Words of wisdom

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Paula Buenger


I'm a collector of quotes, as those who know me well can attest. I guess it's my way of seeking wisdom in bite-sized nuggets.

A new favorite of mine, that speaks to me pretty clearly, comes from Mary Anne Radmacher:

"Courage does not always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, 'I will try again tomorrow.'"

It's a phrase that echoes through my mind as I face challenges big and small. And, it's a phrase that reminds us that sometimes the victory comes in the lessons learned along the way.

And, it's handy when reminding my impatient son that not being good at something right away doesn't mean you should give up.

After all, after a weekend spent watching Oakmont get the best of the world's best golfers, Drew got a lesson in perserverance. And, he saw that sometimes the best in the world can't conquer everything.

The quote also went through my mind as I read a news story on the Associate Press wire. It was about a 73-year-old man in India who failed with 10th grade high school exams for the 39th time last week. He vowed to try again next year, in hopes that an education would improve his job and marriage chances.

According to the report, Shivcharan Jatav, a farmer from the desert state of Rajasthan in western India, had no formal education as a child. He has been trying to pass the exams since 1969, when an army recruiter told him it would improve his chances of being accepted into the military.

He passed only one subject - the ancient language of Sanskrit - and said he scored just 103 out of a total of 600 in the examinations.

Even though he is too old to join the military, he has kept at it, hoping to become a more eligible bachelor.

"I could not get married as the girls told my family members that I was not properly educated. It's my fate that deprived me of education and a married life," he said.

Still, he has no regrets. "I am a happy and contented person."

Courage. And a will to try again tomorrow. Shivcharan Jatav has it in spades.

"Do not go gentle into that good night,

Old age should burn and rave at close of day;

Rage, rage against the dying of the light."

The words of Dylan Thomas come to mind as I read another offering from the Associated Press.

The Young at Heart Chorus of Northhamptom, Mass., has it's own way of ensuring it's members, ages 73 to 92, don't go gentle into that good night.

Songs by the likes of Radiohead, OutKast and Nirvana take on a whole new dimension when performed by the 23 members of the group.

They've not gained acclaim at home in the U.S., but since its inception in 1982, they've performed from Australia to London, serenaded the king and queen of Norway and have been documented in a highly acclaimed film for British television. Their first album, tentatively titled "Rockin' at Heaven's Door," is in the works.

Those who've seen them in concert are affected in ways they never dreamed of.

"They managed to speak to something that's sort of taboo in our society, which is aging and death. And they make light of it and make us realize that we're all mortal - that is not something we should shun but embrace," said a college student of their concerts.

They truly are not going gentle.

"Golf is a four-letter word."

When someone like Greg Norman utters those words, you know you've found a sport that can bring even the most talented to his knees.

That's why this week's U.S. Open was such a learning experience for my son Drew He's grown frustrated by his inability to master the game.

It was great for him to see that even the masters of the game haven't mastered the game.

And that's why we love it.