“When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive– to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.”

Marcus Aurelius, Roman Emperor


For three years I have been working as an aide in the city schools where I live. Most of my service has been at an elementary or preschool. And in every classroom one of the walls is decorated with the alphabet. I still sing my ABCs from time to time and not long ago, while the children were at rest, I started thinking about those letters –  A is for apple, B is for ball, C is for cat, so on and so forth.

Then I started rethinking those illustrations and decided the letter A should be represented by a picture of one of the preschoolers I have been honored to work with. And the letter A should stand for Attitude. You see the young scholar I’m talking about spends a lot of time sitting in a chair for making some unwise choices.  But the next day, when the school bus arrives, he is the happiest camper on the planet. Glad to see everyone and more than ready to start a new day. He does not carry a grudge, not for the teacher who put him in time out or the playmate that snitched on his evil deeds. An excellent role model in the fine art of forgive and forget.

So how do you plan on getting off the bus tomorrow?

Who are you mad at?

Take a tip from my little friend – get over it!

And that brings us to the letter B.

How about B for back bone.

Have you tried anything new lately. My little friends are always up for an adventure. They don’t seem to worry about being too small, too tall, too old or too young. Name the game and they are ready to play. Name the project and they are ready to build. And whatever you put in front of them they find a way to make it fun.

Eleanor Roosevelt put it this way, “The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”

I recall watching a program about American soldiers returning to the beaches of Normandy where they landed on D-Day in the Second World War. They were asked about their struggle on that day and the rest of the war, “Was it worth it?”. Hearing the laughter of children playing near by, one soldier said, “There is your answer.”

And that, my friend brings us to the letter C. It stands for cheerfulness.

What could be more precious than the laughter of children?

And maybe It’s it time to give your funny bone a workout?

Young children have a lot to teach me.  A, B, C,  Attitude, Backbone, Cheerfulness, And I still have 23 more letters of the alphabet to go.