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Stepping on a Scale – Lifelong Learning (October 2012)

Not long ago, I attended a professional development session for Western Wyoming Community College employees, in which the President of the College talked about what happens when people step on a scale. She explained that when someone steps on a scale, and isn't happy with the number, they may try to explain it away as having to do with some sort of glandular problem when the truth is that it usually reflects a person's overall decision-making process or lack thereof. (Choice of food intake vs. choice of exercise output, etc.)

After I finished laughing, I thought about how important it is to weigh ourselves internally and decide how to approach situations before us. And that if we aren't happy with the information we receive, such as a number on a scale, we should try to look within and make some hard decisions for change, instead of laying blame elsewhere.

Have you ever just been walking along, on a flat sidewalk or grassy area and twisted your ankle? I have. I've also seen others do it. Most of us, seem to react by looking to see if anyone saw us while trying not to show how bad it hurts. Some people may even look back and down at the sidewalk or grassy area as if to try to blame it instead (a crack, a slick spot, some debris, a hole, etc.)

One of my children has diabetes. If he doesn't want to do something, (usually chores), he'll say he can't do it, because he has diabetes. I remind him that diabetes is not an excuse, it's a circumstance that he must deal with. Many of us have circumstances in our lives that we must constantly deal with, but we don't do ourselves any good if we try to use them as excuses through life.

I can't sing to save my life, but my daughters have beautiful voices. Last year, one of my daughters had to weigh a decision as to whether or not she was going to sing a solo at the district competition. After soul searching and even a bit of finger-pointing ("I'm not sure I want to, I don't want you to be disappointed in me if I don't", "what if everyone laughs at me", etc.), she decided to do it, and she performed incredibly earning a superior rating from the judge. It wasn't an easy choice for her to sing by herself in front of others, but she did it. She scaled to new heights within herself and her confidence.

Billy Joel once said "I don't think what has happened to me is that different from what happens to most people. The only difference is the scale. People seem to think my problems are larger than life, but they're not larger than my life." I think many times it's hard for human beings to take their pointer finger and turn it on themselves. It's so much easier to blame others or external forces for one's troubles.

The truth is sometimes it is someone else's fault, and sometimes other "things" do contribute to situations, but one of the "codes" I try to live by and teach my own children and those I work with, is that you can control yourself, despite circumstances. In other words, while things may indeed happen to us or around us that may be somewhat out of our control, we can control how we deal with situations, first internally, then how we project externally. And, not IF we make a mistake, but WHEN we make one, we shouldn't lay blame elsewhere. We should simply apologize, try to make it right, learn from it and move forward!

As Oprah Winfrey said, "I learned that I could not look to my exterior self to do anything for me. If I was going to accomplish anything in life I had to start from within." Have a great day! Yours in education.

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