Anecdotes and Other Nice Stuff
What I've learned
The Donkey in the Well
Some rules kids won't learn in school
God are you real?
A person without goals in his life is like a ship without maps and a compass. He will drift aimlessly from day to day hoping to arrive at the nebulus port of "somewhere." His voyage though life will be left to chance.
Without goals life is uninteresting and without challenge. Goals are decisions to action. Goals are maps which give the routes to distant ports in life. Goals help you know where you are going and how you is going to get there.
A goal is more than a dream; it is a dream being acted upon. It is more than an "Oh, I wish I could." A goal is a clear statement of "This is what I am going to do." Goals are not fanciful doubts; they are declarations of faith.
14 Reasons for Setting Goals
I've learned that I like my teacher because she cries when we sing "Silent Night". Age 6
I've learned that when I wave to people in the country, they stop what they are doing and wave back. Age 9
I've learned that just when I get my room the way I like it, Mom makes me clean it up. Age 13
I've learned that if you want to cheer yourself up, you should try cheering someone else up. Age 14
I've learned that although it's hard to admit it, I'm secretly glad my parents are strict with me. Age 15
I've learned that silent company is often more healing than words of advice. Age 24
I've learned that brushing my child's hair is one of life's pleasures. Age 26
I've learned that wherever I go, the world's worst drivers have followed me there. Age 29
I've learned that if someone says something unkind about me, I must live so that no one will believe it. Age 39
I've learned that there are people who love you dearly but just don't know how to show it. Age 41
I've learned that you can make some one's day by simply sending them a little card. Age 44
I've learned that the greater a person's sense of guilt, the greater his need to cast blame on others. Age 46
I've learned that children and grandparents are natural allies. Age 47
I've learned that singing "Amazing Grace" can lift my spirits for hours. Age 49
I've learned that motel mattresses are better on the side away from the phone. Age 50
I've learned that you can tell a lot about a man by the way he handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights. Age 52
I've learned that keeping a vegetable garden is worth a medicine cabinet full of pills. Age 52
I've learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you miss them terribly after they die. Age 53
I've learned that making a living is not the same thing as making a life. Age 58
I've learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance. Age 62
I've learned that you shouldn't go through life with a catchers mitt on both hands. You need to be able to throw something back. Age 64
I've learned that if you pursue happiness, it will elude you. But if you focus on your family, the needs of others, your work, meeting new people, and doing the very best you can, happiness will find you. Age 65
I've learned that whenever I decide to do something with kindness, I usually make the right decision. Age 68
I've learned that everyone can use a prayer. Age 72
I've learned that it pays to believe in miracles. And to tell the truth, I've seen several. Age 73
I've learned that even when I have pains, I don't have to be one. Age 82
I've learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love that human touch - holding hands, a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back. Age 85
I've learned that I still have a lot to learn. Age 92
One day a farmer's donkey fell down into a well. The animal cried
piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do. Finally he decided the animal was old, and the
well needed to be covered up anyway. It just wasn't worth it to retrieve the donkey. He invited all his neighbors
to come over and help him. They each grabbed a shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well.
Time is running out for my friend. We are sitting at lunch when she casually mentions that she and her husband are thinking of "starting a family." What she means is that her biological clock is ticking and has begun its final countdown.
"We're taking a survey," she says, half joking. "Do you think I should have a baby?"
"It will change your life," I say carefully, keeping my tone neutral.
"I know," she says, "no more sleeping in on the weekend, no more spontaneous vacations..."
But that is not what I meant at all. I look at my friend, trying to decide what to tell her.
I want her to know what she will never learn in childbirth classes.
I want to tell her that the physical wounds of child bearing heal, but that becoming a mother will leave her with an emotional wound so raw that she will be forever vulnerable.
I consider warning her that she will never read a newspaper again without asking "What if that had been MY child?" That every plane crash, every fire will haunt her. That when she sees pictures of starving children, she will wonder if anything could be worse than watching your child die.
I look at her carefully manicured nails and stylish suit and think that no matter how sophisticated she is, becoming a mother will reduce her to the primitive level of a bear protecting her cub. That an urgent call of "Mom!" will cause her to drop a soufflé or her best crystal without a moment's hesitation.
I feel I should warn her that no matter how many years she has invested in her career, she will be professionally derailed by motherhood. She might arrange for child care, but one day she will be going into an important business meeting and she will think about her baby's sweet smell. She will have to use every ounce of her discipline to keep from running home, just to make sure her baby is all right.
I want my friend to know that everyday decisions will no longer be routine. That a five year old boy's desire to go to the men's room rather than the women's at McDonald's will become a major dilemma. That right there, in the midst of clattering trays and screaming children, issues of independence and gender identity will be weighed against the prospect that a child molester may be lurking in that restroom.
However decisive she may be at the office, she will second-guess herself constantly as a mother. Looking at my attractive friend, I want to assure her that eventually she will shed the pounds of pregnancy, but she will never feel the same about herself. That her life, now so important, will be of less value to her once she has a child. That she would give it up in a moment to save her offspring, but will also begin to hope for more years -- not to accomplish her own dreams, but to watch her children accomplish theirs.
I want her to know that a cesarean scar or shiny stretch marks will become badges of honor.
My friend's relationship with her husband will change, but not in the ways she thinks. I wish she could understand how much more you can love a man who is always careful to powder the baby or never hesitates to play with his child. I think she should know that she will fall in love with him again for reasons she would now find very unromantic.
I wish my friend could sense the bond she'll feel with women throughout history who have tried desperately to stop war and prejudice and drunk driving. I hope she will understand why I can think rationally about most issues, but become temporarily insane when I discuss the threat of nuclear war to my children's future.
I want to describe to my friend the exhilaration of seeing your child learn to ride a bike. I want to capture for her the belly laugh of a baby who is touching the soft fur of a dog or cat for the first time. I want her to taste the joy that is so real, it actually hurts.
My friend's quizzical look makes me realize that tears have formed in my eyes.
"You'll never regret it," I say finally.
Then I reach across the table, squeeze my friend's hand, and offer a silent prayer for her, and for me, and for all of the mere mortal women who stumble their way into this most wonderful of callings...
The blessed gift of God and that of being a Mother
The little child whispered, "God, speak to me." And a meadowlark sang, but the child did not hear.
So the child yelled, "God, speak to me!" And the thunder rolled across the sky, but the child did not listen.
The child looked around and said, "God, let me see you." And a star twinkled brightly, but the child did not notice.
And the child shouted, "God show me a miracle!" And a life was born, but the child did not know.
So the child cried out in despair, "Touch me God, and let me know you are here!" So God reached down and touched the child, but the child brushed the butterfly away and walked away unknowingly.
Rule #1 -- Life is not fair. Get used to it.
Rule #2 -- The real world won't care as much about your self-esteem as your school does. It will expect you to accomplish something before you feel good about yourself.
Rule #3 -- Sorry, you won't make $40,000 a year right out of high school. And you won't be a vice president or have a car phone either. You may even have to wear a uniform that doesn't have a Gap label.
Rule #4 -- If you think your teacher is tough, wait until you get a boss. He doesn't have tenure, so he tends to be a bit edgier. When you screw up, he's not going to ask you how you feel about it.
Rule #5 -- Working for minimum wage is not beneath your dignity. Your grandparents had a different word for it. They called it "opportunity."
Rule #6 -- When you turn 18, it's on your dime. It's not your parents' fault if you screw up. This is the flip side of all those times when you loudly proclaimed, "It's my life" and "You're not my boss."
Rule #7 -- Before you were born your parents weren't as boring as they are now. They got that way paying your bills, cleaning up your room and listening to you tell them how idealistic you are.
Rule #8 -- Adult life is not divided into semesters, and you don't get summers off.
Rule #9 -- Television is not real life. Your problems will not all be solved in 30 minutes, minus time for commercials.
Rule #10 -- Be nice to nerds. You might end up working for one.
Rule #11 -- Enjoy youth while you can. Sure, parents are a pain, school's a bother, and life is depressing. But someday you'll realize how wonderful it was to be a kid. Maybe you should start now.