When I got out of college, I had a teaching degree and there was no where to teach. I ended up living at home in Streator, IL with my mother and teaching in a CETA program at the local Catholic school.
It was a rough blue collar place. And a fairly miserable school. The books were antiquated and the priest, to his shame, told me I shouldn’t have children writing stories because, after all, they were all going to just be factory workers.
In the middle of that muddle, there was one teacher who was an island of sanity. Lou Gamble, the sister of my first grade teacher and one of my mother’s teaching buddies, taught 3rd grade in such a way that it was as if I was in a different planet. Same nasty old books. Same disheartened kids. Same priest. Completely different classroom attitude.
Lou set a tone in her class that was disciplined with dignity, kindly, and excited over the small good things always there. I learned more from her just watching than in four years of college. Lou taught me about attitude adjustment. People come in feeling what they feel. But feelings are contagious. You’re feelings are and so are your students. She taught me the art of attitude adjustment.
I don’t make people say these Ellenism’s. Now- a-days they’d be called affirmations. They don’t cement a technical point or particular piece of information. But we all have the ickiest tapes running through our heads. Late in the day, when the blood sugar drops, you can hear the soundtrack to their childhood. I do think the horror of childhood is not child abuse or bullying, although I loath and fight both of those things when I find them. It’s the helplessness of feeling small and impotent. If the world is fair and kind, then that can be dealt with. If not, that contagious plague like attitude assault goes on in your head years and miles later. We create our world with the thoughts in our minds.
So here is my ellenistic effort to fight back. I say these things in class when I get a whiff of those tapes running in the back of someone’s mind.
There’s no can’t like won’t.
If you won’t do it, you really can’t. There is no can’t past that.
Brave isn’t how you feel. It’s what you do. Feelings just don’t count here. They shift and change. If we do something, anything, we find our attitudes changed simply by our own actions
Love your ducks! Every piece you make will have an ugly duckling moment. You need to love it enough to work through that part to see what kind of swan it will be. It won’t be a swan if you won’t love it through.
Perfect this time if only different next time. This isn’t mine personally. It was a line in the Tassajara Bread Book in the 70′s. It was a book more about how to bake bread than of recipes The recipes had been developed for an ashram, so they were for 40-60 people, past most home use. But the attitude is golden. Everything you try is information for another time. It’s perfect as it is.
The universe is right on time. The things we need are usually within our grasp, just when we need them. Pushing time forward or back doesn’t seem to help very much.
You’re so brave. We all are. If you got up, washed your face and walked out the door, you are. Celebrate it.
I was delighted to find that the Tassajara Bread book is still out there, in a new form. You’ll find it on amazon.com at
I’m afraid you’ll find icky tapes everywhere. Fight them with your own good attitude. Don’t be afraid to use an affirmation. There’s no weapon more fearsome than the mind.