Jumping to Conclusions

Dear Reader:

Friday night I watched the AARP (PBS) Great Performances Annual Awards. (It was the first time this feature film achievement award show has been televised.) The wonderful actress, Helen Mirren, was being honored with a lifetime achievement award.

From the start of this awards show the whole atmosphere was different. Nobody looked bored or disgruntled…or waiting for the cameras to go off to run to the bathroom or get refreshments. There was genuine appreciation for the winners of the different categories for the 17th annual movies for grown-up awards.

All the movies up for awards were “grown-up” movies with life lessons embedded in them…stories of life situations experienced and seen through the eyes of people who have experienced life and recognize the mountains and valleys within.

Helen Mirren, was obviously touched by this award for her versatile display of talents ranging from Shakespearean to comedy to dramas to tragedies. The 72 year old actress has had 50 years of movie-making and yet her delight in this recognition by AARP and Great Performances was genuinely sweet and touching. She did laughingly admit that getting a “lifetime achievement” award felt a little funny…as if it might be a subtle hint to hang it up now. And yet she felt like she is just coming into her own at the age she is.

I felt like I could relate to her comments. I, too, feel like I am just now ‘catching on’ to what this wonderful ‘game’ called life is all about and feeling more comfortable in it than ever before. Living life does take a lifetime of experiences to show us the way.

 

In 2005 Carol Poole and I were honored with a Life Time Achievement Award from the South Carolina Social Studies Council. I remember thinking the same thing as Helen Mirren…Does this mean it is time to hang up all the workshops and traveling we have done for so long.

It was not.

And when I think back now to 2005 when we received this award…my life was only, in certain ways, beginning. I was three years away from being diagnosed with breast cancer, I was teaching adjunct classes at two local colleges and thought my life would follow this path to the end.

I should have known better…the best was yet to be…my children’s marriages and finding their loves, five grandchildren didn’t exist…so many wonderful things were still waiting in the wings of the future.

Aren’t we humans bad at jumping to conclusions about ourselves and others without realizing that life is not predictable…and that is what makes it so exciting, so challenging, and never boring.

I love this simple little anecdote which teaches this lesson in such a sweet way.

Two Apples


A lovely little girl was holding two apples with both hands. Her mom came in and softly asked her little daughter with a smile: “My sweetie, could you give your mom one of your two apples?”

The girl looked up at her mom for some seconds, then she suddenly took a quick bite out of one apple, and then quickly took another bite out of the other. The mom felt the smile on her face freeze. She tried hard not to reveal her disappointment.

Then the little girl handed one of her bitten apples to her mom, and said: “Mommy, here you are. This is the sweeter one.”

No matter who you are, how experienced you are, and how knowledgeable you think you are, always delay judgment. Give others the privilege to explain themselves. What you see may not be the reality. Never conclude for others.

So until tomorrow…Every day of our life when we wake up and have a chance to do something nice for someone else is a ‘Life Achievement Award Day.”

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

I was out first thing Saturday morning to water while it was still cool (Am I really talking about watering in February before it gets too hot?)and at first I thought it was snowing…the petals from the blossoms on the Wild Plum were falling down with each breeze. It was beautiful…maybe that is the best kind of “snowfall” in the south.

The purple trailing anemone had decided to pop up in different places from yesterday…but it is acclimating quite well.

About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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3 Responses to Jumping to Conclusions

  1. bcparkison says:

    Nice thoughts here Miss Becky.
    The blossoms don’t last long and are just as pretty falling .

    Like

  2. The story of the two apples was just beautiful, and touched my soul. I too had already jumped to conclusions, so I have some growing up to do at 66. I agree. It seems in retirement that I am just now ready to experience everything I put on hold to raise children and teach. Lovely post, Becky. Thank you.

    Like

    • Becky Dingle says:

      I agree…I think retirement is like a re-birth…a renewal of energy where we go out to play with no guilt feelings of projects left to do. A beautiful and amazing time…a gift at the end of a long working career.

      Like

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