First, as I was fighting COVID19, “THANK YOU” to all the folks who sent me so many loving and supportive messages.  COVID19 is no joke!  So, again, THANK YOU.  Your love and support really helped. 

I am so glad August 2021 is over.  Reminds me how blessed we are to have so many Augusts that we can have one or two bad Augusts. 

Why was August 2021 so bad?

Since having COVID19, I had a tough time recovering.  Not as bad as other friends, but it has been rough.

USA leaving Afghanistan
I agree with leaving Afghanistan.  Let that be clear.  However, how the departure was handled reminded me of an important lesson:  we overestimate the result and underestimate the process

  • For the USA to leave hundreds of people behind in Afghanistan …
  • For the USA to leave MILLIONS OF DOLLARS (if not BILLIONS) of military equipment …
  • For the USA to leave dogs behind …
  • For the USA to have thirteen service members (one is an ALUM from the high school I currently teach at) killed and countless others injured…
  • and possibly more negatives we do not know about and to come …

We tend to overestimate the result and underestimate the process.  What happened with the departure is a great example of overestimating the result and underestimating the process. 

Missing the start of the school year
This is my 33rd year teaching high school music.  To miss the first week-and-a-half of school was sad.  The energy at the beginning of the school year is WONDERFUL.  Then, to constantly feel like you are catching up is miserable.  The positive though was how great my colleagues were during my absence.  The choir director made lesson plans.  Received nice messages of support.  My band students did a great job attempting to keep the band moving forward in my absence.  LOVE THEM!   

Forest Fires
The fires in Northern California have really affected several family members and friends.  As of September 2, 2021 – I have not heard of any family members and friends losing their home / cabin.  I am sad to see folks losing homes.  The firefighters are HEROES!!  Then, there is the poor air quality that has led to cancelling events.  Just a bad deal overall.  

So, yes … the month of August 2021 is over and I thank God to have made it to September 2021. 

When I look at August 2021, one (of many) word comes to mind:  perseverance. 

I love the definition of perseverance:  persistence in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success

Walter Elliot (1888-1958) a Scottish politician who was a Member of the Parliament.  He has a wonderful quote about perseverance:  “Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after the other.”  Isn’t that the case?  In context, August 2021 was a short “race.”  One month out of the entire year!  I have had fifty-five Augusts!  I am sure I have had some tough Augusts.  It is one month / one-August-out-of-FITY-FIVE Augusts (hoping for many more).  Know that life is a marathon, not a short race. 

Abigail Adams, the wife of John Adams / American First Lady (1797-1801) gives us, “great difficulties may be surmounted by patience and perseverance.”  As a high school music teacher, there has been a wide variety of difficulties.  I have had students and parents threaten my life / my career.  I have had students (current / past students (yep … a stalker or two) who are battling “demons.”  Students not being able to play their music.  One way to handle a job’s difficulties is to realize that difficulties are a part of every job and every life.  No one is going through life without difficulties.  When we realize and accept life is difficult, we can become more patient and we can  persevere.  Why?  Because, difficulties are finite.  Difficulties will NOT last forever.  However, by chance if they do last forever, you are the one who has the responsibility to have that “difficulty” come to an end.  You have the power to end the “difficulty.” 

Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) – an English author.  About perseverance, he says, “Great works are performed not by strength but by perseverance.”  As a musician / conductor, what comes to mind is a composer.  Composers create great works.  The “strength” of a composer is the ability to have the self-discipline to make the great work.  From time-to-time, a composer will need to persevere through the “composing blocks” he or she will have.  

The next time you face adversity … persevere.  DON’T QUIT.  By persevering, you will be happier.  You will get stronger.  You will gain more confidence in yourself.   

Disclaimer:  NOT EVERY TIME.  By persevering, I can not guarantee you will ALWAYS be happier or stronger.  When you quit, I can guarantee you missed an opportunity to increase your level of perseverance.  Don’t miss that opportunity.