EJ Photo/Travis Charlson
The other day I was trying to put a positive thought on our white board for a couple of meetings that we had scheduled for the following morning. We’ve made a concentrated effort to minimize negativity in these settings, and try to start by having an inspirational quote written on the wall to motivate hard work and a positive climate.
I was struggling that day, because I couldn’t figure out a way to say what I wanted to say without being negative. Sometimes it’s really hard to do, especially if an action or behavior that you are trying to correct is specifically that way. Eventually, I figured out a short quote to sum up the message I wanted to convey.
“Be a Jane.”
Many of you will remember the old Dick and Jane books used in schools to educate America’s youth on reading skills, life skills, and general ethics. I found an online version of one of these books, and had forgotten how simple and repetitive they were.
Dick said, “Look, look. Look up. Look up, up, up.”
Jane said “Run, run. Run, Dick, run. Run and see.”
The stories of Dick and Jane, their baby sister Sally, their dog Spot, and their Mother and Father were from a different time, but many of their messages would be good to teach our children today. In the stories, Dick and Jane usually did the right things, had some fun, and lived a simple life.
“Be a Jane,” means to do the right thing, try and have fun, but it would be impossible to suggest that anyone could really just lead a simple life anymore. The real point of “Being a Jane” is to try and avoid being the opposite. It is the positive way of saying not to be her counterpart in those books.
From my experiences, things go better, more gets accomplished, and folks are generally happier when people are being Janes, instead of the alternative. Sometimes it’s hard, even unnatural, to react to certain situations with a positive attitude. It takes patience, calmness, and sometimes hard work. But it’s worth it in the end.
“Be a Jane.”