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Nugget# 112 Life lessons from a pair of slippers!

imagesHi friends,

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged. Hope all has been fine with you. This nugget that I’m going to share with you came all of a sudden.Hope you enjoy it as much as I did! 🙂

My little one N2 was walking in the garden with his granny. Suddenly  I heard her say : “N2, you shouldn’t put another person’s slippers or you would trip and fall as it is too big for you.”This was totally understandable as the 3 year old N2 had the smallest feet in the house.

This brought the following life lessons to my mind:

1)All of us need to  find the right slipper for our feet- We shud not only ensure that the slipper is right sized but also that its really comfy to walk in :- In our life too, we must take the time and effort to carefully select the things in life that really matter. A “One  size fits all” mentality would never be applicable here. All of us need to spend some time to get acquainted with our choices. Sometimes remembering the Cindrella fairy tale will enlighten our minds as to how the right slipper size could actually change the whole destiny of a person! 🙂

2) Never compare : – in life too, each of us is unique and hence could never be satisfied with another’s choice.We need to take our time to make the right selection which once we have done , we stick to it no matter how greener the grass on the other side may appear. Comparison always brings confusion.There’s a Christian quote that  ‘each one has his own cross to bear’. So the excellent way would be to be contented & grateful for the blessings in our life.

3)Empathy not Sympathy:- While my mother was correcting my son about not putting another’s slippers, I decided to think out of the box and came up with this point. Sometimes we need to stop thinking of our comfort alone and go the extra mile and slip on another’s slippers just to understand what the other person is going through. At such times it is good to remember that while it is good to empathise, it is never right to sympathise. Saying “I  see what you’re going through” is empathy but we should be careful to stop with that and not to go ahead and sympathise by saying  “I wonder how you will come out of this.” ‘Empathy is seeing with another’s eyes,listening with another’s ears and feeling with another’s heart.’- Alfred Adler

unnamedNugget of Life :- “Yet,taught by time, my heart has learned to glow for other’s  good and melt at other’s woe.”- Homer

Have an awesome week !

Cheers,

Sparkylaurie

 

 
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Posted by on July 17, 2018 in LIFE LESSONS, Uncategorized

 

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Nugget # 111 Life Influences from the Movie ‘Front of the Class’!

Front_of_the_Class_posterHi friends,

Hope this has been a pleasant week for you. Recently, I watched ‘Front of the Class’ which is a 2008 American drama film on the life of Nationally Recognized Teacher & Motivational Speaker Brad Cohen. This Hallmark Hall of Fame movie is based on Brad’s book Front of the Class: How Tourette Syndrome Made Me the Teacher I Never Had.

This nugget is one where instead of drawing life lessons, I’d like to highlight some inspiring people from the life of Brad Cohen, who have been influential in making him the winner he is today! Brad never let his challenges with Tourette’s come in the way of achieving his dreams.

At the onset of the movie, we find the 12 year old Brad who lives (in Missouri) with his divorcee mom Ellen and kid brother Jeff; get into all kinds of trouble with his dad as well as his teachers at school because his TS tics are unfortunately misunderstood to be his antics!  He is labelled the prankster and in one rather disturbing scene in the movie, he is made by his teacher to go to the front of the class and apologize for his disturbing behavior and promise that he would never to do that again. Brad’s mum, in her quest for answers lands up in a library where she comes across Tourette’s syndrome in a medical book. Hopefully, she seeks professional advice from a Doctor who agrees on her diagnosis (on the basis of symptoms) that Brad may be having TS but informs them that TS was incurable. In an effort to find others with TS, Brad’s mother drags him into a support group. Here, he finds a sorry group of people who have accepted TS as their disability & surrendered themselves to a secondary existence, giving up any dreams of achieving success in life. The only lesson Brad learns from them is never to become victims of TS like them. award

BRAD’S MUM- WHO ALWAYS BELIEVED IN HER SON & ENCOURAGED HIM NEVER TO GIVE UP HIS DREAM OF BECOMING A TEACHER ONE DAY, Tourette’s / No Tourette’s! * [A word to Parents, never underestimate the enormous role you play in molding your children’s future.]

At the beginning of middle school, Brad gets into trouble with his TS and is sent to the principal’s office who invites him to the school concert. At the end of the concert, (which is disrupted by Brad’s TS tics), the Principal calls Brad up to the stage and asks him to talk about his Tourette’s. He addresses the crowd & explains to them how TS was a disorder of the brain & that he didn’t like making the tic sounds any more than they liked hearing them, concluding that all he wanted was to be treated like anyone else. As Brad uncertainly makes his way back to his seat after his small speech, the school applauds him. It is then that Brad realizes the power of education. At this life- changing moment, Brad decides to make teaching his career.

awardTHE PRINCIPAL OF BRAD’S MIDDLE SCHOOL – who takes the time to talk to the boy about the real purpose of EDUCATION [which is to wipe out ignorance with knowledge]; more importantly, it is Mr PRINCIPAL who encourages Brad to educate the school about TS. This encouraging & noble act of his is pivotal in opening a door to a brand new world for him. Brad made that life changing decision that day – to become the Teacher he never had– *[ A word to Teachers, never get so bogged down by the never ending pending deadlines, futile inspections and heaps of test paper books for correction, that you lose sight of  the real purpose of education.]

As an adult, living in Georgia with his friend Ron, Brad’s primary focus is to get a job as a school teacher. He is used to being asked about his pet dog when interviewers call him & hear his TS related barks. We discover his amazing winning attitude as he answers those queries with humor. However, after being rejected in 24 interviews (because of his TS),we find a rather dejected Brad lying on his couch. It is at his darkest moment that Brad’s step mom visits him. Though he is definitely not pleased to meet her initially, her parting remark that ‘he had a gift to teach, and it was not in spite of his Tourette’s, but because of it ‘ gives him the strength to dream again. award

BRAD’S STEP MOM- Even though Brad does not appreciate her visit and doesn’t even make the effort to hide it, yet I love the way this amazing woman leaves him only after throwing in a spark of hope into his otherwise dismal day!  Many a time, our well-intended acts of help may be ignored, sometimes despised. Yet, we can learn from Brad’s step mom, how to do our bit;  irrespective of the response we get and then, just as she did, leave the place a little brighter than it was before. I’m sure that Brad would agree that his step mom on that day , played a major role in encouraging him not to give up, that too just before his final interview.

Soon after this, Brad finally gets his break when he gets an interview call from a school who accepts him (TS & all) & is ready to give him a chance. On the very first day, Brad explains to the children about his constant companion Tourette. He brightens their lives by bringing joy & wonder into it. He especially impresses the terminally ill Heather & helps the problem child Thomas. His out of the box teaching techniques are frowned upon at first but later on appreciated. award

THE SCHOOL WHO GAVE HIM A CHANCE- It is the Mountain View Elementary School, Georgia who accepted Brad and saw beyond the Tourette’s – which is the only thing that the other 24 schools who had rejected him had seen. I salute the Board who gave Brad both the courage & the opportunity to prove himself. We later learn that this turns out to be the schools’ best decision as Brad goes on to win the First Year Teacher of the Year Award in the State of Georgia for their School that year.   *[A word to those in authority, to those who have the opportunity to recruit others. Has prejudice ever clouded your perceptions? Do you have the eyes to see beyond the obvious? Do you look down intimidatingly/critically at that nervous/eager interviewee across the table? Wouldn’t it be better to just cut him some slack, maybe even smile as you remember how years before someone else had sat across you from that table &  believed in you enough to give you a chance?]

As regards his social life, Brad’s estranged relationship with his dad is restored & he also starts dating Nancy, who shares similar musical interests. They hit it off from the very start. When asked about whether his TS noises bothered her, she simply says Not when I compare them to the noises other guys make. You know, like, braggers, loud-talkers, egocentric, humor– challenged idiots.  Seriously, no. Your noises don’t bother me at all.” We can’t help but feel happy for Brad who has finally found his match!

awardNANCY- It’s quite refreshing to see someone who sees beyond Brad’s tics & who hears beyond his TS noises. She doesn’t even seem to notice what is obvious to everyone else. On being questioned about this, her reply is simply so profound. *[The world would be such a better place if there were more people like Nancy who see beyond the superficiality & accept/ appreciate people for who they really are.]
BradCohenHomer-213x300

At the end of the movie, like the cherry on the cake, Brad wins the Sallie Mae First Year Teacher of the Year Award for his outstanding teaching & positive role model abilities. His other victories are his Master’s degree; fulfillment of his lifelong ambition (to be dressed up as Homer-the Atlanta Braves mascot) & marrying his sweet heart Nancy in 2006. Now that’s what I call living life king-size!

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Nugget of Life: “Everyone, regardless of ability or disability, has strengths and weaknesses. Know what yours are. Build on your strengths and find a way around your weaknesses.” – Brad Cohen, (Front of the Class: How Tourette Syndrome Made Me the Teacher I Never Had)

Have a great week!

Cheers,

Sparky Laurie

 

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Nugget # 110 Life lessons from the movie Florence Foster Jenkins!

Florence_Foster_Jenkins_(film)Hi friends,

Hope you are doing fine. I just watched the biographical comedy –drama movie Florence Foster Jenkins (starring Meryl Streep & Hugh Grant) and strongly recommend it. The movie is based on the real life story of Florence Foster Jenkins, a New York heiress and socialite who founded the Verdi Club in order celebrate her passionate love for music. Though a great lover of music and even a talented child pianist who played for the President when she was a youth, Florence had to later give up her career aspirations as a pianist due to an arm injury.

St Clair Bayfield, a British Shakespearean actor is her husband & manager. The couple are very much in love but choose to live separately due to an illness (syphilis) that Florence had contracted from her first husband. According to Mr Bayfield, theirs is more a relation of the spirit. For his other needs, he has a mistress Kathleen Weatherly whom he resides with in an apartment in the city paid for by Florence.

Florence , inspired by an opera singer, has a great desire to sing. She thus resumes her singing classes with her vocal coach, Carlo Edwards (Assistant conductor at the Metropolitan Opera).  She hires a new pianist Cosme McMoon who is simply shocked when he finds out that though Florence is a terrible singer, both her coach and husband hide that fact from her and pretend that she is a wonderful singer. Bayfield goes one step further and asks McMoon to do the same.

It is indeed interesting as well as enjoyable to watch the lengths to which the loyal and loving Bayfield would go to hide the painful truth from his beloved that she just cannot sing. Towards the end of the movie, in spite of all their efforts to make sure that Florence hears only the good reviews, Florence comes to know of the negative review of her recital on reading the column by Earl Wilson in the Post. On reading it, she clutches her heart and suddenly falls unconscious. Later, on gaining consciousness, she sadly asks her dear husband who is by her bedside soothing her :”Was everyone laughing at me the whole time?” We can’t but admire his truthful and yet thoughtful reply to her question . He answers: “I was never laughing at you” and adds.. “Yours is the truest voice I have ever heard.”

Life Lesson#1 : We need to speak the truth in love-  It is necessary to soften life’s blows to hearts like Florence’s. (who is actually doing no one any harm). It is the truth that she cannot sing and everyone was laughing at her but her husband replies that he never laughed at her and that he heard in her singing the truth in her voice as she sang with all her heart. It is indeed wonderful to love someone so much to tell them the truth and yet be tactful and gentle enough not to break their heart in the process. This is a skill, which I feel if developed, would easily save a lot of marriages and probably other relationships too. 

Life Lesson#2 : Pursue your passion fervently irrespective of another’s approval – Though anyone would easily agree that the woman’s singing is indeed extremely hilarious, yet we are forced to admit that Florence passion for music is rather intoxicating. Yes, she may lack the talent but definitely not the heart for it, Florence is indeed a true lover of music. Her last few words are one that will echo in my heart forever. It is actually what really prompted me to write this Nugget.On learning the truth that she is indeed a terrible singer, she concludes chuckling… People may say I couldn’t sing, but no one can say I didn’t sing.” After a while she dies peacefully.

How many of us are willing to pursue something so passionately that even if we are laughed at, or even thought of as weird, we would rather do it? Are we ready to laugh at those who laugh at us and say like she did, they may never approve of me but at least they will not say I never did it. Though Florence could never sing like a Nightingale and win applause for her voice, yet she became a prominent musical cult figure in New York City during the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s. Cole PorterGian Carlo MenottiLily PonsSir Thomas Beecham, and other celebrities were fans. How did Florence win the hearts of so many in spite of her clear lack of singing talent? It was probably her love and courage to sing that made her win both their hearts and ours!

drawing-the-love-sign-smiley-emoticonNugget of Life: “Do what you love, and you will find the way to get it out to the world.”- Judy Collins 

Enjoy this video which pretty much sums up this nugget: https://youtu.be/3yFiqdCjNMk

 

Have a great week,

Cheers,

Sparky Laurie

 

 

 
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Posted by on March 29, 2018 in LIFE LESSONS, Uncategorized

 

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Nugget # 35 Life lessons from FAMILY

“You don’t choose your family.They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them”.  ~Desmond TutuHi friends,

This festive time of the year always brings to our mind thoughts of HOME and FAMILY. The place where we grew up, learnt our first life lessons, fought with siblings, dreamt our first big dreams, had our favorite meals, learnt who we were and what we liked. The place we were easily understood and loved and finally the place that made us what we are today.

Some of us may not have the family we grew up with around us but all of us have that special place we call HOME- That haven where no matter what we are going through in life, we can always go to with rest and assurance in our heart that we will be loved, accepted and cherished; and that place is called HOME.

“The family is a haven in a heartless world.”  ~ Christopher Lasch

As we celebrate Thanksgiving and with holidays right round the corner,feeling a bit nostalgic, this week I’d like to share with you some unforgettable life lessons that I‘ve learnt from FAMILY. These are the values that in a way define each of them in my eyes and it is my daily prayer to inculcate some of each in me every day. This one is for you my FAMILY!

1) PAPA: GENEROSITY & HOSPITALITY– Papa has always had a heart full of kindness to share with others who come into our homes. He has always taught us to share what we have with those who are with us and never to leave a person who comes by without sharing a meal with them.

“I don’t care how poor a man is; if he has family, he’s rich.”  ~Dan Wilcox and Thad Mumford, “Identity Crisis,” M*A*S*H

2) MUMMY: HONESTY- As far as I can remember there is only 1 lie that mummy  has ever told me and that was when I was little and being taken to the hospital for a vaccination, I asked her mummy, are we going to the hospital and she said no. I went that day because I knew that my mother never lied. To this day I remind her of her one BIG LIE 😉 …. Jokes aside, mum has taught us to be truthful no matter what.

Family:  “A social unit where the father is concerned with parking space, the children with outer space, and the mother with closet space.” ~Evan Esar

3) My Elder Sister: – BOLDNESS:  Liza chechi’s   life-motto is ‘DON’T CARE ABOUT WHAT OTHERS THINK ABOUT YOU FOR THEY HARDLY EVER DO’. Her life is testimony to the wisdom of that statement.

“In some families, please is described as the magic word.  In our house, however, it was sorry.”  ~Margaret Laurence

4) My Younger brother:- DIPLOMACY : Lloyd is simply a whiz when it comes to people skills. He lives by the motto “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me!” He advocates learning from mistakes and never making the same again. He understands all kinds of people and knows how to tackle them with a finesse that I long to master some day!

“Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family.  Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one.”  ~Jane Howard

Click here to enjoy this lovely song: http://youtu.be/7NSQLMPUK-8

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7NSQLMPUK-8

  Nugget of Life :  “Family ties are precious threads no matter where we roam… they draw us close to those we love, and pull our hearts towards home!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Have a wonderful week,

Cheers,

Sparky Laurie

 

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Posted by on November 26, 2011 in NUGGETS OF LIFE, Uncategorized

 

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