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Albert Bierstadt

Yosemite Valley, Yosemite Park, c. 1868, Oakland Museum, Oakland, California

Yosemite Valley, Yosemite Park, c. 1868, Oakland Museum, Oakland, California

 

 

Frederic Edwin Church

A Country Home, 1854, Seattle Art Museum

A Country Home, 1854, Seattle Art Museum

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A classic.  I remember Patrick Stewart doing this bit as a guest host once, but I can’t find the clip.  Still…

“Mob Parking Only”

Adjacent to this hospital is a medical office building, thus this sign.  Still…Vegas, baby!

Vegas, baby!

Vegas, baby!

As the father of seven children, I’ve had to clean up a lot of gross stuff over the years.  I’ve only been peed on twice, and both times were my own dumb fault–I shouldn’t have been so slow with the transition while changing a diaper.

Still, what happened Monday takes the cake.

Our new daughter was one day old, and I was changing her diaper.

She had just gotten some work done at the hospital, and had a bandage on her heel where they drew blood.  As I started, it came off and she bled on me.  I put a new band-aid on.

I took off the old diaper and she promptly peed on me, and her clothes, and the blanket.  I got the old diaper back under there to get as much as I could.

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The 2010-2011 school year should have been my best ever: I was teaching at the same campus for the sixth year, teaching all honors classes, and only had classes that I’d taught before.

But by the middle of second semester, I was worn out from constant frustration.  A series of cheating incidents had made me paranoid and angry, I had faced a massive outcry after raising expectations for late and missing work, and I had gone through several confrontational parent conferences due to both.

During Spring Break, though, I had resolved to make the best of it and restore my optimism.  I was grateful for a lot of things about that job: I worked with great teachers and students, my leaders were generally supportive, and I loved the work I got to do.  I decided to focus on the positive from there on out and make the last part of the year the best part.

Then school started again…

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I still believe that every student can be a winner.  A winner is someone who shows up every day and works hard, caring about achieving results, even if they don’t often succeed.  You can get Cs and still be a winner.

But too many of you are comfortable being a loser.  Being a loser has nothing to do with talent or even results: it has to do with maturity as evinced by discipline and effort.

Some of you may think it’s rude to label someone as a loser, but I know that honesty can be a higher virtue than immediate kindness.  It’s a sign of a greater caring, a devotion to guiding you to success, even when you don’t care enough to improve.

This truth leads to even more important truths: being a loser is a bad thing.  It doesn’t make you a bad person, but it does make you a bad student, and being a bad student isn’t good.  If you have chosen to be a loser, you should feel bad about that.  You should want to change it and be a winner.

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