By: Charlotte Lakota
When I first read the magazine’s list of “Be’s”, I thought back to my Reading Lab. Each First Day of School, I would point to my special bulletin board bordered with bees and challenge my elementary students to “Bee All That You Can Be“. Throughout the year, the bees reminded, and the children responded. So, as this new school year begins, I would like to share my thoughts as they relate to each of the magazine’s topics.
The night before I began my teaching career, I was browsing through several professional magazines hoping to calm my jitters. I found this quote. “I must remember, that in some way, everyone is my superior.” Embedded in my mind, the quote became my mantra and the first of many quotes I have collected and included in my personal philosophy over the years.
The next day I started to really look at each student. I challenged myself to find out how each was superior to me. When I focused on looking directly into their eyes, I began to notice their strengths. I used these talents to remediate their weak skills. They loved the new approach of my teaching strategies. I felt their respect for me, and that grew into a love for the person I was.
Beyond the classroom, I continued this approach. I learned to look beyond the eyes and into the hearts of people. Throughout building each friendships I feel I have truly been blessed, because I have felt each person’s own strengths as well as their love for me grow.
Recently my friend sent me a shirt inscribed with my latest quote. “She needed a warrior, and a hero, so she became both.” As I look back on my life, I realize that I was my best advocate. I needed to know myself better than anyone else. I needed to use my talents, skills, and expertise to challenge myself. The choices that I made, along with the mistakes and the lessons learned from them made me the strong individual I am. Those close to me don’t always agree with me, but they respect the person I have become.
A wise man shared the idea to “Live each day to its fullest, and do it with a bit of style and flair.” To do that, I have learned to seize the opportunity presented to me and actively take advantage of what is happening around me. Now, I must admit, that there are days that feel routine. When this happens, I recall the day’s events and I ask if I have truly lived the day to its fullest. If I am not happy with the results, I challenge myself to do better the next day. If I have relished the opportunities of the day, I know I have made the most of my time and my talents.
I love butterflies! There are several butterfly quotes in my collection. My favorite is “Be your own kind of beautiful. Butterflies can’t see their wings. They can’t see how beautiful they are, but everyone else can. People are like that.” I realistically see myself in the mirror, so that is not the kind of beauty I hope for. Instead of a surface beauty I want others to see my total being.
Another favorite quote is from Flavia. She wrote that “Some people come into our lives for a reason or a season. But some come into our live, leave footprints on our hearts and we are never the same.” It doesn’t matter age or race, political or religious background, social or educational level, I welcome people into my life and challenge myself to find the reason they are present in it. I know my heart is filled with so many footprints because of all the people I have allowed to come into my life.
I love to observe others and see how they can inspire me as a person. I borrow, tweak, and modify what I see. I don’t always remember the source, including this quote: “Creativity is knowing how to hide the sources.” I enjoy the challenge to give a new spin to a solution and then making my idea work. And if, by chance, the first idea fails, I challenge myself to get creative and try again.
Today’s society places so much pressure on staying healthy, and eating properly. We see marathons being run, fad diets starting weekly, and even advice in the media. I love the wit of the quote: “Take care of your body. It’s the only place to live.” I have learned to listen to the signals my body send out. I know, for example, if my feet hurt, the rest of my body is exhausted. One piece of advice I have learned later in life is the importance of keeping myself hydrated. The other is that snacking on protein-rich foods is a sneaky way to get some healthy nutrients into me. Even my grandson likes my snack box!
So, as I reflect on my life and all that I cherish, I know my collection of quotes has guided me. I am living the best life for me, and I know this because those little bees remind me to “bee all that I can bee”. So, I LIVE!