Monday, August 29, 2005

Back to School

In the last week or two, multitudes of parents have dropped lots of cash on back-to-school clothes and school supplies. Backpacks and lunch boxes have been conscripted for another year of dutiful service. Children of all sizes are starting back to school.

This year some children will learn to read. Others will learn to write in cursive. Some will learn how to multiply and divide numbers. Others will tackle algebra. Some will learn about the U.S. constitution. Others will learn about ancient civilizations. Every teacher and every parent hopes that learning in some form will take place for each and every child.

As I reflect on the classroom, I realize that the entirety of our lives is also a classroom. We are always learning. We are often forced to relearn the same lessons over and over again---until we finally "get it." I want to learn quickly, but often I, too, must be reminded of things I thought I had already learned.

Here are a few of the lessons I have learned along my journey---things I still occasionally need to be reminded of:

1. Go as far as you can see. When you get there, you will see to go a little further. We never get to see the journey from beginning to end---just tiny increments. In other words, walk by faith and not by sight.

2. When a task looms big and feels overwhelming, get started. Do one thing and then one more. The next thing you know, it begins to seem manageable. Or as I used to tell my children, "It's a cinch by the inch, and hard by the yard!"

3. Remember to say "please" and "thank you!" Manners are never out of style. Gratitude and appreciation are timeless accessories. A grateful heart ends up blessing me more than the other person.

4. People are more important than accumulating things. Relationships take precedence over accomplishments or accolades.

5. Slow down! Enjoy the moment. Hurrying all the time creates unnecessary stress. Things eventually get done if they are truly important.

6. Don't fight back the tears. Tears are meant for our good. Let them flow when they need to.

7. Take responsibility for your own actions and reactions. Allow others to do the same. It's easy to take on responsibility that is not ours while abdicating our own responsibility.

8. Mothers who love their children always worry about their children regardless of how old they are. We try not to worry, but we do. We are just concerned for their well-being.

9. Take time for a "refill." Know your personal needs. Whether the need is physical, spiritual, relational, or emotional, take time for rest or renewal. When the cup is full, we have something to lavishly share with others.

10. Don't be afraid to ask for help! No one knows it all. In turn, also be willing to share what you have learned with other fellow travelers.

11. Pray! Pray when you feel like it and when you don't. Don't try to do life without the guidance and intervention of the Heavenly Father!

Remember, we are never too old to learn. Each day we all once again enter life's classroom. Anticipate today's lessons. Learn well!

(c) 2005 Marlene Depler

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