This week’s topic: what book, movie, or quote most inspires you?
There are a ton of quotes I love, but e.e. cummings has long been a favorite of mine.
When I was student teaching, a fellow teacher gave me a card on my last day that read:
“To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best day and night to make you like everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight and never stop fighting.” (e.e. cummings)
It’s a quote that immediate registered with me and it’s one I often remind myself of.
My dad has told me to not let someone’s actions or lack of action impact who I am. For instance, if someone wrongs me, I need to continue being the person I am. I find that many people, unfortunately, change who they are or act differently because of someone else’s actions or lack of action. For instance – “this person doesn’t treat me … way so I’m going to stop caring.” As a result of someone’s action, you have now changed who you are – you have stopped caring.
So, e.e. cummings’ quote reminds me of exactly of that – standing up for who you are. This does not mean being stubborn. However, it does mean believing in yourself and representing yourself with respect. It’s something most of us agree upon, but few act on.
Recently, we had an event at school in which a student committed several wrongs (after a series of wrongs) that could harm other students. However, I was surprised at how many students immediately jumped to his rescue. They were upset at the discipline committee for taking action. They were not upset at their “friend” for inflicting harm on others. In fact, I saw no student show anger towards the student in question. It was disheartening.
However, I think this quote represents that. It’s hard to respect yourself and what you stand for. It’s hard to go against the crowd. In this case, there was a mob mentality and no one spoke up. No one behaved as themselves.
It’s a battle I fight each day – to stay who I am or to become my best self, but it’s a struggle. It’s even more of a struggle for developing teens. They are afraid to stand for themselves when it goes against the others.
I’ve found e.e. cummings has great quotes for discussing personal respect and personal growth. It’s something I want to address more with students next year. It’s something I want to continue to address with myself.
Some others of note:
“Listen, there’s a hell of a good universe next door. Let’s go!” – e.e. cummings
“I’d rather learn from one bird how to sing than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance.” – e.e. cummings
“The world is mud-luscious and puddle-wonderful.” – e.e. cummings
“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” – e.e. cummings