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Control What You Can

You have power over your mind, not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.- Marcus Aurelius

I have two stories tonight.  As a teacher, I get to go to lots of meetings, and deal with lots of initiatives, buzz words and directives from principals.  This year and last year, my principal’s directive was the same.  “Control what you can control.”  It’s short it’s sweet and it’s too the point, and it ties directly into my next little story, which in turn ties into the quote.   This morning, one of my students walked into my room throwing her stuff around and swearing up a storm.  I waited a few minutes and asked her what happened.  She was all upset because her grandfather had yelled at her and they had gotten into a fight this morning.  Then when she got to school, she felt like people were staring at her and talking about her.  She ranted and raved for a few minutes and then I asked her to read me the quote that I had just written on the board.  She did, and then I asked her what she thought it meant and after a few minutes, she broke it down and gave me a pretty decent explanation.  She then looked at me, at the board, and back to me and let out with a very sheepish “Oh!”  She realized pretty quickly that she didn’t have any control over what anybody else may have said or done, but she had control over her.  Or in this case, she started out with no control over herself.  Will she get it tomorrow?  Maybe not, but for a few minutes, she realized what the quote was saying, and she found her own strength.  How great would it be if we all could live our lives, remembering this.  What others think, say and do is completely on them, what’s on us, is how we react to it – therein lies our strength.

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