Back to school time is upon us, and I find myself feeling a bit nostalgic as I watch all of the students boarding their buses, off to the place where some of the most important lessons are learned. I, like many of you, could not wait to grow up and be an adult. If only I knew then what I know now. Gone are the days where your biggest problem was who you were eating lunch with and if you could convince your parents to let you have a sleepover this upcoming weekend. In such a rush to grow up, I failed to see the important lessons being presented to me on a daily basis. Looking back, I realize these lessons and the importance they still have in our lives as adults. The truth is, the learning never stops once we are done with school. It just carries over into the real lessons, in the classroom of life. So class, here's a chalkboard of ideas....
1. Treat others the way you would like to be treated. The "Golden Rule" so many teachers drilled into our minds still rings true today. It's that basic and simple. Be nice to one another, talk to people with the respect and kindness you wish to receive. Be kind. Every one you meet is fighting a battle you may not be aware of.
2. If you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all. If I had a dollar for each time that phrase was spoken to me as a child I would be hanging along side Bill Gates cruising on my yacht. This quote speaks true to many. Why do we feel the need as adults to be so rude to one another? To speak ABOUT someone when we could be speaking TO them? Why must someone speak poorly about someone else, putting them down, rather than building them up? Be nice or be quiet.
3. Along the same lines, I have learned that some people are always going to have something to say, and you can not please everyone. So instead, please yourself. Do not succumb to people's hurtful and vindictive words, instead view them as a reflection of their own internal struggles. But do not fight fire with fire as they say. Do not be mean in return, sit back and let it burn out. No one should spend their lives as a "firefighter", constantly battling these fires either. So know when to cut ties and when to walk away. Some people are in your lives as lessons themselves, so learn what you can from them and the situation and be done.
4. Do not judge a book by it's cover. Unless of course, that book is the dictionary, then judge away because it is just a bunch of words and definitions; BORINGGGGG. I myself am guilty of this, it is so much easier to make assumptions based on what we do not know rather than take the time to get to know someone and then base an honest opinion. Everyone knows what they say about assumptions........If you do not take the time to get to know someone, the only assumptions you should be making should be about yourself and assume that you are anti-social ;)
5. It is better to give than it is to receive. So extremely true, whether it is as generic as a gift or as simple as a compliment. Giving a little piece of yourself to someone will never be a bad thing. In the spirit of giving, remember it is presence, not presents that will fulfill you. The materialistic things in life that are important. Money is not everything, in fact it isn't anything if you don't have someone to share it with. Surround yourself with positivity, with people who love and appreciate you.
6. If at first you don't succeed, try and try again. Life will not always go as planned. Things will go wrong, things will not always work in your favor. Do not stop trying to make it work that way for you. You are the master of your own destiny, and you and you alone can make anything happen. Just don't you quit!! Does anyone else remember the Choose your own ending books as kids? The beginning started out with one story and then the reader had the option of several endings. How many people chose one ending? Most would choose one and then go back, not fully satisfied with the ending they chose and pick again. Similiar to life, you can not change the beginning but you can still choose the ending. And if you aren't happy, keep choosing until you find the best possible happy ending!
7. Be the type of friend you would like to have. Listen to one another, truly listen. Sometimes listening requires you being able to hear what isn't being said. Laugh, cry, and share with those people who deserve your amazingness.
Share. Share your time, share your feelings, share your life with someone you love. No matter how badly you have been hurt, do not be afraid to share every part of yourself. You may feel broken, but there is someone out there who will be able and willing to help you with all of the pieces.
8. Know your worth. You are the one and only person in this world who will love you unconditionally. Yes, your family and friends love you, but you need to possess the self confidence to know how wonderful you are. Regardless of your past, of what you have been through, you are here right now and you have survived everything that you encountered. You are strong, you are a survivor, you are loved.
9. Be strong, but weak enough to not build up walls around yourself. Let people in. People will hurt you, people will say rude, unkind, and untrue things about you. Smile. Breathe, and forgive. The people who need the most forgiveness often deserve it the least. Choose your battles. Life is too short to be miserable. Focus on all of the positive and wonderful in your life.
10. Life will pass you in the blink of an eye if you let it. So, open your eyes wide and take in every moment. Do something everyday that makes you smile. Laugh more than you cry. Live life to the fullest. Life is a wild roller coaster, full of ups and downs, but you have a choice. You can choose to either squeeze your eyes shut and miss out on the ride, or throw your hands up and enjoy the ride. Buckle up!
Maybe we all need to take a note from Billy Madison and head on back to school and start from the beginning, to remind ourselves of the genuine and true lessons that we were taught as children. It worked for us then, perhaps a crash course would do us all a little good. All of life is constant education. Class dismissed! :)