Think about the good
For much of my life, I didn’t believe that what I thought about, had anything to do with the way my life was going. Growing up, I never heard my mother say a nice word about my father. She talked and thought negatively, day and night, about the way he acted toward her. She felt justified in her criticism and she was right. All negative, fearful, and suspicious thought is eventually “justified” because we are the creators of our personal experience.
We have somehow come to believe that it is responsible to be able to “intelligently” talk about the ills of society and what is wrong with the world and the people in it. There’s a belief that if we point out and focus on what is wrong, then we are doing our part to change others and the world, for the better. But trying to make positive change from a stance of criticism, disgust, anger, fear and self-righteousness doesn’t work. The best teachers in this world are not the ones who focus on what is wrong, but the ones who can see the good (even if it is tiny and imperceptible to everyone else), and magnify it.
We are an unhappy society full of critical thinkers. It is almost politically and socially incorrect to be happy. Why not take this weekend to see what is right in your life…just in your life. Try to turn from thoughts of what is going wrong (or could go wrong) to what is right or could go right. Look for the good within. Shine a spot light on it. Magnify it and see what happens.
“There’s no reality except the one contained within us. “Hermann Hesse
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Posted in Uncategorized, tagged Anne Frank, college, good news, gratitude, helpers, potential, school, teachers, thank you, Thanksgiving on November 23, 2011 |
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I was a horrible student in high school, and prided myself on never taking home a book, which earned me the distinction of graduating at the bottom of my class. When I was in my twenties, I realized that I wanted an education, but had serious doubts about my abilities/intellect. I considered myself to be a poor student (which I certainly was), but didn’t know if this was just because I wasn’t smart, or because I never tried. By this time, I also had 2 small children at home.
During my second semester at a community college, I became friends with my Chemistry professor. She and I were about the same age, and occasionally went out for a drink (more about this part of my story at a later time!) after class with a few other students. One evening during casual conversation, she asked me how I was doing in my other classes. I said, “I’ve gotten mostly B’s”. She then looked me in the eyes and said, “That is not good enough for you.”
This woman, who had a master’s degree and was teaching at the community college level, saw me as an A student?! My life changed in that moment. I started studying like my life depended on it. Shortly thereafter, I transferred my credits to a University, graduated summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, received a full scholarship to graduate school (to study Economics…this is a long story!) and eventually was accepted at Harvard Divinity School.
It was almost 30 years ago that Martha (I cannot remember her last name) said those words to me. I don’t remember much about Chemistry; what she had to teach me didn’t have anything to do with that. She saw something in me that I hadn’t yet recognized, and had the courage to say it. We are all teachers in this incredible classroom of life. Our words matter…more than we can ever know. Thank you Martha!
“Everyone has inside of him a piece of good news. The good news is that you don’t know how great you can be! How much you can love! What you can accomplish! And what your potential is!” Anne Frank
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