The frustration, though, is all mine. They don’t cause it–they’re simply doing what they do. I’m getting pretty good at getting less frustrated, at focusing less on what they’re not doing and more on what they are doing. After all, I also have plenty of opportunity in class–opportunities to get to know the students, to learn from them, and to learn more myself about the subject areas that I’m teaching. And if I stay chained to my frustration, then I’ll lose my own opportunities, won’t I?
I think it would be kind of interesting to find out just how many opportunities that I've squandered myself. That’s one of the reasons that I can’t get too upset at my students–after all, I've done similar things, and I've turned out fairly okay. They have an awful lot on their minds, and sometimes what we’re doing in class simply comes in eighth or ninth place on their list of priorities, behind the problems at home, their relationship problems, friends, and so much more.
Yes, they may be squandering important opportunities, but which of us hasn't? One of my most important on-going goals these days is to pay attention to the opportunities that are there in my life and to take advantage of them all that I can. I have many opportunities every day–to encourage, to help, to give, to take, to earn, to grow, to smile, to laugh, to share, to be–and my life most definitely is less full if I continue to squander these opportunities that can make me a better and richer person.
Great opportunities come to all, but many do not
know they have met them.
The only preparation to take advantage of them is
simple fidelity to watch what each day brings.
Albert E. Dunning