A timely message to my students and myself

Considering recent developments in America, Thailand, and all around the world, I feel compelled to write to my students and myself this incomplete collection of take-it-or-leave-it life lessons:

Listen to one another.

Recognize our intuitive attachment to our own ideas/beliefs/cultural tendencies.

Respect differences of opinion (even if we thoroughly disagree, which is okay).

Read lots of books from many different types of authors/genres/time periods/topics recognizing that each person had a reason for writing what he/she did.

Share humbly and openly our experiences (both positive and negative).

Act transparently.

Set our sights on principles (not personalities).

Work actively towards compromise in all our relationships.

Welcome criticism but test it critically.

Don’t take things personally – the thoughts, beliefs, and opinions of others should not affect anyone’s intrinsic worth. Criticism is what it is. Take it that way. Learn from it as best you can and don’t let it define your value.

Seek after self-awareness: Who am I? What has made me that way? What do I want to be, do, and have in my life? What is my current worldview? How do I know what I know?

Carry a salt shaker wherever we go, offering up grains of skeptical salt for all the opinions we hear and see, even-and perhaps especially-our own.

Write, journal, reflect, and seek mentorship.

Have a vision in life. Constantly refine it and don’t be afraid to throw it out and start from scratch.

Love, smile, and laugh.

Hug when appropriate.

Empathize. This means to try and actually experience the emotions (and reasons for those emotions) of others.

Continue to explore more deeply what it means to forgive.

Spend time in quiet.

Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Angkor Wat, Cambodia

I love you all dearly.

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This entry was posted in Academics, Community, Education, Everyday Life, Student Development. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to A timely message to my students and myself

  1. Richard says:

    We sure will miss you around here bud.

  2. M says:

    i’ll miss you, my smart friend.

  3. Omar Badjie says:

    words with perfect sense

  4. Mim says:

    I love the way you reflect your experiences from time to time. I do reflect my own beliefs, thoughts, actions, re-actions, and words as well. This helps me to learn and grows up. Personally, avoiding the moment of ‘thinking too much’, I’ll share my feelings and thoughts with friends, and family. That helps me a lot because I’ll listen others’ points of view. One thing on the list which I should practice more is ‘don’t take things personally’. That’s very important as well.
    “We do not learn from experience…we learn from reflecting on experience.” -John Dewey

    • Thanks for this! Always great to have your comments. I like that Dewey quote. I think it’s a bit of exaggeration, though, because we do “learn” many things passively. Still, reflection is massively important. THANKS!

      • Mim says:

        I understand that, according to Dewey’s quote, the experiences are useless if that person haven’t reflected anything which have just happened to them. There’re many levels in learning. Those who face the same experiences may not learn the same things. There’re 4 types of lotus flower in Buddhism, one growing, one going to grow, one in the water, and one under the water. When we give them the same experiences, not all of them can ‘learn’. This’s not about intelligent but it’s about the way they can learn that experiences by themselves. We call this ‘meta-cognition’. Reflection is one of the crucial things process to be a good learner.

        This’s not for defending. Just for sharing! Thank you for your reply. 🙂

  5. ashibs says:

    Just saw this – but timing doesn’t detract from its loveliness. Good on ya, Ozzie.

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