Good advice makes a lasting gift

December 20, 2012 | Posted in: Early Learners, Elementary, High School, Middle Years | with 0 Comments

My great aunt Margaret used to say, “A good cook always cleans up.” The picture in my memory has her standing in her kitchen wearing an apron, a wooden spoon in hand. In that moment, she meant “clean up” in the literal sense – if you dirty the dishes, you’ve got to clean them (which was not something I liked to do after baking a batch of cookies).

It’s a saying my mom repeated to me throughout my childhood, and over the years I’ve thought about those words as they apply not only in the kitchen but also to life’s journey. If you make a mess, you’ve got to clean up afterward – whether it’s at home, in a relationship, at work …

We’ve all got sayings and advice given to us when we were young that stay with us today. With Christmas just around the corner, we’ve been thinking about meaningful presents for our children. Good advice is not something we can wrap up – unless we get creative and make a card or wall hanging – but it’s probably one of the most impactful and long-lasting gifts we can give.

Several months ago, we asked our BOCES’ Communications Service colleagues to share “the best advice I ever got,” and we received some awesome words of wisdom. Below are just some of those gems.

Happy holidays, from our corner of the world to yours.

It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice.

Take the high road… always. You can’t control how people treat you, but you can always control how you respond.

If you have a difficult teacher or friend, it’s good practice for learning how to deal with difficult people . God knows there are lots of them in this world, and we all need to learn to get along with them early on. One of them might be a co-worker or boss someday.

Question authority – but be respectful.

If you aim high, you’ll go high.

Success takes perseverance. Perseverance fueled by passion and hard work.

Trust your intuition and go with your gut.

It’s nice to be pretty, but being smart, funny and kind are better. How you act is way more important in the long run than how you look.

Good, better, best, never let it rest, until your GOOD is BETTER and your BETTER is the BEST.

And from Roald Dahl: “Above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.”


Karen Nerney has been a communications specialist with the Capital Region BOCES Communications Service since 2011. Prior to that, she spent many years as a journalist in the Boston area. She is mom to two teenage daughters and an 8-year-old son, none of whom like to do dishes.

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