Posts Tagged ‘education’
When I try to figure out what to write about next, I aspire to writing something readable, more importantly, I strive to write things worth the time of those who seek out this site, which is why, today, I’ve decided to share the single-most effective way to improve relationships and do almost anything better. This may not be the secret to life, the universe and everything, but it’s close.
Simple. That’s all there is to it.
Got it now?
Your grade school teachers probably told you to pay attention, but this practice is even more important after the diploma days. Every aspect of your life will be easier, if you simply pay attention.
Many people sleepwalk through life, oblivious to what’s going on around them. With electronics and media to provide constant distractions, we have become super-prone to boredom, making it easier than ever to ignore the ordinary, but important things, like the people we live with.
Married folks stop paying attention to each other, and are then surprised when the relationship fails. Parents stop paying attention to their kids, and wonder why their kid’s peers leverage more influence. We find ourselves asking what’s missing from our lives, because we forget what’s really important. Whether you seek to improve relationships, advance in your career or just live a better life, paying attention is the all-purpose, most effective way to do anything better.
If you pay attention to people who are smarter than you, you’ll enjoy tuition-free, continuing education. If you pay attention to those who aren’t as smart as you, and you’ll have the opportunity to learn from their mistakes, without the trouble of making them yourself.
Pay attention to clocks and you’ll be less likely to be late. Pay attention to the way you spend your time, and you’ll be able to accomplish more. Pay attention today to where you’d like to be tomorrow. and it’s more likely you’ll find your way there.
Pay attention to your stuff and it will last longer. Whether it be investigating a small engine noise, before it becomes an expensive repair, or being mindful of where you take off your sunglasses, paying attention to the things you use each day, will save you time and money.
Pay attention to where you spend your money, and you’ll find it easier to manage.
Pay attention to what you eat and you’ll be one step closer to losing weight or becoming healthier.
Pay attention to your appearance and you’ll not only feel better about yourself, but others will see you in a more favorable way.
Pay attention to your surroundings, and you will be less likely to get lost. Pay attention when you’re in unfamiliar places, and you’ll be less likely to be a victim of a crime.
Pay attention to those above you and not only will you know how to please them, but you’ll also learn how they got where they are. Pay attention to those below you and you’ll learn everyone has value.
Pay attention to the likes and dislikes of your loved ones, and you’ll never be at a loss for how to make them smile, you’ll never be at a loss for what to buy them when it’s gift-giving time.
Pay attention to the negative thoughts echoing in your head, and you’ll realize how they waste and spoil your energy.
Pay attention to the differences between what people say and what they do. Sometimes actions speak louder than words, but sometimes actions are only what people want you to see.
Pay attention to what your kids do, what they say, and who they hang out with. Then, when they tell you you don’t know them, you’ll be able to show them you do.
Pay attention to the people around you, because when you understand them, they’ll be easier to love.
Pay attention to the people around you, you’ll find them eagerly paying attention too you.
A new school year is beginning. It is a time filled with excitement, anticipation, fear or dread. While students may be anxious on the first day of a new term, parents can be full of anxieties as they send their children to confront unknowns, whether it be preschool, the new chemistry teacher or their first year of college.
From the time one becomes a parent, there is a desire to do everything right. From the day the first child arrives, parents are absorbed in the quest for the right pediatrician, the right food, the right diaper, the right schools, the right teachers, the right courses, the list goes on and on. Parents are committed not only to not making mistakes, but also to preventing their children from making any. It’s a noble goal, but it isn’t possible.
Before I became a parent, I asked advice of someone I knew who seemed to have been an exemplary parent. She had educated them and given them every opportunity. She had encouraged to study music, play sports and learn languages, yet she stated on regret. By focusing all her attention on how to make them the best they could be, she had forgotten to educate them in their own humanity. She had neglected to instill her values in them.
The term “values” means different things to different persons–mostly predicated on our religious or philosophical beliefs–but as I see it, somewhere between The Seven Deadly Sins and the Seven Godly Virtues are the often under-emphasized Seven Necessary Qualities. Cultivate these, if you want to give your child the best chance to succeed.
1. Integrity – The quality of being who you’re supposed to be. It is having and honoring your convictions. It is being honest, keeping promises and doing what you say you will do.
2. Perseverance - This is the quality that causes us to survive, when we’d rather give up. It is being able to accept adversity without giving up. It is the ability to see a job to its finish. It is continuing when you’ve become exhausted. It is believing, when you’ve lost faith.
3. Optimism Defeatist thoughts sabotage our dreams, desires and our ability to succeed. At times when nobody believes in you, you must be able to believe in yourself. It is impossible to believe in yourself or others without optimism.
4. Thoughtfulness – Not the kind that causes some to always remember to send a get-well card, but the employment of critical thinking to see both sides of people and situations. It is the consideration of the viewpoints of others, as well as the ability to separate truth from fiction.
5. Leadership – The ability to partner with and lead others, without losing their respect. It is recognizing the contribution and value of others. It is helping other people find their strengths, while while navigating their weaknesses.
6. Humility - It is knowing you are human and acknowledging your shortcomings and those of others. It is the art of balancing your failings, with your sense of self. It is learning the practice of not taking one’s self too seriously. It is coming to terms with being wrong.
7. Likeability – If you can practice the things on the list above with kindness & good humor; likeability is a quality you will acquire without additional study.
Each of us comes to the world with qualities that make us who we are–the recognition of this is vital to being a good parent. We may be able to change behaviors, but we cannot change ourselves or our children into what they are not. There are students who will never be athletes, and athletes who will never be students. There are children who are at the center of everything. and others who prefer to disappear into the background. The very best thing we can do as parents is teach our children to succeed because of OR despite their personalities.
Trying to do everything right is a good but unachievable goal (and it doesn’t guarantee a good outcome). Trying to do everything right guarantees you will make mistakes. If you want your children to be their very best, teach them how to be wrong.
In teaching them to take responsibility for their failings, they will learn responsibility and integrity. When you teach them mistakes are inevitable and they will learn humility, as well as understanding of others. Teach them how to make amends for their mistakes and they will learn both empathy, justice and leadership. Teach them how to move past their own mistakes, and they will learn how to move from discouragement to success. Teach them to learn from mistakes, and they will have an ongoing education with no shortage of teachers.
I have a college degree and some other educational credentials. They are mostly useless, but I have them. I have yet to apply for a job where it mattered whether or not I had anything other than a college degree, yet the two least prestigious pieces of parchment I hold are the most significant to me. They are my high school diploma and my certificate in mariachi music.
A few years ago, a college in my area became the first in the United States (and I believe the world) to offer an accredited program in the study of Mariachi. I had been dabbling in mariachi for some time and made it my goal to be the first person to receive that degree. A friend of mine beat me to the pole position, but I was still able to become the first woman to ever receive this degree in a genre of music which was once exclusively the domain of men.
This might lead you to believe I’m an accomplished or scholarly musician. I am not. In fact, compared to my peers, I’m a hack. I suppose, if I were highly motivated I could parlay what I’ve learned into some kind of lucrative livelihood. Certainly my rudimentary knowledge of mariachi music, history and instruments would qualify me to teach, and while that might be a good fallback, it wasn‘t my motivation. To me, this degree is indicative of what it means to be an American.
I was born in America, taught to salute the flag and pledge allegiance to it. I was taught the principles of The Declaration of Independence and The Constitution of the United States. I was born in the time before being a celebrity meant having a platform for expressing contempt for America. In fact, when I was young, being anti-American could still get stars black-listed in Hollywood.
I was taught The Pilgrims were decent folk who came here seeking religious freedom. Now, school children are taught that the pilgrims represent the ruination of Native America. My ancestors were pilgrims, but not the Mayflower kind. As your ancestors probably were, they were just pilgrims seeking a better life for their families.
One side of my family came from Europe, the other from Mexico. Both came to The United States, because this country offered freedom, education, economic opportunity and a life free of government hostility. You’ve heard it all before, but the opportunities and freedoms unique to this country have given many the chance to build a better life. It was certainly true for my family.
In my grandmother’s country, she didn’t go to school. From the time she was very young until her death, she worked.
There are still countries in the world where children work, instead of going to school.
My mother’s life in this country meant she learned a new language and was able to go to school.
There are still countries where girls are not allowed to go to school.
When my mother left home, she set her sights on becoming a nurse.
There are still countries where governments decide what you will become.
She met my father, and married him two weeks later.
There are still countries where younger daughters must wait for older daughters to be married and husbands are selected by parents.
In just a few years, she had gone from living in a poor two-room house to living The American Dream in a home with bedrooms, heat and indoor plumbing.
What might take generations in many other countries, can be achieved here in decades.
I am grateful for having been allowed to go to school free of political indoctrination. I am glad to have been able to decide for myself where I would live, what I would do, and who I would marry. I am glad to have been able to work beside men, choose my own religious beliefs and receive a paycheck in return for my work. Surrounded by nice cars, appliances, and electronics, it is easy for Americans to take things for granted.
Our clothes, our shoes, our abundance of food, our books, our medicines would be luxuries in many other countries.
I am thankful for my high school diploma, because in those years, I learned something many schools no longer teach. I learned to be proud of this country. I am proud of the degree in mariachi. because it reminds me people of any race can come here, without sacrificing their cultural pride.
In other parts of the world, being a different race means being a target of genocide.
This country isn’t perfect. Our history is rife with mistakes. The politics of our country may leave us discouraged or disgusted, but individuals have the right to expose the flaws of our government.
In some countries, governments control access to information.
We can speak out against our leaders, without fear of retaliation. Men and women are allowed a vote.
In many countries, the citizens have neither a voice, nor a vote.
If I had been educated today, I might be ashamed of America. While there are certainly many shameful and regrettable things in our past, like slavery, our treatment of Native Americans, the bombing of Hiroshima, segregation, our economic policies, or some of our other military actions; this nation has done it’s best to respect the worth of the individual. We haven’t always gotten it right, but no other country in the world has demonstrated a greater commitment to freedom and democracy for all people.
America isn’t done making mistakes, but there isn’t a place I’d rather live. It is no small thing to be a woman who has opportunities and the right to make her own decisions in regards to her body, her family, and her future. Each time I drive past the plot of land where my mother once lived, I am moved. I am thankful for the opportunities America has given to me and to so many others. For being a woman born in America, I am as grateful as those pilgrims were on that first Thanksgiving.
May God bless and preserve all the best things about America.
Healthcare reform is a contentious issue. On the one hand, nobody wants anyone else to go without necessary medical care, on the other hand, not everyone is enthusiastic about being saddled with the cost of everyone else’s medical bills.
We can argue whether the The Beatles or The Stones were the greater rock band. We can disagree on whether or not Matthew McConaughey is hotter than Colin Farrell, or which actor was the best James Bond. We can argue which country makes the best autos, or who was the NFL’s greatest quarterback. We can disagree on any number of things and still remain friends–except those things which touch peoples values–like religion and politics.
I don’t believe in proselytizing, not my values, not my religion, not my politics. There isn’t any future in it. There are many who love to argue their beliefs in attempt to enlighten others, and/or prove they are right. I find arguing to be a distasteful waste of time. If people ask, I am willing to discuss, debate and defend my views, but I don’t like the disruptive quality arguments have on relationships. Which is why as we prepare to go to the polls again, in what seems to be an election of some significance, I wanted to give readers something to consider.
There are all kinds of people in this fine country. There are good people, bad people, hardworking people, shiftless people, remarkable people, dull people, crazy people, intelligent people, misguided people—some are better company than others, but people are people. Everyone of us knows people we’d rather not know, but in general most of those we interact with, are decent folks, worthy of respect.
What makes us different is that each individual is exactly that–an individual, shaped by their raising and experience. But even among individuals, there is a set of common traits. Everyone wants to have a comfortable standard of living–to live without fear of financial woes, to be able to pay for the things we need and still have some left over for things we want. We want to have autonomy in figuring out what is best for us. We want to be able to take care of our families and help our friends. That’s you. That’s me. The people who favor “socialized” medicine, are generally not card-carrying members of Lenin fan club, plotting the next Marxist revolution, anymore than those on the other side are Dickensian villains who would have everyone turned out on the streets or sent to workhouses.
They’re people, people whose beliefs are felt sincerely. Reasonable people hold reasonable views. They may be right or wrong, but one of the greatest things about this country, is that we are given the ability and the freedom to think for ourselves, as I believe our creator and the founding fathers intended.
We are different, we don’t all see the world through the same lens, but we believe what we believe for reasons which make sense to us. Our ideas on taxes, education, healthcare, social programs and human rights are crafted by what we believe to be true. Truth is universal, personal truths are not. Just as good ideas are sometimes shot down in corporate boardrooms, on any issue, there is someone who sees it differently. Those disagreements can cause unpleasant ripples and irreparable rifts between people. No matter what views people have, they are still worthy of respect. We all have issues on which we disagree, but in the end, people are just people. Like you, like me.
(Dedicated to my friend Meredith)