Inspired by Abe
“My dream is of a place and a time where America will once again be seen as the last best hope of earth.”
This quote, attributed to Abraham Lincoln, was spoken while the Civil War was raging. His hope of holding our nation together was tested and challenged daily. Today, our country faces divisiveness as bipartisan cooperation seems impossible. How can we make it better?
This quote by Abraham Lincoln is simple, yet powerful. Today, on Memorial Day, when the nation takes time to honor those who have served and are currently serving in the armed forces, we can reflect on the words of wise Mr. Lincoln. I join the many Americans, today and every day, in saying THANK YOU to our men and women of service.
Abraham Lincoln's mother died when he was only nine years old. It is said she died of milk disease (caused by drinking milk or eating meat from a cow that had eaten toxic white snakeroot). Other accounts say she died from consumption, tuberculosis. His father remarried a year later to Sarah Bush who became a beloved stepmother to Abe. She adored him and considered him, according to her biography by the National Parks Service, "A model child who was always honest, witty, and diligent for knowledge." It doesn’t surprise me that they shared a mutual love for each other.
In honor of National Log Cabin Day, my mind immediately transports me to Kentucky and early humble home of our 16th president. The Lincoln family lived in a one-room log cabin on Knob Creek Farm in rural Kentucky from the time Lincoln was two and a half until he was almost eight years old. The time he spent on this 30-acre farm was considered some of his most formative years. According to the National Park Service, “It was also at Knob Creek that Abraham first saw African - Americans being taken south along the Bardstown - Green River Turnpike, part of the old Cumberland Road, to be sold as slaves.” We know that his life work was likely influenced by what he experienced living here.
Did you know that In many public opinion polls Abraham Lincoln usually ranks in the top three among favorite presidents. One of the reason I believe he hits this mark is because of his astute wisdom. He admitted that he was slow to make decisions and maybe because of his careful look at all sides of an issue was he able to get it right so many times. This quote exemplifies that thoughtful process of arriving at a conclusion.
Inspired by Abe . take 15 1/27/19
This quote reminds of my students and how busy they are this time of year memorizing the Gettysburg Address. Yes, it is possible for 25 eight and nine-years-olds to recite Lincoln’s famous speech with articulation, intonation and projection (not to mention using eye contact the whole way through). We take a close read at the words so I know they understand what they are saying. The culmination is when they have memorized the address from beginning to end we have a birthday party for our 16th president and celebrate. We all have a future ahead waiting at the next sunrise. I want my young charges to know they have so many sunrises waiting for them to go out and be the best they can be.
I just finished reading The Library Book by Susan Orlean, and it left me thinking about how valuable books are and how lucky we are as Americans to have free access to them. Orlean’s story starts with her reminiscing about trips with her mother to their neighborhood library. I have similar memories, and as a teacher, I get the privilege of going to the library often and hearing a librarian read stories aloud. It is well documented that Abraham Lincoln loved to read - he was self-taught! So, maybe there’s a message here. We need to get out and visit a library. I’m going to make a point to stop by mine - I can walk to it!
Inspired by Abe . take 16 . 2/11/19
Two hundred and ten years ago a great man was born in a log cabin in Hardin County, Kentucky. From humble beginnings, Abraham Lincoln went on to become the 16th president of the United States. He preserved the Union during the U.S. Civil War and brought about the emancipation of slaves. This is only the essence of the man who saved our country at a discordant time in history.
I’m celebrating his birthday all week long. My students are reciting the entire Gettysburg Address on Tuesday and we are eating Abe Lincoln cookies and remembering a man who made an impressive stamp on U.S. history.
If you want to get to know the man better, I recommend reading “Abraham Lincoln: A Presidental Life” by James McPherson, “Team of Rivals” by Doris Kerns Goodwin, or the thrilling “Killing Lincoln” by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard.
Inspired by Abe . take 14 . 1/17/19
Isn’t this a parent’s wish: a child will strive to achieve a goal because they don’t want to disappoint you for all your help in getting there? Call it cruel, but I think a little guilt goes a long way. I was weened on heavy doses of the stuff and I’m better off for it. I do believe, however, that one can be pushed to try to achieve something they are just not cut out for. As a tenured teacher, I have come across parents who expect their children to perform to a predetermined level regardless if they are capable of it. We have to set realistic expectations for our children and ourselves and realize that achieving goals requires support along the way.
Inspired by Abe . take 13 . 12/31/18
This week’s quote by Abraham Lincoln reflects a personal goal I have for the New Year - to challenge myself to open my mind to things I’m not familiar with and to achieve something I never thought I could. I started this blog in October after thinking about it for several years. Now I know that with hard work and perseverance results can happen. I can’t wait to see where it takes me. My wish for all of you is to find happiness, peace and personal fulfillment in all you do. Happy New Year!
Inspired by Abe . take 12 . posted on 12/10/18
This quote is a holiday party primer. It is 100% against the subscription of “speak your mind” and “be yourself”. I think what Abe is saying is that sometimes you need to bite your tongue, take a deep breath and lead with a compliment. But by doing this are we going against our beliefs and values - yes, but guess what, sometimes it is the shorter, safer road to take. Besides, it the holiday season - be nice.
This week’s inspiration is not a quote from our Civil War President but more of a history lesson on how Christmas was celebrated, or rather not celebrated during wartime. Lincoln saw Christmas as any other work day. He never put up a Christmas tree nor sent a Christmas card. He would visit troops in the hospital or bring gifts of food and clothing on Christmas Day.
This is from The Christmas Legend of Abraham Lincoln by Jeff Westover, “Christmas of 1863 saw the Union effort bearing down hard on the South with a blockade of goods. For months on end supplies were thin in the South as Lincoln strategized to squeeze the energy from the Confederate effort. He commissioned artist Thomas Nast to draw a picture of Santa Claus visiting Union Troops in the January 3, 1863 edition of the widely read Harper’s Weekly. The scarcity of goods and the high prices of store bought items caused Southern mothers to explain to their children that not even Santa Claus could break the Union blockade.
Lincoln instructed Nast to show Santa with Union troops as much as possible and the enduring images from 1863 and 1864 publications are largely credited with defining the image of the modern Santa Claus. Their affect was so profound that Lincoln one time claimed Santa was ‘the best recruiting sergeant the North ever had’.”
Inspired by Abe - take 10 posted on 12/3/18
Inspired by Abe . take 9 . posted on 11/26/18
I think this quote is fitting right after celebrating Thanksgiving. It is wonderful to have kids home, visit relatives and celebrate for several days over a long weekend. However, no matter how much we anticipate these reunions, there is still opportunity for tension. So, Abe is saying that if your kids fought over the flat iron, or your relative made a cheeky remark about your gravy, its best to shrug it off because in the end we still love each other.
Inspired by Abe . take 8 . posted on 11/19/19
This week’s inspiration from our 16th President is not a quote, but rather an act that he had the courage to declare that Thanksgiving would become a National Holiday. Sarah Hale, a courageous woman, who worked most of her life trying to bring the nation together during a trying time was finally successful with our dear Abe. She had written to five Presidents about the establishment of Thanksgiving as a day of remembrance and finally managed to convince President Abraham Lincoln that a national day of thanks would help to unify the country once the Civil War ended. Her tireless efforts were finally realized, and we, as Americans, owe our gratitude to Sarah Hale and Abraham Lincoln for the opportunity to gather with friends and family, eat traditional and new dishes, treasure the traditions that we all know and love, and to give THANKS for all our blessings every year on Thanksgiving Day..
Happy Thanksgiving to all my readers.
Inspired by Abe . take 7. posted on 11/12/18
Inspired by Abe . take 6 . posted on 11/5/18
This quote is fitting as we head into the mid-term elections on Tuesday. Let’s hope the men and women who are elected can stand by the oath they will take to support the law and maintain the public’s trust.
Inspired by Abe . take 5 . posted on 10/29/18
This quote by Abraham Lincoln is arguably one of his most famous. He said it in his second Inaugural address. It became the mission statement of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. The quote has a sad and somber tone the theme of his speech was the horrors of slavery and the wounds our nation suffered from fighting a civil war. Today, we can apply this quote to our duty as citizens of the United States to always honor those who work to keep our country as one, free nation.
Inspired by Abe . take 4 . posted on 10/22/18
I can relate to this week’s quote so well because it is the foundation of what a teacher’s job is all about. I feel a profound sense of responsibility as a teacher to help my students become well-rounded. This means aside from mastering the curriculum they need to know what it means to be a good citizen. To be a good citizen they need to practice fair sportsmanship, have decent manners, not cheat, be honest and respect others for their differences and opinions. The list goes on.
Parents also have this task. It’s not always easy. We are suppose to lead by example and sometimes we fail. But to prepare our children to be honest, fair, respectful citizens and future leaders we can’t give up.
Inspired by Abe, take 2 . posted 10.8.18
How often are we asked to swallow our pride? It’s not easy, but sometimes it avoids a lot of headaches. On issues that aren’t shaking the core of the Earth, I say give a nod and walk away. In this trying political atmosphere I think we can benefit by taking a deep breath, try to respect each other’s view, and carry on with our own lives. We have important work to do, concentrate on the positive.
I love this quote about personal responsibility and the lesson it teaches that we cannot rely on our predecessors to show who we really are or what we can do. Our path to personal success cannot be cushioned by the good deeds or accomplishments of others. It must be our own doing, which of course, no matter how hard, offers the greatest reward. Is my mother high-fiving me right now from heaven?
Inspired by Abe, take 3 . posted 10/15/18
This week’s quote is simple but the message is strong. In my classroom I try to influence young minds to use good manners. We have something called “Manners Monday”. It’s an opportunity for me to go beyond the books and teach my students the little things that will get them far in life. Every Monday we touch on a new manner and we already have discussed the importance of giving compliments. I show students how easy it is to give a compliment, and how impacting it can be if you are on the receiving end.
I use the example of a new haircut. We talk about what is okay and not okay to say to someone who shows up to school with newly shorn hair. First of all, I tell them that if they are going to say anything, it should complimentary. For example, instead of saying, “You got a haircut,” which is 1) obvious, and 2) not necessarily complimentary because many kids, especially boys don’t like their hair right after it’s cut, the polite thing to say is, “Wow, your hair looks great today,” or “I want my next haircut to look just like that.”
Passing on a compliment can be contagious - I promise, it will get back to you.