Have you ever had a teacher make a life-long impression on you?
My 3rd grade teacher at St. Paul’s Catholic School, Mrs. Stehling, I think was her name, was a tough lady – old, shaky, and a little scary.
She didn’t sugarcoat anything.
Whenever a classmate asked for clarification on an assignment, for example, “Do we have to write 2 pages?”, Mrs. Stehling would say, “You don’t have to do anything but die.”
We all sat there shocked, looking at each other wide-eyed, with that “Did you hear what she said?” expression.
I’m sure none of us had any idea what she meant, but I’ve thought about her response many times since I was 8. (How’s that for having words stick with you?)
All these years later – her response, though harsh, rings true.
And it’s solid.
Sure, there are consequences, possible ramifications of action or inaction.
“You don’t have to do anything but die.”
Yes, it’s stern, but empowering too. You don’t have to do anything.
Everything you do is by choice. And understanding that you have a choice can shift your perspective.
It changes “having” to do something to “wanting” to do something.
And how do you choose?
How do you decide what to do especially when you don’t feel like you have much of a choice?
Choose to act out of love, instead of obligation. Act with joy in your heart, instead of resentment.
Peace, instead of anger.
Acceptance, instead of judgement.
Sometimes circumstances demand courage to act, stand up for yourself, or fight for a cause you believe in.
Or to take a leap of faith even though the outcome is uncertain.
Let the truth of Mrs. Stehling’s statement empower you to be courageous, strong, and happy.