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Being On Purpose

Yesterday, I had the honor and privilege of presenting to a group of teachers in their beginning-of-year in-service training. I spoke on the importance of being on-purpose teachers so that their students could have them as exemplars, thereby becoming on-purpose students. Following are a few of the points I made, using quotations by some prominent people.


Everything one does demonstrates whether he or she is “on purpose” or “off purpose.” There is no in between. Once your purpose is determined, everything you do is either directed toward that goal (you are on purpose) or is a diversion from it (you are off purpose). The on-purpose teacher organizes and prioritizes needs, wants, and desires around his or her chief purpose; sets goals; and works toward them.

“The man without a purpose is like a ship without a rudder–a waif, a nothing, a no man. Have a purpose in life, and, having it, throw such strength of mind and muscle into your work as God has given you.” (Thomas Carlyle)

“Effectiveness is doing the right things; efficiency is doing those things right.” (Peter Drucker)

“You can’t always control circumstances. However, you can always control your attitude, approach, and response. Your options are to complain or to look ahead and figure out how to make the situation better.” (Tony Dungy)

“We shall build good ships here; at a profit if we can, at a loss if we must, but always good ships.” (Motto, Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Co.)

May each of us determine our God-given purpose and always be on purpose in everything we do.

Copyright (c) 2018, Dennis L. Peterson

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