As we say good-bye to one year and welcome another, it’s a time for reflection. Several holiday greeting cards included memorable words of wisdom for New Year resolutions. If you are lucky enough to be on Bill Kenney’s holiday mailing list (he’s a longtime San Mateo resident) you received a large envelope in December with numerous wise and inspirational thoughts. Here are a few to consider:
“To get profit without risk, experience without danger, and reward without work, is as impossible as it is to live without being born.” — Harry Truman.
“If you are patient in one moment of anger, you will escape a hundred days of sorrow.” — Chinese proverb.
“If you desire many things, many things will seem few.” — Benjamin Franklin.
“The chains of habit are too weak to be felt until they are too strong to be broken.” — Samuel Johnson.
“The distance is nothing. It is only the first step that is difficult.” — Marie de Vichy-Chamrond.
One of my favorites was from a friend with eight children and twice as many grandchildren. To distinguish among the siblings and their offspring each family is dressed in a specific color. Here’s the quotation which accompanied the multi-colored family photo:
“Your children are not your children
They are sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you.
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls.
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you
Cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
“You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth ...
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness.
For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.”
— Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet.
Very sad news about the passing of Ernestine Mazzola, one of San Mateo’s outstanding teachers. She taught fifth grade at Fiesta Gardens in the San Mateo school district for many years. She was an active member of the teacher’s union at both the local and state level and was respected by administrators, parents, and students, as well as her colleagues. She was named teacher of the year in San Mateo county and nominated for California teacher of the year. We talked across the aisle, so to speak, when I served on the elementary board and I often turned to her for advice. She always told it like it was and her primary interest was always the students. When many teachers and principals in the district did not like the changes a new and forceful superintendent, Dave Thomas, was making to improve educational standards, Ernestine Mazzola knew he was on the right track and wasn’t afraid to say so. She will be missed but remembered by the many students who were lucky enough to be in her classroom.
Sue Lempert is the former mayor of San Mateo. Her column runs every Monday. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.