Words from a father to his daughter as she launches out into the world

Words from a father to his daughter as she launches out into the world


Whether it’s to kindergarten or college, sending your child out into the world is an anxiety-provoking experience. Our children are exposed to all sorts of dangers in the world—physical, emotional, and spiritual. But as parents we have hope and we take courage. Our hope for our children outweighs our fears and anxieties because our hope for them is grounded in the heavenly Father who holds them in His hand. Children are a gift from God; wise parents will give them back to Him. Over and over and over again we give our children to God.

John Newton is well-known as a hymn writer, fewer are acquainted with him as a letter writer. Newton was a prolific letter writer—he wrote letters to church members, to fellow ministers, and to his wife. He also wrote letters to his adopted daughter, Betsy. The following is an excerpt from a letter he wrote to Betsy when she was 14-years old and away at school. If you need reason to hope as a parent, if you need an example of how to pray for your child, find it here.

October 15, 1782

My dear child,

Sometimes, when I consider what a world you are growing up into, and what snares and dangers young people are exposed to, with little experience to help them—I have some painful feelings for you.

The other day I was at the harbor, and saw a ship launched—she slipped easily into the water. The people on board cheered; the ship looked clean and mirthful, she was freshly painted, and her colors flying. But I looked at her with a sort of pity, “Poor ship!” I thought, “you are now in port and in safety; but before long you must go into the wild sea. Who can tell what storms you may meet with hereafter, and to what hazards you may be exposed. How weather-beaten you may be before you return to port again, or perhaps you may not return at all.”

Then my thoughts turned from the ship—to my dear Betsy. The ship seemed to be an emblem of your present state. You are now, as it were, in a safe harbor; but by and by you must launch out into the world, which may well be compared to a tempestuous sea. I could even now almost weep at the resemblance. But I take courage, as my hopes are greater than my fears. I know there is an infallible Pilot, who has the winds and the waves at His command. There is hardly a day passes, in which I do not entreat Him to take charge of you. Under His care—I know you will be safe. He can guide you, unhurt, amidst the storms, and rocks, and dangers—by which you might otherwise suffer—and bring you, at last, safely to the haven of His eternal rest.

I hope you will seek Him while you are young—then you will be happy, and I shall rejoice. Nothing will satisfy me but this. Though I should live to see you settled to the greatest advantage in temporal matters—unless you love Him, and live in His fear and favor—you would be quite miserable. I think it would nearly break my heart; for, next to your dear mamma, there is nothing so dear to me in this world as you. But the Lord gave you to me—and many a time upon my knees, I have given you back to Him. Therefore I hope you must, and will, and shall be His.

I am, with great tenderness, my dear child, your very affectionate father.

reblogged from Mike Livingstone blog

The Age-Long Minute
















“Thou art the Lord who slept upon the pillow
Thou art the Lord who soothed the furious sea,
What matter beating wind and tossing billow
If only we are in the boat with Thee?

Hold us in quiet through the age-long minute
While Thou art silent and the wind is shrill:
Can the boat sink while Thou, dear Lord, art in it?
Can the heart faint that waiteth on Thy will?”

-Amy Carmichael

The Power of a Positive Educator

The Power of a Positive Educator


When I think about the teachers who made a difference in my life I realize they were all positive. Mrs. Liota smiled every day and made me feel loved. Coach Caiazza believed in me while Mr. Ehmann encouraged me to be my best. Years later as I think about the impact these teachers had on my life it’s clear that being a positive educator not only makes you better it makes everyone around you better. Positive educators have the power to transform lives and inspire young minds to believe they can and will change the world. In this spirit here are seven ways we can all choose to be a positive educator.

1. Be Positively Contagious – Research shows that emotions are contagious. Sincere smiles, kind words, encouragement and positive energy infect people in a positive way. On the flip side your students are just as likely to catch your bad mood as the swine flu. So each day you come to school you have a choice. You can be a germ or a big dose of Vitamin C. When you choose to be positively contagious your positive energy has a positive impact on your students, your colleagues and ultimately your school culture. Your students will remember very little of what you said but they will remember 100% of how you made them feel. I remember Mrs. Liota and her smile and love and it made all the difference.

2. Take a Daily Thank you Walk – It’s simple, it’s powerful, and it’s a great way to feed yourself with positivity. How does it work? You simply take a walk… outside, in a mall, at your school, on a treadmill, or anywhere else you can think of, and think about all the things, big and small, that you are grateful for. The research shows you can’t be stressed and thankful at the same time so when you combine gratitude with physical exercise, you give yourself a double boost of positive energy. You flood your brain and body with positive emotions and natural antidepressants that uplift you rather than the stress hormones that drain your energy and slowly kill you. By the time you get to school you are ready for a great day.

3. Celebrate Success – One of the simplest, most powerful things you can do for yourself and your students is to celebrate your daily successes. Instead of thinking of all things that went wrong at school each day focus on the one thing that went right. Try this: Each night before you go to bed think about the one great thing about your day. If you do this you’ll look forward to creating more success tomorrow. Also have your students do this as well. Each night they will go to bed feeling like a success and they will wake up with more confidence to take on the day.

4. Expect to Make a Difference – When positive educators walk into their classroom they expect to make a difference in their student’s lives. In fact, making a difference is the very reason why they became a teacher in the first place and this purpose continues to fuel them and their teaching. They come to school each day thinking of ways they can make a difference and expecting that their actions and lessons will lead to positive outcomes for their students. They win in their mind first and then they win in the hearts and minds of their students.

5. Believe in your students more than they believe in themselves – I tried to quit lacrosse during my freshman year in high school but Coach Caiazza wouldn’t let me. He told me that I was going to play in college one day. He had a vision for me that I couldn’t even fathom. He believed in me more than I believed in myself. I ended up going to Cornell University and the experience of playing lacrosse there changed my life forever. The difference between success and failure is belief and so often this belief is instilled in us by someone else. Coach Caiazza was that person for me and it changed my life. You can be that person for one of your students if you believe in them and see their potential rather than their limitations.

6. Develop Positive Relationships – Author Andy Stanley once said, “Rules without relationship lead to rebellion.” {Tweet That} Far too many principals share rules with their teachers but they don’t have a relationship with them. And far too many teachers don’t have positive relationships with their students. So what happens? Teachers and students disengage from the mission of the school. I’ve had many educators approach me and tell me that my books helped them realize they needed to focus less on rules and invest more in their relationships. The result was a dramatic increase in teacher and student performance, morale and engagement. To develop positive relationships you need to enhance communication, build trust, listen to them, make time for them, recognize them, show them you care through your actions and mentor them. Take the time to give them your best and they will give them your best.

7. Show you Care – It’s a simple fact. The best educators stand out by showing their students and colleagues that they care about them. Standardized test scores rise when teachers make time to really know their students. Teacher performance improves when principals create engaged relationships with their teachers. Teamwork is enhanced when educators know and care about one another. Parents are more supportive when educators communicate with their student’s parents. The most powerful form of positive energy is love and this love transforms students, people and schools when it is put into action. Create your own unique way to show your students and colleagues you care about them and you will not only feel more positive yourself but you will develop positive kids who create a more positive world.

If you commit to being a positive educator I encourage you to read and commit to The Positive Teacher Pledge.

The Positive Teacher Pledge

  • I pledge to be a positive teacher and positive influence on my fellow educators, students and school.
  • I promise to be positively contagious and share more smiles, laughter, encouragement and joy with those around me.
  • I vow to stay positive in the face of negativity.
  • When I am surrounded by pessimism I will choose optimism.
  • When I feel fear I will choose faith.
  • When I want to hate I will choose love.
  • When I want to be bitter I will choose to get better.
  • When I experience a challenge I will look for opportunity to learn and grow and help others grow.
  • When faced with adversity I will find strength.
  • When I experience a set-back I will be resilient.
  • When I meet failure I will fail forward and create a future success.
  • With vision, hope, and faith, I will never give up and will always find ways to make a difference.
  • I believe my best days are ahead of me, not behind me.
  • I believe I’m here for a reason and my purpose is greater than my challenges.
  • I believe that being positive not only makes me better, it makes my students better.
  • So today and every day I will be positive and strive to make a positive impact on my students, school and the world!

Download, Print and Share The Positive Teacher Pledge Here.

Comment On and Share This Article Here.

– Jon

Reblogged from the Jon Gordon newsletter

Back To School Letter to Teachers



This letter has been going around:


To my children’s teachers:

I apologize in advance for the condition my children might be in when you see them on Thursday morning. You will have your work cut out for you, I can assure you.

They will likely be very tired. They have been going to bed late and sleeping in because, frankly, that is what I call a great summer.

Their brains are not in learning mode. If they read a book this summer, I am not aware of it. I sure didn’t ask them to. I’m sure they read the back of the cereal box full of processed ingredients. That may be it.

Their handwriting will likely be chicken scratch for a few weeks, at least. Well, with Anderson…..the chances of improvement are slim to none. That ship has sailed. You will want him to type any written work so it will be legible. I’m pretty sure my son hasn’t held a pencil since May.

There has been no practicing of math facts or algebra review. My oldest counted money and tickets at the arcade by the beach. Pretty sure that was the extent of math practice this summer.

They aren’t looking forward to seeing you. In fact, my soon-to-be first grader cried tonight just thinking about having to sit in your classroom. Have fun with that.

My rising freshman told me he didn’t need to see you a day early on back-to-school day because, and I quote, “I’ll figure it out on the first day.” Preparedness is not his strong suit, so consider yourself warned.

No, they aren’t ready to see you. To be honest, I’m not ready for them to see you either. Please don’t curse me under your breath when you receive them into your classrooms on Thursday morning. Know that while they may be underprepared, it is because they have been busy being children. Because in the blink of an eye, they will be grown men holding down careers and supporting families of their own. And lazy summers will be a thing of the past.

I do promise to make sure homework is done and they are in bed on time during the school year. I promise they will be well-behaved and obedient because they have been trained, and they know how consequences follow them home. Please remember, however, that they are boys and will need a daily outlet for the energy they so carefully try to constrain while you are teaching. Recess isn’t negotiable for them.

Take care of my boys. You have them for as many waking hours as I do each week, and that is no small thing.

As always, thank you for overworking for pennies so that my kids can learn. I promise to be generous with the gifts and service in your classrooms.

A Summer-Loving Mom