the golden rule

The Golden Rule is the principle of treating others as one would wish to be treated. It is a maxim that is found in many religions and cultures.  Living by the Golden Rule can serve any person well. But here are some addition reflections for the journey ahead:

  • Life is a gift and not a burden. Even on bad days, we have so much to be thankful for.
  • Love is a choice and an action. It involves risk, perseverance, sacrifice, and hard work. Love drives out fear.
  • God is working in ways that we cannot even begin to understand.
  • Pain and suffering are real, but they always make us stronger.
  • Admitting we are wrong from time to time is necessary and healthy.
  • Technology is both a blessing and a danger. It will run and even ruin our lives if we let it.
  • Social media is a great way to connect but can quickly lead to narcissism.
  • Be realistic about taking on commitments. Being busy has become a sign of status. Sometimes simplifying our lives is the best option.
  • Money can buy lots of things but it cannot buy happiness and meaning. Many wealthy people are miserable and have not figured out the meaning of life. We all create idols in life without even knowing it.
  • Knowledge is power, but it’s different from wisdom. Personal growth is essential. We are all works in progress.
  • Theology is a life-long endeavor. God cannot be put into a box.
  •  We should never say things about other people that we wouldn’t want them to hear. If we say it, we should be willing to stand by it. Nobody wants a two-faced friend.
  • Materialism and a false sense of self-sufficiency is an ongoing temptation in North America. The more affluent the society, the more distractions to real faith. Christ was right: “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Heart follows treasure. Money makes a great servant but a terrible master.
  • The government is not the answer to every problem, but it is responsible for certain things. Hateful partisanship and incivility have the potential to tear our nation apart from the inside out. Neither Republicans nor Democrats have a
    monopoly on truth. Labels are dangerous. Civility is admirable.
  • The birth lottery is real. Some are born to privilege. Some are born to poverty. If you’re born on third base, don’t act like you hit a triple. Be humble and grateful every day.
  • Fear and anxiety must be faced, acknowledged, and sometimes medicated. Anxiety is simply fear of the unknown and will ruin the present.
  • Tell the truth because lying is a slippery slope. Truth seems to be in short supply.
  • Don’t judge people based on their age, religion, or skin color. We can always gain insight from those who are different.
  • The United States is a wonderful country but it’s not the only nation under God.
  • Travel to new places. Expand your worldview. Don’t stay in a bubble.
  •  Perception is not always reality. Accusations can be false. Rumors can ruin somebody’s reputation. Groupthink is dangerous. Always check the source.
  • Credibility is built over time. Trust is built over a lifetime and is the currency of relationships.
  • Love your family, even when it’s hard. Forgiveness is a recipe for survival.
  • Be thankful for friends, for they are one of life’s greatest treasures.
  • Pray regularly. Eat healthy. Exercise often. Read to learn. Hope. Dream. Listen intently. Be slow to speak and slow to anger. Live life one day at a time. Plan for the future.
  • The grass may seem greener elsewhere, but usually, it’s not.
  • Learn from the past, dream for the future, and live in the present.

Adapted from many places.  What would you add?  

 

the Graveyard
“The graveyard is the richest place on earth, because it is here that you will find all the hopes and dreams that were never fulfilled, the books that were never written, the songs that were never sung, the inventions that were never shared, the cures that were never discovered, all because someone was too afraid to take that first step, keep with the problem, or determined to carry out their dream.”   – Les Brown

“The graveyard is the richest place on earth, because it is here that you will find all the hopes and dreams that were never fulfilled, the books that were never written, the songs that were never sung, the inventions that were never shared, the cures that were never discovered, all because someone was too afraid to take that first step, keep with the problem, or determined to carry out their dream.” – Les Brown

We live in an era of untold wealth. The average person in a first world country today lives many times better than sultans and kings of years past.

We don’t have to worry about where we will find our next meal. We don’t have to worry about finding water that’s drinkable enough not to kill us. We don’t have to worry about constant invasions from other countries or kingdoms. We truly live in a time of comfort and stability.

Yet many of our riches go to waste. I’m not talking about a billionaire’s inheritance. I’m not talking about all the things we throw away or the amount of food that goes to waste. I’m talking about the people who lived in such comfort, but chose to do nothing with all the fortunes of the modern world.

Many of us live in such comfort but never pursue our dreams. We repeat the same two words far too often: someday. “I want to write a book… someday.”, “I’ll learn to play an instrument… someday.”, “I will build my business… someday.”

How do we know we love something unless we do it?

It’s as if we are allergic to doing the work today. We tell ourselves we are ambitious, but never actually pursue the thing we say we love. How do we know we love something unless we do it? How do we pursue our dreams?

By getting over our fears. Stop being afraid of taking that first step. Stop being afraid of finishing that piece you’ve been working on for years. Stop being afraid of releasing your work into the world. Stop being afraid of putting a price tag on your art.

The world doesn’t just want the gifts you have to share, the world needs them.

The world doesn’t just want the gifts you have to share, the world needs them.How many people can you positively affect through your work? How many lives can you touch? How many people can you inspire to do greater things?

Make the world a richer place by sharing your talents with it.

If we want to deprive graveyards of future riches, we must be willing to pursue our creative callings. We must be willing to share our gifts with the world. Don’t live your life filled with regret. Sure, you might fail. We all do. But don’t let that discourage you. Make the world a richer place by sharing your talents with it.

Photo by jimmy brown

This was originally posted on Marketing Your Art the Right Way.

Every child should have a dream for their future.   Not knowing who or what we want will lead us to becoming someone and something we never wanted to be.  As parent or as an educator the greatest gift we give children the belief that if they work hard they can be anything they want to be in life.  Of course, we all struggle at times to figure out just what it is we want out of life.

A brighter future starts with a quality education and giving children everywhere the tools and support they need to find success in school and in life.  America is understood to be the home of possibility.  The World Economic Forum estimates that 65 per cent of children today will end up in careers that don’t even exist yet and for which schools are not preparing them. Unfortunately, our school system is built on a model more linked to the industrial age, than the digital/technological age.

Two education entrepreneurs Kanya Balakrishna and Andrew Mangino launched a website called the Future Project to reach 50 million students across the country they say are at risk of never discovering their full potential.   Their focus is to encourage kids to dream.  They believe that dreams inspire learning – “not the sort of rote, superficial learning that will help students pass state standardized tests” but rather “real learning that inspires deep, meaningful, life-changing mastery and purpose.”  This kind of learning, they believe, will inspire “positive change both for the individual and their community.”  It is an intriguing idea that deserves discussion.

Educator Sean Hampton-Cole offered up that he had a “dream that within our lifetimes, personal enrichment, critical analysis, creative output and purposeful problem-solving will be considered at least as important as factual recall in education.”   We need art and music in our culture.  Unfortunately, we are neglecting those subjects in our schools.  President Ronald Reagan struck a similar note in speaking about the humanities in 1987: “The humanities teach us who we are and what we can be,” he said. “They lie at the very core of the culture of which we’re a part, and they provide the foundation from which we may reach out to other cultures. The arts are among our nation’s finest creations and the reflection of freedom’s light.”

Art and music programs are likely to be among the first victims of budget cuts in financially-stretched school districts already fighting to meet other academic demands, and they are rarely restored.  The College Board, found that students who take four years of arts and music classes while in high school score 95 points better on their SAT exams than students who took only a half year or less (scores averaged 1061 among students in arts educations compared to 966 for students without arts education). It is important for policymakers to understand that art, music, and literature improve problem-solving and critical-thinking skills.

This is exactly what the World Economic Forum revealed that business executives were looking for in future employees.   Their number one response? Complex problem solving. Other skills on their top ten list included critical thinking, creativity, collaboration and emotional intelligence.  Literacy, numeracy and scientific knowledge will always be essential.    Policymakers and stakeholders alike need to understand that arts and music are vital in promoting, educating and developing our youth to excel and reach their dreams.  President John F. Kennedy reminded us: “I am certain that after the dust of centuries has passed over our cities, we too, will be remembered not for victories or defeats in battle or in politics, but for our contribution to the human spirit.”

In her book, Not For Profit: Why Democracy Needs the Humanities, Martha Nussbaum argues that arts education, under threat all over the world, must be embraced because it supplies the skills needed to nurture true democratic citizens. Education must nurture the whole child, and arts are vital in this endeavor. Nussbaum contends that it is vital for our children to have critical and hands-on engagement with art, music, and literature, all of which help foster our basic humanity — creativity, critical thinking, and empathy for others. Cultivating these values, she argues, are the deeper purposes of education.

Seth Godin takes it a step further in Stop Stealing Dreams when he writes: “Have we created a trillion-dollar, multimillion-student, sixteen-year schooling cycle to take our best and our brightest and snuff out their dreams—sometimes when they’re so nascent that they haven’t even been articulated? Is the product of our massive schooling industry an endless legion of assistants? The century of dream-snuffing has to end. The real shortage we face is dreams, and the wherewithal and the will to make them come true. We’re facing a significant emergency, one that’s not just economic but cultural as well. The time to act is right now, and the person to do it is you.”

This generation of educators have to be the ones to restore the dream of our students.  It isn’t just about education reform or public education reimagined.   There is a coming education revolution. We must ensure each child, in every school, in all communities are healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged.  This will require the kind of teaching to prepare students to become creative problem solvers who can take initiative and responsibility.  To paraphrase Steven Tyler:  When we look in the mirror.  The lines are getting clearer.  The past is gone.  Dream On.

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JC Bowman is the Executive Director of Professional Educators of Tennessee, a non-partisan teacher association headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee.  Permission to reprint in whole or in part is hereby granted, provided that the author and the association are properly cited. For more information on this subject or any education issue please contact Professional Educators of Tennessee.