal, when we were trying desperately to teach students to take responsibility for their own actions. "We don't act that way at ______" (fill in the blank with your own school, if you like) was another mantra, but always having a choice and knowing you don't have to act a certain way just because someone else acts in a certain way first is pretty freedom-filling. I am 51 (I did not hear the collective "No, Shelly, that can't be!"---you all are slacking off) and I still need to be reminded of this.
5. "Be still, and know that I am God"---Psalm 46:10 I think this might be my favorite because is my own meditation mantra. Why? Frankly, I have no issues with the "know that He is God" part, but the being still? Wowee. That is a tough one. I have some dear prayer partners in life who remind me (and each other) that this is likely a good one to live by. No matter what, He is God, and He can do what I, in all my control-freakiness, cannot do. So, I leave you with a bit of music to listen to before you aren't still anymore. Be still and know that He is God
Happy Communicating---please don't forget to share your favorite words of wisdom with me.