Learning from Experience Articles

The Wisdom to Know the Difference (Day Twelve: Twelve Days of Wisdom)

Monday, January 12th, 2015

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

The courage to change the things I can,

And the wisdom to know the difference.PC250048

-The Serenity Prayer

I like Victorian-era cemeteries, and whenever I visit one the Serenity Prayer enters my mind.

In those days there was no cure for tuberculosis, which was romantically called “consumption” and which along with other infectious diseases filled the churchyards and necessitated the creation of vast new burying grounds.

Victorian cemeteries were intended as parks where families could picnic and visit their departed loved ones on Sunday afternoons.


The Key to Happiness is Becoming a Lower Maintenance Person (Day Eleven: Twelve Days of Wisdom)

Sunday, January 11th, 2015

P7170168Because attention, time, and energy are all limited resources, scaling down and living a high-quality yet low-maintenance life is really the way to maximize contentment and minimize stress.


It’s Best to Face Your Fears and Let Your Kids Face Their Fears, Too (Day Ten: Twelve Days of Wisdom)

Saturday, January 10th, 2015

P6300072To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest. -Pema Chodron

Is there anything more painful than watching your child suffer? But when we shield our kids from the lumps Life dishes out, we rob them of the critical growing-up experiences that will make them into strong, brave, confident adults later.


The Basic Physical Stuff is Amazingly Important (Day Nine: Twelve Days of Wisdom)

Friday, January 9th, 2015

P9160337Sleep is the best meditation. -Dalai Lama

These are the simplest pieces of wisdom in this whole collection, and they are amazingly powerful.

Oh, how I wish I could relive those days in my 20’s, 30’s, 40’s (days?…actually years) of chronic weariness, when I was heroically trying to “do it all” and muddling through on way too little sleep.


Relationships Are Not Mysterious or Impossible; They’re Just Really Complicated (Day Eight: Twelve Days of Wisdom)

Thursday, January 8th, 2015

P8010076If you love her, support her.

-Randy Pausch

Love may seem magical, whimsical, steered by the forces of fate, timing and chemistry…but, in fact, love thrives when people behave well towards one another and withers when they treat one another badly. (Duh!!)


You Can Become a Better Person (Day Seven: Twelve Days of Wisdom)

Wednesday, January 7th, 2015

P6290016It’s not about how to achieve your dreams. It’s about how to lead your life. If you lead your life the right way, the karma will take care of itself. The dreams will come to you. -Randy Pausch

I make my living working with kids, and it’s my impression that most of them have little clue as to what they want to do with their lives, and that they find the very question terrifying.


It’s Great to NOT Be Special (Day Six: Twelve Days of Wisdom)

Tuesday, January 6th, 2015

P6290031As you get older, you may find that enabling the dreams of others is even more fun. -Randy Pausch

I’m part of that generation of women who were told we could have it all and actually believed it.


Day Five: Read the textbook and work the problems. (Twelve Days of Wisdom)

Monday, January 5th, 2015

Easter April 4 2010 Met with M and H 013My mom deserves the credit for this one.

When I was a kid math was not my forte, and in eighth grade I was struggling and failing at algebra. So my mom went to the local bookstore and bought me a review book (picture the mid-1970’s version of Algebra for Dummies).


Day Three: Willpower is limited. (Twelve Days of Wisdom)

Saturday, January 3rd, 2015

Pantheon & Pompidou Centre 2 18 2011 048Think in the morning. Act in the noon. Eat in the evening. Sleep in the night. -William Blake

When I get home from work, which can be as late as 10PM, I am soooo done! I don’t want to do anything besides kick off my shoes, fling my coat over a chair and grab something good to read (my way of relaxing) until bedtime.

I’ve spent most of my life beating myself up over my evening slacker ways, until learning that, in fact, I’m not unusually lazy. Willpower naturally fades as the day wears on.


Day Two: Emotions affect reasoning. (Twelve Days of Wisdom)

Friday, January 2nd, 2015

Pantheon & Pompidou Centre 2 18 2011 069People use words as weapons, to defend themselves. It is common for people to attack with anger when they are afraid and to become insulting when they are hurt or jealous.  -Dr. Shirley Glass

When we are anxious or angry we can’t think straight. This means we ought to avoid taking action or having heavy conversations while immersed in these mood states.

The emotions of fear and anger trigger our internal fight-or-flight mechanism, which sends epinephrine (adrenalin) gushing through our bloodstream. Our heart races, our blood pressure shoots up, our platelets ready themselves to clot in case we are injured…and our higher-level thinking skills shut down. After all, it doesn’t take a lot of brainpower to run from a saber-toothed tiger.


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Recent Comments
  • Dad of 5: Where you say “Nor should we expect to go to math class, listen one time, and immediately “get it.”...
  • MsJustice: what about kids/young adults that have a mental illness? Does this apply to them too? I have a son who is...
  • Joe: Is there perfect empathy? No, but this is not a binary, all-or-nothing thing. I agree it’s a definition...
  • One KP: I do agree with you Colleen, it is a definition problem we have here. Also the other challenge we are faced...
  • Bette: There are some things in life we must memorize. My concern with the Common Core principles is that the most...
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