My Favorite Quote Writing Challenge: A Two for One
A Few of My Favorite Quotes
If equal affection cannot be, let the more loving one be me. —W. H. Auden, The More Loving One
Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful. –Joshua J. Marine
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn
Remember no one can make you feel inferior without your consent. –Eleanor Roosevelt
“Watch your thoughts, they become words;
watch your words, they become actions;
watch your actions, they become habits;
watch your habits, they become character;
watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”
Jo_Goldsmith11 issued a challenge of her own to complement some of the others going around HP lately. The challenge is to write an essay about a favorite historical quote. After identifying the quote, we are to explain how it has helped us grow.
Those that know me may know I like the quotes above and that 1 Corinthians 13 is among my favorite quotes, also among the most influential of my life. However, the quote I am going to talk about now is from Maya Angelou. Technically, I may not complete the challenge because it is not so much an area of growth this quote inspires in me, but rather a passion for caring.
Don't Give Up - Josh Groban
Let me start with a little story. . .
When I was in middle school I had a teacher that became a favorite of mine. I now consider her a friend and we have remained fairly close over the years. To this day, in fact, she still encourages me to write. I love that about her. It is nice to know someone has a steadfast, never wavering belief in my ability. That belief has been there practically from the start of knowing her. It just amazes me.
Of course, part of that belief in me may stem from the fact that she once put my writing skills to use to benefit her. (Just kidding.) What really happened is something special to her, although I hardly remember it. A radio station was giving people limo rides to work for winners chosen among nominations sent in by listeners. She mentioned it to me and I mailed off a letter nominating her. She won, they read my letter on air, and she was delivered to school in style one morning. Apparently it doesn't end there, however.
Quite often, she mentions feeling special because I somehow got her name listed in the Who's Who of America. That is something I do not recall at all. My only assumption is that it must be part of the limo prize package. What really matters, though, is that she remembers how I made her feel. I may not remember what I said or did, but she does.
There are people like that in my life as well. I remember things they said or did for me because of how it made me feel. How great it is to be a part of something like that when the result is positive. So when I first heard Maya Angelou's quote about people remembering how you make them feel I instantly identified with it. It motivates me to continue to try to do things for others that make them feel special.
True Colors - Cyndi Lauper
I'm not always so good at it. Sometimes I seem to completely fail, as good intentions can do sometimes. Occasionally it even feels as if it all blows up in my face, but still I keep trying. I do not know why I do, but I have been thinking quite a bit about it lately, because that is exactly what I recently did. I failed. Of course, there were mitigating circumstances. Still, I failed and it hurt. It did not hurt because I care about what people think of me, but because I care about how I make other people feel.
It is so easy to misinterpret someone else's intentions. And it is almost enough to make me wonder why I bother trying in the first place. Yet try is what I must do. It is too much a part of who I am. Looking back, I realize that it always has been. Thank you Jo. Your challenge reminded me of that.
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A Special Two for One Deal
Life is short; therefore I shall be a crusader in the fight against ignorance and fear, beginning with myself. ~ Dorothy Vickers-Shelley
Those very profound words by Ms. Vickers-Shelley are the words that opened the library session every time a class visited the library of the elementary school I attended from kindergarten through fifth grade. Each week, one student from the class was chosen to lead off the statement with "life is short" and the rest would join in. When we said the words "beginning with myself" we had to point to our hearts with our thumb. It was required. I did not understand the significance of the words at the time, not as I do today anyway. However, I said it often enough that I not only memorized it, but it became a part of me without even realizing it.
As the article to the side says, she commanded respect. Boy, did she ever. The woman was intimidating! At least at first. The respect she commanded ran deeper than that, though. It was a respect for her, for others, and for ourselves. A child's eyes may not recognize that, but other adults did and those same eyes as an adult recognize that. She truly cared about helping children to recognize the power of their own minds.
The last time I remember seeing her, I was in high school. I believe I had gone to pick up my brother from school, as I often did my senior year since I did not have an eighth period class. I was walking through the school halls in a dress and in heels. I do not recall why I was so dressed up, but I recall her stopping me to tell me that she thought I was an adult at first glance because of the way I carried myself. It was a compliment that meant a great deal coming from her.
As for the statement that so many of us know by heart even as adults, I find myself reminded of it often now. Now, as the world news has been so focused on racial issues. I cannot deny that there are problems in this society, but I also know that I cannot be held responsible for the thoughts and actions of others regarding the issue. To me, the simple answer would be for everyone to look within and fight the ignorance by treating others with the same respect we would demand for ourselves. If only it were that simple. Or maybe it is. Maybe this prolific librarian had an answer that many overlook, looking elsewhere instead.
As a child, I had friends from all over the world. I count myself lucky for that experience. It taught me respect for other cultures. It taught me to pick my friends by their character and not by anything else. It taught me that differences are okay and can even be celebrated. It taught me that we can all be proud of who we are, no matter who we are.
It takes knowledge like that becoming an inherent part of individuals to really bring about change. It takes teaching our children love and not hate, right from wrong based on actions and nothing else. Ms. Vickers-Shelley may not be a famous historical person known the world over, but her life impacted hundreds, if not thousands of individuals positively. I am sure that I am not the only person reminded of those words today.