Mr. Nixon's Words of Wisdom

Mr. Nixon's Words of Wisdom

MAKING SENSE OF MIDDLE SCHOOL--Mr. Nixon taught 7th and 8th graders for thirteen years in the Churchville-Chili School District, a suburb of Rochester, NY. During that time, he wrote and delivered twice-weekly messages to the school community aimed at helping students make sense of the middle school experience. Topics included dealing with change, being a good friend, handling conflict and building self worth. With the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, Mr. Nixon has stepped forward to bring helpful new counsel to our middle school students and to make available a large library of previous "Words of Wisdom."

Episodes

October 26, 2021 1 min
My granddaughter is a middle schooler having just entered eighth-grade. She is very athletic and focused her talents on dance for many years, but last year she discovered volleyball. I was thrilled personally because I can now go and watch her play. But it also started me thinking about the importance of team sports for our young people. In volleyball , you need someone to dig out the opponents’ serves, a setter to put the ball...
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I read a very interesting and moving article in Saturday’s Democrat and Chronicle. It was on the front page and told the story of a man and a woman, he 51, she 48, who had not had any contact in nearly 34 years. Their last meeting was a near tragic one, in the rain on Chestnut Ridge Road in Chili. The young man, Peter Cafarelli was 17, and had borrowed the family car to go to the Greece Hockey rink. Anita LaRoque, 14 at the tim...
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August 20, 2020 1 min
From time to time I think about what we’re doing here at Churchville-Chili Junior High School, no not just seeing our buddies, but learning how to live. Pablo Picasso said it well, “I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.”

Learning is so much about taking chances, risking looking dumb in front of your friends, family or strangers. Cynthia Heimel, in her "Lower Manhattan Survival Tact...
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August 20, 2020 2 min
The inauguration of President Obama has been dominating news coverage and rightfully so. It represents an historic milestone for our country. I was watching coverage of the morning after prayer service. The first woman to ever give the sermon at that event, the Reverend Sharon Jackson, spoke about a Cherokee story, which I thought I would share with you. It goes like this.
A young man is confiding in his Grandfather that he some...
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August 20, 2020 1 min
For those of you feeling hopeless today, I’m going to read a short poem. I don’t know who wrote it, but I like the message.

It was just a tiny speck of light
almost swallowed by the night
it had almost given up the fight
the darkness was all it could see

In the distance suddenly it seemed
was a sight the light could not have dreamed
another speck sparked and glowed and gleamed
the light thought "it's just like me."

So the tiny ...
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August 20, 2020 2 min
As middle school students you are beginning the most important battle of your life, a battle that will literally last for the rest of your life. You should not expect to fight the battle perfectly, but you need to spot when you’re off the trail and get back on. I am talking about the battle for control of your value.
First, let me tell each of you that you are of tremendous value. You have your own set of skills. You can love ot...
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August 20, 2020 1 min
The last week or two, with their heavy rains and warmer breezes have truly reminded us that winter is gone and spring is gaining on us every day. I thought it would be nice to see what people have said over the years about the magic of Spring.

Thomas Tusser wrote the now immortal words in 1557:

Sweet April showers
Do spring May flowers.

In 1852, Alfred, Lord Tennyson wrote:

In the spring a young man's fancy lightly turns to thoug...
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August 20, 2020 1 min
Many of us are afraid of change. We assume that even if things aren’t exactly perfect now, they can always get worse. Remy Charlip wrote a children’s book called, “Fortunately.” Here’s how it starts:
“Fortunately, Ned was invited to a surprise party.
Unfortunately, the party was a thousand miles away.
Fortunately, a friend loaned Ned an airplane.
Unfortunately, the motor exploded.
Fortunately, there was a parachute in the airplan...
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August 20, 2020 1 min
March is Women’s History Month in the United States. The celebration was begun with the National Women’s History Project in 1980. This year 14 outstanding American women are being honored for their contribution to this country and the world.

I think back to 1972, when a woman named Helen Reddy recorded a song that became an anthem for the women’s movement. It was called simply, “I am Woman.” At the time, I remember thinking, “W...
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August 20, 2020 1 min
One of the most popular words in education and in psychology is self-esteem. Sometimes I hesitate to use it because it is used so often. But, the truth is that self esteem is the most important goal we can have for ourselves, our friends and our family members. Lots of good things happen if we are feeling good about ourselves. The opposite is also true. We can send waves of destruction based on our own negative self perception...
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August 20, 2020 1 min
I remember when I was the age of my students, my father’s parents came to live with us for a period of time. I remember asking my grandfather how he was doing. He used to say to me, “I’ve got my health and when you’ve got your health you’ve got just about everything.”
It’s funny. Now I know what he meant. As you get older the number of things that can go wrong increases and the importance of being healthy gets larger every day.
W...
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August 20, 2020 1 min
I have had many students ask me the same question over the years: “Why do we have to take a foreign language?” Said a different way, they ask, “Why doesn’t everyone just learn English?” My answer is always the same: “Je ne comprends pas,” or, “no comprendo,” or “Ich verstehe nicht.” In other words, I don’t understand you, and if you don’t understand me, we’re going nowhere.

This is foreign language week at Churchville-Chili Jun...
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May 14, 2020 1 min
I feel very fortunate to speak with you twice a week and to share some of the values that I consider to be important to living a happy life. Yesterday, I heard a story that moved me deeply. It was written by Mary Ann Bird from her memoir, “The Whisper Test.” It was about her experience as a little girl. She was born with a cleft palate that affected her upper lip and the roof of her mouth. Her family was loving and supportive, ...
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May 4, 2020 1 min
Yesterday was Memorial Day in the United States. It’s the day when we remember, honor and thank the service men and women who have given their lives to preserve our way of life. Like many, I went to a Memorial Day Parade and watched as a sample of Americana walked by in front of me and the rest of the onlookers. There were bands from fire companies, high schools, towns and special musical organizations. There was town equipment...
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May 4, 2020 1 min
The first quarter of the school year is history. No efforts of yours can change the results. If you did well, you can take a moment to reflect on a job well done. If you’re like some of my students, you’ll come around to see me today and say, “What can I do for extra credit?” Sorry, that book is closed.

Here’s the good news—you have a second chance, second quarter. That’s a nice thing about life. You almost always have a secon...
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May 4, 2020 2 min
I want to take a couple of minutes this morning to talk about what I’ve learned by running for Monroe County Legislature these past 9 months. For those of you who don’t know, I ran in the 10th district of Pittsford and East Rochester, the area where I live. I didn’t win. I lost by 9% points to my opponent, a 9 year veteran and majority leader.

It was an amazing experience. I met thousands of people as I went door to door in my d...
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May 4, 2020 2 min
Happy New Year and welcome back to Churchville-Chili Junior High School! The big question is how many times will you write the date as 2005 before you get used to it being a new year? I hate to say it, but when I dated this message, I wrote 2005. Oh well.

The beginning of the New Year is a traditional time to make New Year’s Resolutions. The hardest thing about Resolutions is that most of them, if not carefully selected, go by t...
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May 4, 2020 1 min
Today is the first day of February which means it’s the first day of Black History Month. It began in 1976 to commemorate the achievements of African-Americans down through history, but it also provides a door which can open between the races, to begin the dialogue on what unites all of us and what provides our unique heritages.
When it comes to race relations, it has been said that, “We don’t know what we don’t know.” In other wo...
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May 4, 2020 2 min
Thursday is Thanksgiving, which I must say is one of my favorite holidays. There isn’t the pressure to buy the perfect present that there is for some other holidays. Really, all I have to do is show up for dinner and behave myself with my wife’s relatives. That’s not the reason I like Thanksgiving. I like it because it forces me to take a step back and review the many blessings I have to be thankful for.
Let me share a few of th...
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May 4, 2020 2 min
Last Friday I talked about the historic scene that took place in Grant Park, Chicago the previous Tuesday night. If you had been alive, and in attendance at the Palace of Versailles on November 11th, 1918, you would have been a part of another historic moment. Leaders from around the world gathered outside of Paris to sign the armistice that ended the deadliest war in the history of the world. Literally millions of soldiers died...
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