Cicero, the embodiment of “humanitas”

Some great quotes to live by…..

… so, I’m in a philosophical frame of mind these days and for the rest of 2016, my posts will highlight famous philosophical quotes and the philosophers who said them. This month (October), the focus will be on some of the greatest ancient Roman philosophers whose influence and thinking have transcended the passage of time.

CICERO

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Here are some famous quotes by Cicero. (note how well they apply to our social and political condition today):

“Six mistakes mankind keeps making century after century:
Believing that personal gain is made by crushing others;
Worrying about things that cannot be changed or corrected;
Insisting that a thing is impossible because we cannot accomplish it;
Refusing to set aside trivial preferences;
Neglecting development and refinement of the mind;
Attempting to compel others to believe and live as we do.”

For all you book lovers:

“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.”

Some tongue-in-cheek humor aimed at all you book writers out there (like me):

“Times are bad.  Children no longer obey their parents, and everyone is writing a book.”

And always remember:

“Where there’s life, there’s hope.”

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106 BC to 43 BC) – a Roman politician, lawyer, and orator who was born into a wealthy Roman equestrian family. He represented one of the few in a new generation of men in Rome – to be the first man in his family to become a senator, and gain the highest office of consul. Cicero was best known for preventing the Catiline Conspiracy, as well as his philosophical works and devotion to the Republic. Although he was invited to join the powerful political union formed by Caesar, Crassus, and Pompey, Cicero refused and instead became an opponent of Caesar. Years later, he met his death at the hands of a soldier named Herennius, who had been ordered by Mark Anthony to kill him during the proscriptions of the Second Triumvirate.

One of the greatest Roman orators and prose stylists of his time. Cicero was also a philosopher, politician, lawyer, political theorist and a constitutionalist. He was also famous for introducing neologisms such as: evidentia, humanitas, qualitas, quantitas, and essentia.

READ SOME OF HIS MOST FAMOUS WORKS:

It’s not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game

Here’s a little morale booster to kick start the upcoming week …

“You know what a winner is? A winner is somebody who has given his best effort, who has tried the hardest they possibly can, who has utilized every ounce of energy and strength within them to accomplish something. It doesn’t mean that they accomplished it or failed, it means that they’ve given it their best. That’s a winner.”
― Walter Payton

Leading by Example: Teachers who inspire their students to think

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There are many good teachers who do what they’re hired to do — they teach.  But then there are the teachers who elevate their profession to the next level.  These are the teachers who inspire.  They bring their own experiences and wisdom to the classroom and, rather than telling their students what to do (and how to do it), they teach them how to think.  They teach them to ask questions, and to search for their own answers. They teach them to be present, engaged, and aware. Leading by their own example, these teachers inspire their young charges to go out into the world and pay it forward, by inspiring and empowering others.

These are the teachers who treat their classroom like a garden in the making. They plant the seeds. They nurture the garden, recognizing and appreciating the unique nature of each flower. Then, they stand back and watch with wonder, as the garden takes on a shape and character of its own.

It is this brand of high caliber teachers who we, as adults remember with fondness, respect and profound gratitude… years, and even decades later.

I can count my most inspirational teachers on one hand.  There were five.  These men and women, unbeknownst to them, had a great impact on my life.

And, yes, I am going to name names.

In elementary school (Grade 6):  Philip Ploplis, of Lithuanian descent, had just graduated from Teacher’s College.  We were his very first students and he was our Homeroom teacher.  He treated us as a classroom of individuals and spent considerable one-on-one time with us, in an effort to bring out the best in each student.  He wanted to prepare us for high school and beyond.  He knew our weaknesses and our strengths.  He was one of the few adults who actually cared about what we thought, what we dreamed of doing, and he took great pains to guide us in the right direction, so that our interests could take shape.  Thank you, Mr. Ploplis.

In high school:  Barbara Friand, an ex-nun and free-thinker, was my Humanities teacher.  She taught us to embrace diversity, to open up our minds, and to recognize that there were infinite possibilities.  She taught us hope, respect, and she taught us how to listen — to each other and to ourselves.  Most importantly, she taught us to understand — with complete certainty — that although each of us is different, we are, in fact, all the same.  We are humans. This woman leads my list of five inspirational teachers.  I would have loved to have known her in my adult years.  Oh, the interesting conversations we would have had!  Miss Friand, from the bottom of my heart, I thank you.

In college:  Victor Garaway, a professional  dancer from South Africa, taught us theatre.  At this time in my life, I was actually quite shy and quiet. He was a mercurial teacher who intimidated most students, but not me.  I realized that his Svengali-like method of teaching had one objective:  to dare us to excel and to weed out the ones who didn’t even want to bother.  It is in his class that I finally found my voice.  And I’ve been speaking ever since.  Thank you, Professor Garaway.

In university:  John Hellman, a quiet but passionate intellectual, taught me history.  Specifically, the history of European intellectual thought.  More specifically, he opened my mind (and heart) to the world of 20th century French intellectuals like Jean-Paul Sartre, Emmanuel Mounier, Albert Camus, Simone Weil, and Simone de Beauvoir.  This is the world I feel most comfortable in … a generation of philosophical thinkers who, in turn, have had a major influence on the way I think, on how I view the world.  Merci infiniment, Prof. Hellman.

Finally, in Graduate school:  Linda Ghan, a quiet yet intense writer and author, taught me to write better. In her creative writing class, students dissected their work — amicably.  The objective was to embrace our individual writing styles, but  fine-tune  our skills. She shared her wisdom and knowledge with us and, with her guidance, we learned the important art of self-editing.  It truly is an art.  Clearly, I haven’t mastered it yet.  It’s a work in progress. Thank you, Linda.

These are the teachers who most inspired me. 

Who has inspired you?  Share your stories with us!

On a different note (perhaps not so different, as Barbara Friand would probably say), I came across an interesting website that provides information and classroom materials for teachers to teach their students about important world issues like hunger and peace.  Interested teachers and parents should check out The Hunger Site at:

http://thehungersite.greatergood.com/clickToGive/ths/teacher-resources

It’s Day 3 of my Help Fight Hunger  book promotion. Hope springs eternal.

HFH

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image via theguardian (photo credit: Alamy).

 

 

 

Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

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“Don’t waste your time looking back at what you’ve lost.

Move on.

Life is not meant to be traveled backwards.”

~ Unknown

Some musings from “heatherfromthegrove” …

Remember  the past, but don’t live in it.  Most importantly, say goodbye to regrets.  Regrets fester and will keep you from moving forward.  Savor every moment of the present and look forward to the possibilities that Tomorrow has in store for you.

Follow your bliss. Don’t create imaginary roadblocks for yourself.  Just do it. And love every minute of it.

∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞

Photo Credit: Heather Joan Marinos

All roads travelled lead to Inspiration

“I only write when I am inspired. Fortunately, I am inspired at nine o’clock every morning.”

William Faulkner, Novelist (b.1897 – d.1962)

∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞

If we, as writers, keep waiting for inspiration to strike,  we may well find ourselves in the same predicament as the two tramps, Vladimir and Estragon, in Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot − drowning in immobility.  Neither Faulkner nor Beckett  sat idly, waiting for light bulb moments to magically appear.  No, they wrote, wrote, and wrote some more.  Sure, they may have had an inkling of what to write about, but it was while going about the daily business of writing that the inspiration began to flow − from mind to pen.  It was their perseverance (and, of course, their brilliant writing) which awarded each of them a Nobel Prize in Literature (Faulkner, in 1949 and Beckett, in 1969).

It is true that inspiration may come to us when we least expect it. In a dream. On a train. Or, while enjoying a dinner with family and friends.  Believe it or not, we all have at least twenty-five stories in us. At least!  Think about all the people who have come into our lives  − either to stay or just passing through.  And the events we’ve experienced, the observations we’ve made, as well as all the anecdotes we could tell (humorous, ironic, sad, and sometimes even tragic). 

All the roads we’ve travelled lead to Inspiration. We really don’t have to look much further.  We just need to sit down and write.

So, let’s get on with it.

h.f.t.g.

Image via jcshakespeare.wordpress.com.