Enlightened Perspective

AndyRooneyBy Andy Rooney

I’ve learned…that the best classroom in the world is at the feet of an elderly person.

I’ve learned…that when you’re in love, it shows.

I’ve learned…that just one person saying to me, “You’ve made my day!” makes my day.

I’ve learned…that having a child fall asleep in your arms is one of the most peaceful feelings in the world.

I’ve learned…that being kind is more important than being right.

I’ve learned…that you should never say no to a gift from a child.

I’ve learned…that I can always pray for someone when I don’t have the strength to help him in some other way.

I’ve learned…that no matter how serious your life requires you to be, everyone needs a friend to act goofy with.

I’ve learned…that sometimes all a person needs is a hand to hold and a heart to understand.

I’ve learned…that simple walks with my father around the block on summer nights when I was a child did wonders for me as an adult.

I’ve learned…that life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer it gets to the end, the faster it goes.

I’ve learned…that we should be glad God doesn’t give us everything we ask for.

I’ve learned…that money doesn’t buy class.

I’ve learned…that it’s those small daily happenings that make life so spectacular.

I’ve learned…that under everyone’s hard shell is someone who wants to be appreciated and loved.

I’ve learned…that the Lord didn’t do it all in one day. What makes me think I can?

I’ve learned…that to ignore the facts does not change the facts.

I’ve learned…that when you plan to get even with someone, you are only letting that person continue to hurt you.

I’ve learned…that love, not time, heals all wounds.

I’ve learned…that the easiest way for me to grow as a person is to surround myself with people smarter than I am.

I’ve learned…that everyone you meet deserves to be greeted with a smile.

I’ve learned…that there’s nothing sweeter than sleeping with your babies and feeling their breath on your cheeks.

I’ve learned…that no one is perfect until you fall in love with them.

I’ve learned…that life is tough, but I’m tougher.

I’ve learned…that opportunities are never lost; someone will take the ones you miss.

I’ve learned…that when you harbor bitterness, happiness will dock elsewhere.

I’ve learned…that I wish I could have told my Dad that I love him one more time before he passed away.

I’ve learned…that one should keep his words both soft and tender, because tomorrow he may have to eat them.

I’ve learned…that a smile is an inexpensive way to improve your looks.

I’ve learned…that I can’t choose how I feel, but I can choose what I do about it.

I’ve learned…that when your newly born grandchild holds your little finger in his little fist, that you’re hooked for life.

I’ve learned…that everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you’re climbing it.

I’ve learned …that it is best to give advice in only two circumstances; when it is requested and when it is a life threatening situation.

I’ve learned…that the less time I have to work with, the more things I get done.

The Wit & Wisdom Of Homer J. Simpson

Homer SimpsonNow, I don’t think I need to preface this with the caveat that Homer is the perfect example of what NOT to do, and how NOT to live. I just couldn’t resist sharing some of his best quotes. These just make me laugh at how not to live. (I guess I would suggest that whatever Homer’s promoting, do the opposite!!)

So without further ado, I give you Homer:

You couldn’t fool your mother on the foolingest day of your life if you had an electrified fooling machine.

Marge, don’t discourage the boy! Weaseling out of things is important to learn. It’s what separates us from the animals! Except the weasel.

If you really want something in life you have to work for it. Now quiet, they’re about to announce the lottery numbers.

To alcohol! The cause of – and solution to – all of life’s problems!

I want to share something with you the three sentences that will get you through life. Number one, ‘Cover for me.’ Number two, ‘Oh, good idea, boss.’ Number three, ‘It was like that when I got here.’

Marge, you’re as pretty as Princess Leia and as smart as Yoda.

Marge, it takes two to lie. One to lie and one to listen.

Stop aside everyone! Sensitive love letters are my specialty. “Dear Baby, Welcome to Dumpsville. Population: You.

Lisa, if the Bible has taught us nothing else – and it hasn’t – it’s that girls should stick to girls’ sports, such as hot oil wrestling and foxy boxing and such and such.

Lisa, if you don’t like your job you don’t strike. You just go in every day and do it really half-assed. That’s the American way.

Stealing! How could you? Haven’t you learned anything from that guy who gives those sermons at church? Captain what’s-his-name?

We live in a society of laws. Why do you think I took you to all those Police Academy movies? For fun? Well I didn’t hear anybody laughing, did you?

Maybe, just once, someone will call me ‘Sir’ without adding, ‘you’re making a scene.’

The internet? Is that thing still around?

What is Mind? Doesn’t Matter… What is Matter? Never Mind…

Operator! Give me the number for 911!

Bart, with $10,000, we’d be millionaires! We could buy all kinds of useful things like…love!

Just because I don’t care doesn’t mean I don’t understand.

I’m normally not a praying man, but if you’re up there, please save me Superman.

Well, it’s 1 a.m. Better go home and spend some quality time with the kids.

Donuts. Is there anything they can’t do?

When will I learn? The answer to life’s problems aren’t at the bottom of a bottle, they’re on TV!

[Meeting Aliens] Please don’t eat me! I have a wife and kids. Eat them!

What do we need a psychiatrist for? We know our kid is nuts.

Marriage is like a coffin and each kid is another nail.

Kids, you tried your best and you failed miserably. The lesson is, never try.

When I look at the smiles on all the children’s faces, I just know they’re about to jab me with something.

I’m not a bad guy! I work hard, and I love my kids. So why should I spend half my Sunday hearing about how I’m going to Hell?

Getting out of jury duty is easy. The trick is to say you’re prejudiced against all races.

It’s not easy to juggle a pregnant wife and a troubled child, but somehow I managed to fit in eight hours of TV a day.

I want to share something with you: The three little sentences that will get you through life. Number 1: Cover for me. Number 2: Oh, good idea, Boss! Number 3: It was like that when I got here.

Oh, people can come up with statistics to prove anything, Kent…14% of people know that.

Remember that postcard Grandpa sent us from Florida of that Alligator biting that woman’s bottom? That’s right, we all thought it was hilarious. But, it turns out we were wrong. That alligator was sexually harassing that woman.

Old people don’t need companionship. They need to be isolated and studied so it can be determined what nutrients they have that might be extracted for our personal use.

How is education supposed to make me feel smarter? Besides, every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain. Remember when I took that home winemaking course, and I forgot how to drive?

Television! Teacher, mother, secret lover.

I’ve always wondered if there was a god. And now I know there is – and it’s me.

I’m never going to be disabled. I’m sick of being so healthy.

All my life I’ve had one dream, to achieve my many goals.

But Marge, what if we chose the wrong religion? Each week we just make God madder and madder.

I think Smithers picked me because of my motivational skills. Everyone says they have to work a lot harder when I’m around.

Dear Lord.. The gods have been good to me. For the first time in my life, everything is absolutely perfect just the way it is. So here’s the deal: You freeze everything the way it is, and I won’t ask for anything more. If that is OK, please give me absolutely no sign. OK, deal.

That’s it! You people have stood in my way long enough. I’m going to clown college!

If something’s hard to do, then it’s not worth doing.

‘To Start Press Any Key’. Where’s the ANY key?

The Ant And The Grasshopper

AntGrasshopper1~ CLASSIC VERSION ~

The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter. The grasshopper thinks he’s a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.

Come winter, the ant is warm and well fed. The grasshopper has no food or shelter so he dies out in the cold.

~ MODERN VERSION ~

The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter. The grasshopper thinks he’s a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.

Come winter, the shivering grasshopper calls a press conference and demands to know why the ant should be allowed to be warm and well fed while others are cold and starving.

CBS, NBC, and ABC show up to provide pictures of the shivering grasshopper next to video of the ant in his comfortable home with a table filled with food. America is stunned by the sharp contrast. How can it be that, in a country of such wealth, this poor grasshopper is allowed to suffer so?

Then a representative of the NAAGB (National Association of American Green Bugs) shows up on Nightline and charges the ant with “green bias,” and makes the case that the grasshopper is the victim of 30 million years of “greenism.” Kermit the Frog appears on Oprah with the grasshopper, and everybody cries when he sings “It’s Not Easy Being Green.”

AntGrasshopper2Bill and Hillary Clinton make a special guest appearance on the CBS Evening News to tell a concerned Dan Rather that they will do everything they can for the grasshopper who has been denied the prosperity he deserves by those who benefited unfairly during the Reagan summers, or as Bill refers to it, the “Temperatures of the 80s.”

Richard Gephardt exclaims in an interview with Peter Jennings that the ant has gotten rich off the back of the grasshopper, and calls for an immediate tax hike on the ant to make him pay his “fair share.”

Finally, the EEOC drafts the “Economic Equity” and “Anti-Greenism Act,” retroactive to the beginning of the summer. The ant is fined for failing to hire a proportionate number of green bugs and, having nothing left to pay his retroactive taxes, his home is confiscated by the government.

Hillary gets her old law firm to represent the grasshopper in a defamation suit against the ant, and the case is tried before a panel of federal judges that Bill appointed from a list of single parent welfare moms who can only hear cases on Thursday’s between 1:30 and 3pm when there are no talk shows scheduled.

The ant loses the case.

The story ends as we see the grasshopper finishing up the last bits of the ant’s food while the government house he’s in, which just happens to be the ant’s old house, crumbles around him since he doesn’t know how to maintain it.

The ant has disappeared in the snow. And on the TV, which the grasshopper bought by selling most of the ant’s food, they are showing Bill Clinton standing before a wildly applauding group of Democrats announcing that a new era of “fairness” has dawned.

Little Teddy Stoddard

LittleTeddyStoddardAuthor Unknown

There is a story many years ago of an elementary teacher. Her name was Mrs. Thompson. And as she stood in front of her 5th grade class on the very first day of school, she told the children a lie. Like most teachers, she looked at her students and said that she loved them all the same.

But that was impossible, because there in the front row, slumped in his seat, was a little boy named Teddy Stoddard.

Mrs. Thompson had watched Teddy the year before and noticed that he didn’t play well with the other children, that his clothes were messy and that he constantly needed a bath. And Teddy could be unpleasant. It got to the point where Mrs. Thompson would actually take delight in marking his papers with a broad red pen, making bold X’s and then putting a big “F” at the  top of his papers.

At the school where Mrs. Thompson taught, she was required to review each child’s past records and she put Teddy’s off until last. However, when she reviewed his file, she was in for a surprise. Teddy’s first grade teacher wrote, “Teddy is a bright child with a ready laugh. He does his work neatly and has good manners…he is a joy to be around.

His second grade teacher wrote, “Teddy is an excellent student, well-liked by his classmates, but he is troubled because his mother has a terminal illness and life at home must be a struggle.”

His third grade teacher wrote, “His mother’s death had been hard on him. He tries to do his best, but his father doesn’t show much interest and his home life will soon affect him if some steps aren’t taken.”

Teddy’s fourth grade teacher wrote, “Teddy is withdrawn and doesn’t show much interest in school. He doesn’t have many friends and he sometimes sleeps in class.”

By now, Mrs. Thompson realized the problem and she was ashamed of herself. She felt even worse when her student brought her Christmas presents, wrapped in beautiful ribbons and bright paper, except for Teddy’s. His present was clumsily wrapped in the heavy, brown paper that he got from a grocery bag.

Mrs. Thompson took pains to open it in the middle of the other presents. Some of the children started to laugh when she found a rhinestone bracelet with some of the stones missing, and a bottle that was one-quarter full of perfume. But she stifled the children’s laughter when she exclaimed how pretty the bracelet was, putting it on, and dabbing some of the perfume on her wrist.

Teddy Stoddard stayed after school that day just long enough to say, “Mrs. Thompson, today you smelled just like my Mom used to.” After the children left she cried for at least an hour. On that very day, she quit teaching reading, and writing, and arithmetic. Instead, she began to teach children. Mrs. Thompson paid particular attention to Teddy. As she worked with him, his mind seemed to come alive. The more she encouraged him, the faster he responded.

By the end of the year, Teddy had become one of the smartest children in the class and, despite her lie that she would love all the children the same, Teddy became one of her “teacher’s pets.”

A year later, she found a note under her door, from Teddy, telling her that she was still the best teacher he ever had in his whole life. Six years went by before she got another note from Teddy. He then wrote that he had finished high school, third in his class, and she was still the best teacher he ever had in his whole life.

Four years after that, she got another letter, saying that while things had been tough at times, he’d stayed in school, had stuck with it, and would soon graduate from college with the highest of honors. He assured Mrs. Thompson that she was still the best and favorite teacher he ever had in his whole life.

Then four more years passed and yet another letter came. This time he explained that after he got his bachelor’s degree, he decided to go a little further. The letter explained that she was still the best and favorite teacher he ever had. But now his name was a little longer—the letter was signed, Theodore F. Stoddard, M.D.

The story doesn’t end there. You see, there was yet another letter that spring. Teddy said he’d met this girl and was going to be married. He explained that his father had died a couple of years ago and he was wondering if Mrs. Thompson might agree to sit in the place at the wedding that was usually reserved for the mother of the groom. Of course, Mrs. Thompson did.

And guess what? She wore that bracelet, the one with several rhinestone missing. And she made sure she was wearing the perfume that Teddy remembered his mother wearing on their last Christmas together. They hugged each other, and Dr. Stoddard whispered in Mrs. Thompson’s ear, “Thank you Mrs. Thompson for believing in me. Thank you so much for making me feel important and showing me that I could make a difference.”

Mrs. Thompson, with tears in her eyes, whispered back. She said, “Teddy, you have it all wrong. You were the one who taught me that I could make a difference. I didn’t know how to teach until I met you.”

Steve Jobs: How To Live Before You Die

If you haven’t seen it yet, “Steve Jobs’ 2005 commencement address at Stanford University” is definitely worth a look. Below are some of his memorable quotes on the subjects of connecting the dots of your life, loving your work, and living your own life.

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward. You can only connect them looking backwards. You have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something. Your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart even when it leads you off the well-worn path, and that will make all the difference.”
 “You’ve got to find what you love… Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.”
 “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

Click here to view Jobs’ full commencement address.

The Death of Ivan Ilyich

Ivan“Ivan Ilyich’s life had been most simple and most ordinary and therefore most terrible.” ~ Leo Tolstoy 

Probably my favorite book of all time is “The Death of Ivan Ilyich” by Leo Tolstoy, published in 1886. I generally love all classic Russian literature, and I have read this one several times as it is a short “novella” of just about 130 pages.

It is the story of Ivan Ilyich, who is a high court judge in the late 1800s. Ivan, who enjoys superior status in society, has fallen into what ironically many people today fall into, which is an addiction to the “material things” of this world. The story portrays Ivan as more and more consumed with how he is viewed by society, in terms of his position and his material things. And then suddenly what was so important to him becomes meaningless in an instant!

An ironic but tragic accident befalls Ivan, and sadly, it is not until he is on his deathbed that he realizes his life’s folly. He suddenly sees that all he has gained in his position and material things (all of which are meaningless now) were at the expense of love and meaningful relationships with family and  friends.

What I find most fascinating is the fact that more than a century ago, Leo Tolstoy experienced and wrote about the same disturbing degree of materialism, wealth, and status that we see everywhere around us today.