Posted tagged ‘motivation’

Last Stool On The Right

June 13, 2018

There are certain habits in our lives that bring comfort and consistency. They are the frame that support the structure of our life. Like the links of chain for a playground swing, habits bring a swaying rhythm to our life.

One of my habits involves a stool, a laptop, and an early morning cup of coffee. Where I write my Words from W.W. blog almost without exception occurs at the Starbucks in Colorado Springs on the corner of Union Boulevard and Briargate Parkway from the last stool on the right, facing out with a view of Pike’s Peak. It is where I ponder, create, and edit, sometimes slowly and other times at a frenzied pace.

Kathy Buchanan, who is one of the writers for the Focus on the family long-time series, Adventures In Odyssey, sits on the last stool on the left with six stools between us. We joke with one another about our ingrained habit for our writing. When someone is in one of OUR spots we give a look of dismay to one another.

“You going to be able to function today?” I’ll ask her. She sighs deeply and replies, “I’ll try!”

MY stool is the launching pad for discovering. It’s even come to a point now where some of my friends know where they’ll be able to find me at 7 A.M. on mornings I’m not substitute teaching. Some days my writing takes a series of breaks for stop-by conversations. My stool, however, draws me back to why I’m there.

I sip the coffee as I search for the right word. A second sip is required when I’m slow in figuring and finding. My third cup means I’m approaching the finish.

Jim Ryun, the famous track and field miler, once said “Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going!” My stool is my habit.

Going Back To School

October 28, 2017

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                     October 28, 2017

                                  

My parents would testify to the truth of this statement.

I was not a very good student!

Actually, I was not a very motivated student. I was motivated to get to physical education class, but I can not remember another class in middle school or high school that I was motivated to excel in. Each day was a trip to Boredom in a vehicle named Mediocrity.

I remember a number of my teachers, but not necessarily for what they taught me. I remember “earthquake drills” in Health class where we laid our heads on our desks. An earthquake drill meant that our teacher hadn’t had time to plan a lesson. I remember my chemistry teacher saying that if an atomic bomb was going to be dropped by Russia it would be aimed at a place within an hour of our location. I don’t remember the chemical symbols of the periodic chart, but I do remember that we’d be the first to perish on doomsday!

I substitute taught seventh grade all five days this past week. The techniques and methods of teaching have changed, but the students are still the same. For many students the legal requirement of being in school seems to cast a looming shadow over the opportunity to go to school. Since they HAVE to do it there is a lack of WANTING to do it!

I was the same way…or worse! I now wonder what my teachers said to my parents during those parent-teacher conferences. I doubt that it included statements about my academic achievements and prowess.

And now…forty-five years after high school, I often wish I could return to the role of student and sit under the tutelage of some of those teachers that I rarely gave a hearing to. I wish I could actually sit in one of those desks and hear about dangling participles and plane geometry theorems. I’d like to sit there with my laptop and type out notes as my teacher lectured on the Spanish Inquisition.

Why is it that we are too often late in appreciating what we’re a part of, and left to sadly reminisce about lost opportunities?

Of course, that’s how it is with other area of our lives, also! We take for granted the presence of family and friends, talk about visiting that certain aunt someday soon…that never seems to come…and then it’s too late! We commit to getting out of debt…next month! We’ll make that doctor appointment for the physical exam we’ve been dreading…sometime soon! We’ll take the family to a movie…as soon as we get that major house project done that we keep putting off!

I wish I could go back to school. Maybe I will! My Great Aunt Lizzie took art classes at the community college in Paintsville, Kentucky when she was in her mid-nineties! I still have the painting she gifted me with of her log cabin birthplace. Maybe I’ll sign up for an American History class with young adults and risk being called Grandpa!

Funny, isn’t it…my longing for education when I used to long for it to be over!

Inspired By…

December 30, 2015

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                     December 29, 2015

                                            

Inspiration is a special gift underestimated. It is able to cause greatness that has been content to remain hidden to rise to the surface. It causes the paint on the artist’s palette to be moved to the brush and then the canvas to create a masterpiece of beauty.

Inspiration comes in the words of a coach whose heart expresses himself in tear-driven words to a team that doesn’t quite believe in itself. It awakens the potential and puts to bed the doubts.

Inspiration comes from a teacher who says with a sense of certainty to the underachieving student “You can do it!” The student goes forward with a confidence that she has never experienced before simply because the teacher believes in her.

Inspiration is looked for, but never bought. It appears in odd places, as well as frequented auditoriums and gyms.

The thing is…for many of us…the path we take in our life is influenced by someone else’s inspiration. I had a history teacher in high school whose purpose, it seemed, was to make American History as dull and uninteresting as possible. I dreaded the class. In my first year of college, however, I had a history professor for one class who suddenly made U.S. History rise from the deadness in my mind. It was thought-provoking and interesting, and that one professor caused me to change my major area of study to being a History major. Inspiration comes in unexpected places.

The man who was Associate Pastor at my home church in Ironton, Ohio inspired me to be excited about the possibilities of ministry. Jerry Heslinga was a God-send to a tired soul. I was struggling through seminary and he became the ointment for a doubting student. He inspired me to keep going.

Bill Trent was my high school track coach who inspired me to run…and run…and run. Coach Trent was a rough, football-minded kind of guy, who believed that a person rarely rose to the level of their potential, so he pushed us. If we lost a track meet we would practice right after it was over. He taught us that we had the potential to achieve was seemed unachievable. He inspired me to break the school record in the mile run…which would last for one season before Cecil Morrison, an average kid who became an incredible runner, broke it.

Inspired. How many people can you say inspired you to do something or be something? How many people complete their phrase “Inspired by…” with your name?