Sunday, June 7, 2015

Words of Wisdom for My Seniors

June 7, 2015

I've never been a big fan of telling kids about how things are going to be in the 'real world'. Everyone's experience IS their real world, including students in high school.  Of course, as my students are getting ready to graduate and embark on a new 'real world', I have a few words of wisdom to share:

--There is a lot of positivity in the world. There is also a lot of negativity.  Be one who sends out positivity. The world already has enough negativity-you don't need to add to it. Tip the scales in the right direction.

--You will see what you look for in the world.  Look for good, and you'll find it.

--At the same time, don't bury your head in the sand.  There IS negative in the world. Learn to recognize it and change it if you can or walk away if you can't.

--We all have our gifts, and everyone has something to contribute. If you haven't found your gifts yet, keep looking.  Let those gifts lead you to your passion in life.

--Surround yourself with the people who will become your tribe.  Your tribe is the people who are your family for life--the ones who are there to celebrate your successes and who pick you up and dust you off when you hit the lows in your life.  Family means family of the heart--your chosen family.  No one is a solitary success. We are all supported by our tribe. Know who they are for you, and acknowledge their role in in your life--often and wholeheartedly.

--I don't care if you think you are the smartest person in the room.  Heck, I don't even care if you ARE the smartest person in the room. EVERYONE has more to learn, and you'll be amazed by the people you can learn something from if you don't let your ego get in the way of hearing others. Once you think you've learned all you can learn, you've really stopped learning to live.

--Make good choices.  Think about consequences. Everyone has freedom of choice, but you aren't free from the consequences of your actions. Consider carefully the trajectory of your behaviors.  Naturally, however, sometimes we DON'T make good choices--we all make mistakes.  Own your mistakes. Apologize for your mistakes. Learn from your mistakes. Then move on. When others make mistakes, allow the same for them.

--Thinking about consequences doesn't mean play it safe. It may sound counterintuitive, but take chances. Step outside your comfort zone. Try new things. Travel. Learn new skills. Meet new people. Those are experiences that can broaden your horizons and open new doors. They can help you become more of the YOU you will become.

--Be nice to people--even mean people.  The way you respond to others says way more about you than the way others treat you.  Don't give someone else the power to control your attitude.  That being said, don't enable someone to treat you poorly. If you haven't been able to show them how to treat you with respect through your attitude, walk away holding your head high. You are only responsible for your own behaviors, not anyone else's. Does everyone deserve 'nice' all the time? Perhaps not. But YOU deserve to expect that of yourself.

--To be respectful and to respect someone are not the same thing. There's a very important difference. You are in charge of being respectful to others; they are in charge of being worthy of respect. You do not have to respect everyone, but you should always be respectful. Respectful behavior need not be 'earned', as it is a commentary on you, not them.

--Be generous.  Be generous of time, of money, of spirit.  There are people who have less than you.  We should help others when we can because we SHOULD.  Our mission in life is to lift up others when possible because it makes us ALL better for it.

--Give others the benefit of a doubt.  We cannot know everyone's backstory. If someone's backstory has led them to negativity and ill will, how can it possibly benefit anyone to counter it with more of the same?

--Laugh. Love. Be silly. Find people who will do those things with you. Look for people who love you for who you are, and encourage you to be your best self.

--Above all, be open to all the possibilities your new 'real world' will bring.  I wish you all the love, experience, and opportunity you can find out in that world.

--Mama Lutjens

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