Old Habits From High School Stay With Us

By
Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams Realty Mountain Partners

     When I attended Oak Ridge High School back in the Dark Ages, I had an amazing teacher named Mr. Atkinson. He was amazing.  He was not especially popular.  He taught English.  He loved vocabulary.  He taught me to love vocabulary.  Earl Nightingale says that a person's vocabulary is a very good measure able indicator of future success.  Listen to his program,"Lead The Field".  

 

     Mr. Atkinson taught me to look up words in the dictionary that I do not know exactly what they mean.  He said we should always have a dictionary close at hand when you are reading.  When you read a sentence from General Patton's address to his troops like," The bilious bastards who wrote that stuff about individuality for the Saturday Evening Post don't know anything about real battle.", if you don't know what bilious means, you may not get the true meaning of that sentence.  You can tell that bilious is a pejorative word but what, exactly, does it mean?  

 

     When you read a sentence from Brene Brown's new book,"Rising Strong", and you see the word, ersatz, do you know what that word means?  I did not.  Let's see.  Here is the sentence from page fifty one.  "So emotional pornography provides the stimulation, but it is only ersatz emotion."  What does the word ersatz mean?  I am sure you know but for me, grab the dictionary. It means a substitute: a replacement of inferior quality.  WOW!  Does that sentence make more sense when you know what ersatz means?   

 

     Mr. Atkinson taught me to look up words in the dictionary when I don't know exactly what they mean.  This is a good habit that has stayed with me for many years.  I formed another habit on my own a few years later.  You remember in high school, the faculty taught us not to write in textbooks and library books.  That is because they owned the books.  When I got to college, I owned the textbooks.  I wrote in mine.  I learned to buy used textbooks that someone else had already written in.  I always wished I could know what grade the previous owner had made.  Then, I would know which used textbook to buy.  Buy the textbook from a A student, not a C student. Writing in books makes the books better. 

 

     Today, when I find a word that I don't know the exact meaning of, I look it up in the dictionary.  I also write the definition down in the margin of the book.  I do this whether I own the book or it is a library book.  I do this to help out the next guy.  I figure if I don't know what nascent means, the next guy to check out the book probably won't know either. Also, if I read the book again, I won't have to look up nascent again. 

 

     Old habits are hard to break.  Form good habits when you are young.  You won't have to think about it when you are mature.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments (3)

Sheila Anderson
Referral Group Incorporated - East Brunswick, NJ
The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133

Good morning Ron. I think your teacher was onto something and would be very proud of you now.

Nov 09, 2015 11:34 PM
Beth Atalay
Cam Realty and Property Management - Clermont, FL
Cam Realty of Clermont FL

Good morning Ron Climer! It only takes 30 days to form a habit so we can start today to adapt one good one!

Nov 10, 2015 12:04 AM
Beth Bromund
Coldwell Banker Weir Manuel - Rochester, MI
REALTOR (248) 651-3500

Ron Climer, I'm sure your teacher would be thrilled to know he had an impact that stayed with you so long.  He must not have been a nascent teacher. 

Mar 05, 2017 03:08 AM