Friday, May 14, 2010

Turning Points

*(a piece of a short ramble I gave last night.)
A platypus, an eighth grader and a Guidance Counselor walk into a Principal’s office... wait a minute, after 13 weeks recovery from heart surgery, I better not tell that one. It’s too hilarious!! I might injure myself. Ok, backup plan. This evening I’d like to share a few ‘words on wisdom ‘ from a couple of women and a man that I have met on my long trip that I like to call-- my Life. If you’ve spent any amount of time in my room and I know many of you have, including quite a few mom’s and know I often talk about maxims. Really, Mr. S- but I thought I was only 29! Well, I never was that good in math anyway!
*My mom, bless her soul. Every Monday morning, it seemed, I had a piece of writing due in English... a story if you will. She’s stop by my room Sunday evenings and knock and ask what my plans were for the story. On more than one occasion I uttered, “I’m writing about Why I Hate these Writing Assignments”... I never wrote that one, of course, but I must admit I struggled with everyone of those stories! Often she’s say-- these stories are important-- what do you think you’ll do in in the future? You might need all this practice. I’d answer, “that’s easy, make myself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and watch The Price is Right” That’s right at 12 my future was only 20 minutes away! Later, I found out that the future she was concerned about, and the future I was concerned about really weren’t anywheres near the same. But I listened to that lady-- and it’s made an amazing difference in my life.
*Mrs. Helen Kibler, of Lincoln Junior High School fame, bless her little red stained fingers! Yes, that same seventh grade English teacher that ruined all my Sunday nights with her endless writing assignments. And that’s not to mention the copious amounts of red ink she dedicated to correcting all my spelling and grammar faux pas. She wrote more in RED then I wrote in blue! Amazing! I never could get an A in her room, but it never bothered me. The drudgery of those long writing assignments though, where would they take me? Would she believe... how many years Mr. S-??? 37 1/2. Mind boggling... at least to me. I wonder, if in the big English Dept. in the sky she checks out my photoblog each morning to see how my writings are coming. If you are interested Google portcitydailyphoto take a look. As she always told our class--- 'Birdman', Writers Write!
*Coach Hep, bless his pigskin tainted hands! The late football coach at Indiana University. I heard him speak a couple of times and once he related what was the last thing he told his team every Saturday in autumn. It was a reminder about the day... but really a life lesson. I can’t get this out of my head... I think about it REALLY every day. Some of you out there probably know where I'm going with this by heart. Picture this the team is all psyched, itchin' to bust out of that locker room onto that green carpet BUT before they break he tells the--- Make a PLAN(we practiced a plan to beat this team), Keep to the PLAN(don’t waver, even when the going get tough) and PLAN for the unexpected(don’t be stubborn and afraid to change mid stream). What a wonderful lesson to carry around in your pocket or the back of the brain somewhere.
See--- this is what you’ve all done this year to make it here tonight. Your stories are simple(they’ll get a bit more complex later); there’s no real universal moral to preach to you tonight. You have unconditional, loving parents and love ones with you tonight. Tomorrow morning you’ll walk into classrooms with educators that care about you and where you are going... not just tomorrow but into all of your futures! And lastly, that person or words of wisdom that you’ll meet along your trip in life-- pack it away, in your pocket or the back of the brain. You’ll never know when you’ll need it for inspiration-- but you will. I promise!
Congratulations to you all tonight! You have a PLAN for success. It’s obvious to see. WHY? You are HERE! Don’t quit! Really Mr. S-? 37 1/2 years????
Enjoy Life!


  1. I wish that I had been there to hear your speech in person! Congrats on 37 1/2 years. And . . . thanks for being a great teacher to both of my sons, a great colleague, AND a great friend!

  2. Marchin O'NeachtainMay 14, 2010 at 7:25 AM

    I also wished that I could have attended. CONGRATULATIONS and great speech. 37 1/2 years....WOW...HOW time flies.

  3. And think of all the futures you've had an impact on. Kind of makes you practically immortal, Birdman.

  4. Ah, a teacher! "Couldn't have a better profession," the retired English teacher said modestly. Tell us, what do you teach and what was the occasion last night?! I really want to know!!

  5. I'm really curious what the Platypus said in the principal's office.

  6. A curious post. One that I enjoyed.