I am not a teacher, but an awakener. ~ Robert Frost

The dream begins, most of the time, with a teacher who believes in you, who tugs and pushes and leads you on to the next plateau, sometimes poking you with a sharp stick called truth . ~ Dan Rather

Better than a thousand days of diligent study is one day with a great teacher. ~ Japanese proverb

It’s that time of year when notebooks and knapsacks abound and all sorts of new beginnings and nerves are in the air, bringing the possibilities and excitement that arrive with the start of an academic year. Whether or not we find ourselves in an actual classroom this Fall, we are all students in this school called Life, which means that anyone and any situation can be our teacher, and education can come in all shapes and forms.

It is often those who are closest to us who teach us the exact lessons we never knew we needed (or wanted) to learn – either directly, like my six year old niece, who in her own words very calmly told my brother she wished he hadn’t found the prescription sunglasses he lost for the umpteenth time because he needed to learn to pay better attention to his personal possessions and the harsher consequences of their non-recovery; or indirectly, like a co-worker, friend or family member who likes to talk a lot forces you to be a better listener, have more patience and/or set boundaries

And whatever “class” you are in, sometimes you must first fail miserably in order to then pass with flying colors, because you can’t learn anything without making a few mistakes, a little trial and error to perfect that which we need to master…. Hopefully you can figure out that the experience itself was the teacher, or have someone around to help glean what you need to learn and grow as a result. The good news is that you will never repeat a class when you’ve truly learned a lesson the hard way, and if you’re lucky, sometimes you can even have a teacher who helps you skip several grades.

Whether you think like Pink Floyd or feel like Lauryn Hill, learning is a lifelong process and everything serves its purpose in the bigger picture for you to graduate at the end of your life with honors.

So this September, be grateful for all those amazing teachers you’ve had both inside the classroom and out. Thank the role models, mentors and instructors who serve as great examples of achievement and inspiration as well as the challenging bosses, employees and clients, the bullies and mean girls, the tough coach, your current or ex-boy/girlfriend/partner/spouse, your pain in the neck big or little brother/sister, anyone who gave you a hard time, and especially those difficult “tests” you endured because they too helped form your character and are all opportunities to make you a better you.

Need to repeat (or stop repeating) a few classes or get a little tutoring to bring you closer to the grade you deserve? Give me a buzz and I’ll be sure you get a gold star or A+ on that project, because you can make your life much closer to a 4.0 than you could ever imagine!

(*Today’s PGG was originally posted on September 6, 2011)

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