To my children and grandchildren...
With your focus on education, I often find myself thinking about how much the world has changed since I was in your shoes. The world is now a much "smaller" place-people of all cultures can communicate and travel with ease. You face great challenges today...just as I did...just as my parents before me. These words of advice might be helpful:
• Recognize that the only limits you face are those you set for yourself
• Be the BEST that you can be
• Recognize that YOU are responsible for your successes and failures
• You must earn your way
• Strive for excellence...not perfection
• See the glass as half-full, rather than seeing it as half-empty
• Focus on positives, rather than on negatives
• Look to praise, rather than to criticize
• Look for ways to succeed, rather than excuses to fail
• Commit yourself to constant improvement
• Understand how important education is to success
• School is the key. Technology rules. You need better skills to succeed
• Learn what is being taught, but most importantly, learn "how" to learn
• Develop other information sources to verify, or challenge, what you are being taught. "History" is routinely twisted or rewritten to support a particular point of view. Get other ideas
• Treat teachers, administrators, and fellow students as you would like to be treated
• Be the first to say "Hello"
• Develop your mind in school, but also develop other skills and interests, including music, art, and physical fitness. This is where teamwork develops its roots
• Be a well-rounded person
• Resist taking "easy" classes
• Dig into math, the sciences, and computers. These form the technical foundation for future success
• Study language
• Speak and write English correctly
• Appreciate other cultures by learning another language
• Be honest in your approach to learning
• Resist the temptation to cheat-you only hurt yourself
• Develop a keen interest in the outside world
• Pay attention to the "news." The "real" world can be very different from the student world you live in today
• Avoid the temptations of alcohol, smoking, drugs, gangs, and irresponsible personal behavior
• Understand the steps you take today have lifelong implications
• Choose your friends wisely
• Do what you can to make a teacher's job easier, not harder. Teaching is one of the most important, most difficult, and most underpaid professions in the world
• Participate-but don't be a pain!
• Be a friend to all. Extend a hand of friendship to all other students, regardless of race, creed, or color
• Make a special effort to be a friend to those less fortunate than you
• As you mature and face new challenges, don't hesitate to discuss with me what is on your mind. You might learn from the mistakes of others
• Recognize how LUCKY you are to live and be educated in this great country. People from around the world are dying every day trying to get INTO this country...not out
• Don't forget to have fun!!
• School can be a great time in your life
• Experience it
• Live it
• Enjoy it
Many of these suggestions will be useful throughout your life-learn them well. I wish you the greatest success in your efforts and hope you find school both rewarding and enjoyable.
Dad/GrandpaReprinted with permission from the "Tea Leaf" by Jeff Thredgold. Copyright, 2009, Thredgold Economic Associates, LLC. To subscribe to Jeff's free weekly email update, visit www.thredgold.com.