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Guest Citdriffrot

Whether you are a teacher, parent, relative, boss, or fellow community member, each of us has a chance to make a positive and impactful difference in a child's life.

But in order to do this, we must carefully consider this question:

What do you think matters most to our children?

For 20 years I have been posing this question to my students. At the beginning of every school year, I would ask my students to give me advice on how to be their best teacher. I asked them to think about the times they felt most successful and to consider what the adults in their lives did to make this success possible.

The classroom would become immediately silent as the students wrote intensely for longer than they had ever written before. Smiles would appear on their faces as they reflected on the happy experiences they were remembering. After reading their responses I would add to my list all the ideas they mentioned.

Surprisingly, many of the responses were the same. Year after year, in every grade level, content area and classroom I was in, regardless of demographics or background, students were saying the same things and had the same message: It's the small things you do that mean the most. That is what they remembered. That is what mattered.

Here is a list of the 12 Most Important things that came out of these amazing conversations.:

1. Greet me each day

Wish me good morning, and send me off with a "see ya tomorrow."

2. Smile

When you look at me, let me see happiness in your eyes.

3. Give me your attention

Sit and talk with me privately; even if only for a second.

4. Imagine with me

Help me dream of things I might be able to do; not just the things I need to do now.

5. Give me challenging content and assignments

Show me how to handle it. Teach me what to do.

6. Ask about me

Inquire about my weekend, the game a played, the places I go. It shows you care about my life.

7. Let me have time

Time to let things sink in. Time to think. Time to reflect, process, and play.

8. Demand of me

Hold me accountable to high standards. Don't let me get away with what you know I am capable of doing better.

9. Notice Me

Leave special messages in my desk or locker. Just a quick not that says you notice something right.

10. Let me ask the questions

Even if they are off topic. It will show that I am thinking about new perspectives, curious, and willing to learn more. Let me have the chance to show what I am wondering about, not just what I know.

11. Engage me

I came to you in love with learning, keep me excited, keep me wanting more.

12. Trust me

Believe that I can do it. Allow me the chance. I promise to show you I can.

These words did not fall on deaf ears. I collected them, honored them, and then promised I would do everything within my power to be the teacher they needed.

What matters to the children in your life? It's worth a conversation, I promise!




"How can I get 7-8 hours of sleep when I'm with my kids from the moment I arrive home, and I need some time for myself before bed?"

"How can I find time to exercise when I have to get up early in the morning and I'm exhausted by the time I get home in the evening?"

"How can I possibly keep up when I get 200 emails a day?"

"When is there time to think reflectively and strategically?"

These are the sorts of plaintive questions I'm asked over and over again when I give talks these days, whether they're at companies, conferences, schools, hospitals or government agencies.

Most everyone I meet feels pulled in more directions than ever, expected to work longer hours, and asked to get more done, often with fewer resources. But in these same audiences, there are also, invariably, a handful of people who are getting things done, including the important stuff, and somehow still managing to have a life.

What have they figured out that the rest of their colleagues have not?

The answer, surprisingly, is not that they have more will or discipline than you do. The counterintuitive secret to getting things done is to make them more automatic, so they require less energy.

It turns out we each have one reservoir of will and discipline, and it gets progressively depleted by any act of conscious self-regulation. In other words, if you spend energy trying to resist a fragrant chocolate chip cookie, you'll have less energy left over to solve a difficult problem. Will and discipline decline inexorably as the day wears on.

"Acts of choice," the brilliant researcher Roy Baumeister and his colleagues have concluded, "draw on the same limited resource used for self-control." That's especially so in a world filled more than ever with potential temptations, distractions and sources of immediate gratification.

At the Energy Project, we help our clients develop something we call rituals — highly specific behaviors, done at precise times, so they eventually become automatic and no longer require conscious will or discipline.

The proper role for your pre-frontal cortex is to decide what behavior you want to change, design the ritual you'll undertake, and then get out of the way. "It is a profoundly erroneous truism that we should cultivate the habit of thinking of what we are doing," the philosopher A.N. Whitehead explained back in 1911. "The precise opposite is the case. Civilization advances by extending the number of operations we can perform without thinking about them."

Indeed many great performers aren't even consciously aware that's what they've done. They've built their rituals intuitively.

Over the past decade, I've built a series of rituals into my everyday life, in order to assure that I get to the things that are most important to me — and that I don't get derailed by the endlessly alluring trivia of everyday life.

Here are the five rituals that have made the biggest difference to me:

Abiding by a specific bedtime to ensure that I get 8 hours of sleep. Nothing is more critical to the way I feel every day. If I'm flying somewhere and know I'll arrive too late to get my 8 hours, I make it a priority to make up the hours I need on the plane.

Work out as soon as I wake up. I've long since learned it has a huge impact all day long on how I feel, even if I don't initially feel like doing it.

Launching my work day by focusing first on whatever I've decided the night before is the most important activity I can do that day. Then taking a break after 90 minutes to refuel. Today — which happens to be a Sunday — this blog was my priority. My break was playing tennis for an hour. During the week it might be just to breathe for five minutes, or get something to eat.

Immediately writing down on a list any idea or task that occurs to me over the course of the day. Once it's on paper, it means I don't walk around feeling preoccupied by it — or risk forgetting it.

Asking myself the following question any time I feel triggered by someone or something,: "What's the story I'm telling myself here and how could I tell a more hopeful and empowering story about this same set of facts?"

Obviously, I'm human and fallible, so I don't succeed at every one of these, every day. But when I do miss one, I pay the price, and I feel even more pulled to it the next day.

A ritual, consciously created, is an expression of fierce intentionality. Nothing less will do, if you're truly determined to take control of your life.



What are the most important things in life? What do the

proverbs, the wise sayings of man through the ages, have to say

on this point? Let us search them. If we did so we would come

up with the following list:


- the basic necessities (food and shelter)

- a good wife (or spouse)

- good health

- a good conscience

- a good name

- wisdom, understanding, good sense, spiritual knowledge,

understanding of ourselves and life


Now let us ask another question. What things are most commonly

pursued by man? What does the common, ordinary man pursue in

life? We can list them:


- temporary pleasure (gratification of appetites)

- material possessions, wealth

- social position, being "important"

- friendship, friends, acceptance by a group


When we ask the question "What are the important things in

life?" what we really mean is: "What things in life bring the

best happiness?" Both are just different ways of phrasing the

same question.


What a person pursues in life depends on what he values. His

values, basic tastes and preferences, determine his priorities

and the way he occupies himself and spends his time. The most

basic, underlying values of the wise man are Wisdom,

Understanding, Justice, Goodness, and Virtue. These are his

first loves. They are what drive him, determining his tastes

and preferences. The ordinary man, however, has as his first

love pleasure and the other things we have listed. He occupies

himself with the pursuit of Thrill and Temporary Pleasure. He

focuses on the temporary pleasures available to him through

catering to his base appetites. He spends his time in front of

a TV set watching programs that excite his fantasies and

provide him temporary thrills and erotic pleasure; he finds his

pleasure in eating, sex, gambling, coarse humor, alcohol and

drugs. The wise man, on the other hand, is driven by a

different set of tastes and preferences, likes and dislikes.

He is attracted to that which gives spiritual understanding.

He is interested in the serious questions of life and society.

He is interested in the problems of his fellow man. He is

interested in the dilemmas of life --- spiritual, moral,

economic, etc.. He is interested in spiritual and moral truth.

And he tends to prefer activities that aid him in these

interests -- that provide insight, knowledge, perspective,

etc.. He is likely to be a lover of reflection and also of



What is wrong with the pursuits of the common man? The problem

with these pursuits is that most of them are illusory. They

don't give real happiness, or the best happiness. And many are

also destructive, destroying morally, spiritually and



The wise man, the man of understanding, knows there is a God

and he puts spiritual things first. He is a god-fearing person

who lives by God's moral law.



How is a person's character determined? Life is filled with

temptations, obstacles, frustrations, inner struggles and

dilemmas that we all have to cope with, things which test our

character. I think character is built according to how we deal

with these as children. It all depends upon the decisions and

choices we quietly make within ourselves as we are growing up.

And the choices and decisions we make are dependent on such

highly personal things as courage, strength of character,

personal ideals and standards, etc.


How important is teaching, training, and moral instruction for

developing the character of a child? It is probably highly

helpful but not necessary. Why? Because moral knowledge is

within us. God put it there for us, for our sake. We all know

right from wrong from birth. Parents, in teaching us,

correcting us, and disciplining us, simply reinforce that

knowledge of right and wrong within us. My parents did not

spend much or any time actively teaching me moral precepts.

They did correct me when necessary on this and that. I don't

think the issues were usually moral. They expected me to act

sensibly and responsibly. They were strict and used physical

discipline. They demanded obedience. I was raised on hard

farm work. Neither of my parents drank, smoked, swore or used

any kind of low or bad language. There was no off-color humor

in our home and no instances of immoral conduct. My mother

made sure we went to church. I was raised in a morally clean

home. In that way my upbringing was different than that of

many people.


I think the character of a child is determined by the extent to

which he is true to that knowledge of right and wrong within

himself, the extent to which he listens to and obeys the still,

small voices within himself. What voices do I mean? I mean

the voice of conscience and the voice of prudence, wisdom, good

sense, good judgment. The habit of listening to and obeying

the voices within creates character. Plus the habit of

reflecting, thinking, and observing life and people. One

observes the virtues, faults and mistakes of others in learning

how to live life. In the creation of character each of us is

quietly on his own, silently making personal decisions, unknown

to anyone, that will decide his future character. He quietly

decides whether he will lie or tell the truth, do the job right

or fake his way through, etc. It is the prudent, wise child

that develops good character. When one has gotten out into the

world and seen much of people one is impressed by the great

diversity and variety in the characters of people.


I will illustrate with some of my own character traits. One of

the things that distinguished me as a child was that I was

persistent. I would never give up on a problem. When I

couldn't understand some idea or concept in school I kept at it

until I understood it. I wouldn't give up. I wouldn't admit

defeat. I felt I could do anything anyone else could do.

Defeat was unacceptable. I remember this in my childhood.

Where did this habit come from? Did anyone ever teach me this

as a precept? No. The habit came from within myself. I

instinctively knew within myself that it was very important to

me psychologically never to give up on a problem, to never

admit defeat. The habit came from an inner knowledge, a voice

of prudence within. Some people are very careless and untidy.

They drop their belongings everywhere and are a mess. I have

always been very methodical and tidy. I put things where they

belong. Everything has its own place. Where did this habit

come from? It came from a voice from within. I don't think my

mother had to tell me when I was a boy to put my things away.

I put them away because I was a conscientious boy who listened

to the voice within. The voices of conscience, prudence, good

sense told me to put things away. Some children are ruled and

controlled by the voices of conscience, prudence and wisdom

within themselves. They have good sense, good judgment, and

are ruled by it. They have personal standards and are ruled by

them. They have a personal integrity that they hold stubbornly

to. I am sure that in my case the voices within were connected

to my love of the Bible, knowledge of scripture, love of God.

I was supported by my strong spiritual foundation, my knowledge

of scripture. I am not perfect. I have made many mistakes and

still feel ashamed of them when I think of them.


Do all children hear these voices of conscience, reason,

prudence, good sense within themselves? I am sure they are

there within all of us. God put them there for our own sakes.

But there may be some interference. They may be drowned out by

other voices. What other voices? The voices of the crowd.

Peer pressure. All the wrong and bad voices impinging upon us

from every direction in our modern society. Our own

selfishness or perverse inclinations. I believe that the

greatest enemy of the voices within is the crowd. When I was a

boy I was very skeptical of the crowd. I didn't trust it. I

stayed away from it. I believed then, and still do believe,

that the crowd is the great destroyer of morals. To be true to

God one has to walk a separate road. The extent to which a

person is able to maintain his integrity in life depends a

great deal on his willingness to avoid the crowd and walk a

separate path. God's way is not the way of the world. You

can't have both --- God and the world. You have to choose.

God's way is not the way of the masses, the majority, or of the

intellectuals of this world. They are all on Satan's road.



Cakes, pie, pastry, sweets, sodas are good. We all love them.

If we just follow our natural inclinations, do whatever we

like, let base appetite rule, we would do as a great many

people do --- eat them all the time, without restraint. And if

we do that, most likely, we will eventually pay the price in

health problems. In excess they subtly, over time, do us harm.

They act like a poison. Would one knowingly consume something

that he knew to be poisonous to him just because it tasted good?

Don't people do that all the time? How about the habits of

smoking or drinking? Reason and prudence don't rule with most

people. Base appetite and inclination rules. There is another

habit that is harmful to man. What is that? Watching

television. Smoking, drinking, excess consumption of sweets is

poison to the body. Watching television in our modern day is

poison to the soul. At least here in America. Why is that?

It is so because television projects the outlooks, attitudes

and values of the screen writers, actors and producers of the

programs. And the screen writers, actors and producers in our

modern western societies tend to be of liberal outlook, on the

very leading edge in moral corruption, atheism and godlessness.

They project their degenerate, immoral, godless outlooks and

attitudes in their works and the masses of the society sit for

hours in front of their TV sets ingesting it all. You become

what you eat and the masses are voracious eaters. They don't

know they are being spiritually deceived and duped at the cost

of their own soul. They don't realize that they live in a

world ruled by that most articulate of all liars, Satan. They

just imbibe, absorb and believe. And why shouldn't they? With

little or no spiritual foundation, they don't know the truth.

They don't know moral lie when they hear it. One assertion is

as plausible as another. One outlook and viewpoint is as good

as another. And what they hear appeals to their base appetites

and inclinations. It is like eating sweets. They consume it

with gusto. It all justifies their lowest instincts. The

television programs year after year, a little at a time,

desensitize the population to immorality and wickedness, pushing

moral standards lower and lower. Homosexuality is portrayed

as acceptable. Sexual immorality is glamorized. Obscenity is

the new norm. In this way, the screen writers, actors and

producers are leaders leading the population down that broad

road that Jesus referred to when he warned against the broad

road and in favor of the narrow road. Like credulous sheep the

masses just blindly follow, oblivious to the eternal



In addition to all this, in a society that reveres science, the

field of psychiatry, purporting to be scientific and

authoritative, lends its support and "credentials" to the modern

atheistic, humanistic outlook. Products of a degenerate

culture, they use their social status and weight to support godless,

moral degeneracy. And the politicians all follow. The

government follows. And the schools follow. And the

population is led down into the moral abyss, starting with the

school children. In all of this the population finds itself in

direct conflict with the teachings of Christianity. And in

response Christianity is either twisted into something that

conforms to their moral degeneracy --- some degenerate, apostate

form of Christianity --- or is perceived as erroneous, radical and

unacceptable, an enemy of truth (their truth).



When thou hast profited so much that thou respectest thyself,

thou mayest let go thy tutor.






Every one stamps his own value on himself. Man is made great

or little by his own will.






Above all things, reverence thyself.






Be noble-minded! Our own heart, and not other men's opinions

of us, forms our true honor.






To have a respect for ourselves guides our morals; and to have

a deference for others governs our manners.






Self-respect --- that corner-stone of all virtue.


Sir John Herschel





No more important duty can be urged upon those who are entering

the great theatre of life than simple loyalty to their best


E. H. Chapin





The reverence of man's self, is, next to religion, the chiefest

bridle of all vices.






Self-reverence, self-knowledge, self-control, these three alone

lead life to sovereign power.




A proud man has many crosses.






They who are often at the looking-glass seldom spin.






A proud look makes foul work in a fine face.






He who swells in prosperity will shrink in adversity.






Pride frustrates its own desire; it will not mount the steps

of the throne, because it has not yet the crown on.

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Pride would be acknowledged victor before it has won the







Pride will not act unless it be allowed that it can succeed;

and it will do nothing rather than not do it brilliantly.






The proud are most provoked by pride.






A proud heart in a poor breast

Gives its owner little rest.






A proud man is always a foolish man.






Arrogance is the obstruction of wisdom.






Of all the causes which conspire to blind Man's erring judgment,

and misguide the mind,

What the weak head with strong bias rules,

Is pride, the never-failing vice of fools.








The nobler the blood the less the pride.






Arrogance is a weed that grows mostly on a dunghill.






The fear of the LORD is to hate evil;

Pride and arrogance and the evil way

And the perverse mouth I hate.


Prov 8:13





When pride comes, then comes shame;

But with the humble is wisdom.


Prov 11:2





By pride comes nothing but strife,

But with the well-advised is wisdom.


Prov 13:10





In the mouth of a fool is a rod of pride,

But the lips of the wise will preserve them.


Prov 14:3





The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom,

And before honor is humility.


Prov 15:33





The LORD will destroy the house of the proud,

But He will establish the boundary of the widow.


Prov 15:25





Everyone proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD;

Though they join forces, none will go unpunished.


Prov 16:5





Better to be of a humble spirit with the lowly,

Than to divide the spoil with the proud.


Prov 16:19




Pride goes before destruction,

And a haughty spirit before a fall.


Prov 16:18





Before destruction the heart of a man is haughty,

And before honor is humility.


Prov 18:12





By humility and the fear of the LORD

Are riches and honor and life.


Prov 22:4





A man's pride will bring him low,

But the humble in spirit will retain honor.


Prov 29:23





A haughty look, a proud heart,

And the plowing of the wicked are sin.


Prov 21:4






He who is of a proud heart stirs up strife,

But he who trusts in the LORD will be prospered.


Prov 28:25






The end of a thing is better than its beginning;

The patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.


Eccl 7:8





By pride cometh contention.


Prov 13:10






Though the LORD be high, yet hath he respect unto the lowly:

but the proud he knoweth afar off.

Psalms 138:6






The meek will he guide in judgment: and the meek will he teach

his way.

Psa 25:9






But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight

themselves in the abundance of peace.

Psalms 37:11






Surely he scorneth the scorners: but he giveth grace unto the


Prov 3:34







Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? there is more hope of

a fool than of him.

Prov 26:12






And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that

shall humble himself shall be exalted.

Mat 23:12





I believe the first test of a truly great man is his humility.






God walks with the humble; he reveals himself to the lowly; he

gives understanding to the little ones; he discloses his

meaning to pure minds, but hides his grace from the curious and

the proud.


Thos. a Kempis





The street is full of humiliations to the proud.







Should you ask me, What is the first thing in religion? I

should reply, The first, second, and third thing therein --

nay, all -- is humility.








After crosses and losses men grow humbler and wiser.


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Humility is the solid foundation of all the virtues.







Humility is the first lesson we learn from reflection, and

self-distrust the first proof we give of having obtained a

knowledge of ourselves.







It is in vain to gather virtues without humility; for the

spirit of God delights to dwell in the hearts of the humble.







To be humble to superiors, is duty; to equals, is courtesy; to

inferiors, is nobleness; and to all, safety; it being a virtue

that, for all its lowliness, commandeth those it stoops to.


Sir T. More

True dignity abides with him only, who, in the silent hour of

inward thought, can still suspect, and still revere himself, in

lowliness of heart.



If thou desire the love of God and man, be humble, for the

proud heart, as it loves none but itself, is beloved of none

but itself. Humility enforces where neither virtue, nor

strength, nor reason can prevail.



Humility is not a weak and timid quality; it must be carefully

distinguished from a groveling spirit. There is such a thing

as an honest pride and self-respect. Though we may be

servants of all, we should be servile to none.


E. H. Chapin

Nothing sets a person so much out of the devil's reach as


Jonathan Edwards

The richest pearl in the Christian's crown of graces is



Humility is the eldest born of virtue, and claims the birth-

right at the throne of heaven.


By humility I mean not the abjectness of a base mind, but a

prudent care not to overvalue ourselves.


Humility is to have a right estimate of one's self -- not to

think less of himself than he ought. The higher a man is in

grace, the lower will he be in his own esteem.


Humility is the truest abstinence in the world. It is

abstinence from self-love and self-conceit, from vaunting our

own praise and exploits, from ambition and avarice, the

strongest propensities of our nature, and consequently is the

noblest self-denial.



True humility makes way for Christ, and throws the soul at his


J. Mason

Pride is increased by ignorance; those assume the most who know

the least.


If a proud man makes me keep my distance, the comfort is that

he keeps his at the same time.


As thou desirest the love of God and man, beware of pride. It

is a tumor in the mind, that breaks and ruins all thine

actions; a worm in thy treasury, that eats and ruins thine

estate. It loves no man, and is beloved of none; it disparages

another's virtues by detraction, and thine own by vainglory. It

is the friend of the flatterer, the mother of envy, the nurse

of fury, the sin of devils, the devil of mankind. It hates

superiors, scorns inferiors, and owns no equal. In short,

till thou hate it, God hates thee.


Pride defeats its own end, by bringing the man who seeks esteem

and reverence into contempt.



Pride is seldom delicate; it will please itself with very mean



Pride may be allowed to this or that degree, else a man cannot

keep up his dignity. In gluttony there must be eating, in

drunkenness there must be drinking; 'tis not the eating, and

'tis not the drinking that must be blamed, but the excess. So

in pride.



Pride, as it is compounded of the vanity and ill nature that

dispose men to admire themselves, and contemn other men,

retains its vigor longer than any other vice, and rarely

expires but with life itself. Without the sovereign influence

of God's grace, men very rarely put off all the trappings of

their pride till they who are about them put on their winding-



Pride is a vice, which pride itself inclines every man to find

in others, and to overlook in himself.



Pride is as loud a beggar as want, and a great deal more saucy.

When you have bought one fine thing, you must buy ten more,

that your appearance may be all of a piece; but it is easier

to suppress the first desire than to satisfy all that follow



"Pride was not made for man"; a conscious sense of guilt and

folly, and their consequence, destroys the claim, and to

beholders tells, here nothing but the shape of manhood dwells.


There is a diabolical trio existing in the natural man,

implacable, inextinguishable, co-operative and consentaneous,

pride, envy, and hate; pride that makes us fancy we deserve all

the goods that others possess; envy that some should be admired

while we are overlooked; and hate, because all that is

bestowed on others, diminishes the sum we think due to




Pride is the master sin of the devil.

E. H. Chapin

Pride is the first peer and president of hell.


As Plato entertained some friends in a room where there was a

couch richly ornamented, Diogenes came in very dirty, as usual,

and getting upon the couch, and trampling on it, said, "I

trample upon the pride of Plato." Plato mildly answered, "But

with greater pride, Diogenes!"



Pride often defeats its own end, by bringing the man who seeks

esteem and reverence, into contempt.


The proud are ever most provoked by pride.


A beggar's rags may cover as much pride as an alderman's gown.


When pride and presumption walk before, shame and loss follow

very closely.

Louis the Eleventh

The disesteem and contempt of others is inseparable from pride.

It is hardly possible to overvalue ourselves but by

undervaluing our neighbors.


You who are ashamed of your poverty, and blush for your

calling, are a snob; as are you who boast of your pedigree, or

are proud of your wealth.


O world, how apt the poor are to be proud!


Deep is the sea, and deep is hell, but pride mineth deeper; it

is coiled as a poisonous worm about the foundations of the



A proud man is seldom a grateful man, for he never thinks he

gets as much as he deserves.

H. W. Beecher

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