I am not a wisdom figure, except to fifth graders. Most of the members of my religious community are older than I. At 72, I imagine I am considered a youngish whippersnapper. When there aren’t enough chairs, I’m still the one who sits on the floor. I don’t presume to know what you should know. But I know some things now that I wish I had known a lot sooner.
Bad times don’t last. Things get better.
Good times don’t last. Enjoy now.
Nobody is judging you; most of the time, no one knows or cares what you are doing.
A smile goes a long way. Laughter goes even further.
Try things. It’s okay to fail. It’s not okay to wonder whether you would have been good or enjoyed at the things you were afraid to try.
Most of the people you will meet are nice people. Everyone has value. Everyone is a possible saint, until proven otherwise. (Maybe not even then.)
If you try your very best to please people, some people will like you and some people won’t. If you throw caution to the winds and live your life, some people will like you and some people won’t.
Likewise, I read somewhere that if a person likes you, you can drop a plate of spaghetti into his/her lap and the accident will be laughed off. If the person doesn’t like you, he/she will be annoyed by the way you hold your fork. I notice this in myself, and am reminded that the dislike I have for another person says a lot about myself.
Solve the problem. Don’t complain; solve the problem. (Did you ever notice that gripers are almost always sitting down?) Hot air is useful only in the balloon business.
You can learn something from everyone. I am reminded of that every time I come to the Brunner Literacy Center. We tutors can focus on the difficulties and on what we can teach. Sometimes, the most important thing is what we can learn.
Last week the Brunner Literacy Leaders visited the tutoring program at the Montgomery County Courts’ Day Reporting Center. This program, which launched just over a year ago, has already helped 150 young adults improve their literacy, with a particular focus on earning their GED, while on probation or completing correctional programs.
After a quick tour, our group was delighted to get to speak with both tutors and students. We had expected to see tutors and students working hard, and we did. We were impressed with their diligence. What we perhaps did not expect was the happiness and hope that radiated from the students.
We spoke with Chris, who had attempted his GED once before, but was unsuccessful. He now knows that he learns best from another person, not an online group environment. Chris is scheduled to be released soon, but is determined to continue with his tutor until he earns his GED.
We spoke with a student who is working on her reading and writing skills. Since she began working with her tutor, she has ‘found her voice’ and just might compose an essay about her life and educational experience for us to share on this blog.
And we spoke with ‘Pink’ who has passed all parts of the GED exam except math. After years of thinking that she just couldn’t do math, her work with the BLC tutoring program has changed her mind. She told us confidently that now that she knows how she learns best, she just needs to keep at it and eventually she will know enough to earn her GED qualification, just as twenty-two of her fellow residents have done.
We heard that when a student in the correctional tutoring program earns their GED, word spreads through the entire facility and other residents ask for the chance to join the program. We heard that giving residents something important to focus on while serving their sentences helps them see a better future for themselves.
Confidence. Happiness. Hope. This is what we found at the Day Reporting Center. And there was one other surprise. Art. As you’ll see in the photos, several of these students are talented artists. Everyone has something to offer. We are so grateful to our dedicated tutors for helping these students realize their potential.
Brunner Literacy Leaders are a special group of donors that pledge a monthly contribution to help eradicate adult illiteracy in the Dayton area. Learn more about the Literacy Leaders program at www.brunnerliteracy.org/leader.