I once asked Paul Miller, a 2011 inductee in the National Teachers Hall of Fame and featured this week on NPR, what he viewed as his secret(s) to a long, healthy and happy life. Here are some of the words of wisdom he shared that if we live by can make this world a better place… Paul certainly has!
- Treat everyone with respect: Paul not only taught but tutored students from all walks of life; for more than 75 years spanning the educational cycle from kindergarten through college, he taught math at public and religious (Jewish and Christian) schools, Universities (Johns Hopkins, University of Maryland, Towson University, Coppin State). In all, he taught at more than 25 different schools, displaying respect for his students.
- Love what you do: Paul loved to teach and even after he suffered a heart attack, the first thing he asked his doctor was when would he be able to go back to teaching.
- Enjoy being around younger people: Paul especially loved teaching young students and found elementary through high school to be the most challenging yet most rewarding. Young people have energy and an optimism that all too often recedes with age.
- Don’t hold a grudge: If Paul had a hard day at school, he would not let it get to him and move on the next day, often forgetting that anything happened the prior day.
- Keep your mind active: Paul always did crossword puzzles and solving math problems. Nearing 101, he is still adept at answering square root problems!
- Don’t take yourself too seriously: Paul continues to laugh easily and often, even when it is at his own expense.
- Maintain a spiritual connection: Believing in a higher power can be comforting and help to reduce stress during life’s most difficult times.