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.

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One of my musical heroes, Bono, the singer for the rock group U2, shares the story of the Irish poet, Brendan Kennelly. He relates that Kennelly has a memorable poem called The Book of Judas, and there’s a line in it that says: “If you want to serve the age, betray it.”

Then Bono asks: “What does that mean, to betray the age?”

Answering the question, Bono says: “Well to me betraying the Age means exposing its conceits, its foibles, its phony moral certitudes. It means telling the secrets of the age and facing harsher truths.”

Prevailing wisdom says that it is no measure of mental health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society. Every day in Tennessee, educators are challenged by a wide-ranging mixture of social, psychological, and physical problems that impede the improvement of so many students entrusted into their care.

Unfortunately for educators, policymakers worry about the results of a test given at the end of every school the year, used so that we can measure the effectiveness of those teachers educating children. We have made textbook companies and test publishers prosperous, while we engage in a rigorous debate over trivial items.

We eagerly listen to wealthy philanthropists (or organizations representing them) that lack the prerequisite background in the policy areas that they are influencing. By virtue of their wealth, they have gained an unfair advantage, as well as access to policymakers. They then promote public policies by the access of their political donations and may not even understand the problems average people face. In education, they certainly do not understand the challenges confronting public school educators.

For example, Tennessee is the 12th poorest state based on the last US Census figures. Even more startling is that the child poverty rate is 26%. So when the philanthropist experiences donor fatigue and migrates to their next passing interest, educators will still be here to do what God has gifted them to do — which is to educate and demonstrate compassion for the children of our state.

The late political theorist Hannah Arendt wrote, “No cause is left but the most ancient of all, the one, in fact, that from the beginning of our history, has determined the very existence of politics, the cause of freedom versus tyranny.” When political donations replace the contributions of men and women from controlling their own destiny, tyranny will gain a stranglehold in our society.

If we oppose state control of the means of production, it stands to reason that production in the hands of a few would also be undesirable. Politicians understand it is much easier to make laws than repeal them. Too often the extremes on both ends of the political spectrum are heard and the majority of people get silenced.

Every age has moral blind spots, with issues such as slavery, discrimination, unequal pay between sexes, and religious intolerance. Still, my Irish heritage compels me to believe in the idea that anything is possible when we embrace freedom.

The question for educators is this: where are we willing to spend our moral and intellectual capital, our money, or our sweat equity outside of the walls of our classroom or homes?

In a field as diverse as public education, we must all collaborate together to foster a more constructive dialogue among education stakeholders and policymakers. We share a common destiny. We have the power to create amazing change in this world and be champions for the vulnerable who cannot speak for themselves when they need us the most.

This is the time for bold measures. This is Tennessee and we are the generation of Educators to bring change, not only to our profession but to all of our society. Betray the Age.

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JC Bowman is the Executive Director of Professional Educators of Tennessee, a non-partisan teacher association headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee. Follow him on Twitter @jcbowman. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is hereby granted, provided that the author and the association are properly cited.  His Blog is at www.jcbowman.com