Did you know that ninety percent of the world’s ice covers
Antarctica? This ice also represents most of the fresh water in the
world. Yet Antarctica is the driest place on the planet, with an
absolute humidity lower than the Gobi desert.
If you’re into biology, you may know this about the Mayfly — after
hatching, it takes up to three years to grow up, and then spends
only one day as an adult. During that day it mates, lays eggs and
expires. That last day must be absolutely spectacular.
Next time you dust your house, you may be interested to know that
most of the dust particles you are removing are actually tiny bits
of dead skin. Don’t even ask how much dead skin has made its way
into your favorite pillow.
Did you know that the Mona Lisa has no eyebrows?
Or that that 80% of your brain is water? Well, mine anyway.
You’ve heard the expression “having a lark.” Those who are
interested in language might want to know that group of larks is
called an exaltation. A group of owls is called a parliament. A
group of ravens is called a murder. (Edgar Allen Poe would have
understood that one.) A group of rhinos is called a crash, which
also seems to make some sense. But here’s the best of all: a group
of Unicorns is called a blessing.
As interesting as all of these facts are, I doubt any of them is
bound to significantly change your life. The stuff we need to know
in order to live happier, healthier and more meaningful lives does
not usually come from tidbits of knowledge. More often it comes from
people; and especially, people who mean something to us. Let me
For Ross Perot, the kind of knowledge that made the greatest
difference in his life was actually gleaned from his mother. The
American businessman and one-time presidential candidate made
billions of dollars from the technology industry. But his mother,
who raised him before the phrase “computer age” was ever coined,
taught him how to live. She helped shape him into the man he would
Perot remembers the days of America’s Great Depression. “Hoboes”
regularly knocked on their door asking for a little food. It puzzled
young Ross that his house seemed to be singled out on their street.
One day he learned why. On the curb in front of their house someone
had etched a white mark, indicating to fellow travelers that this
house was an “easy mark.” This fact disturbed the boy and he asked
his mother if she wanted him to erase the signal. She told him to
leave it there. It was a lesson in compassion he never forgot.
Some of the most essential life lessons and wisdom young Ross
acquired did not come from a book or a classroom. They were lessons
that came from those people closest to him. Many concerned
themselves with the heart and spirit. They taught him about the
world and the best way to live in it.
Our greatest teachers are usually those who did not volunteer for
the job. They are parents and friends, spouses and children. Much
great wisdom is learned best from the example of those closest to
And the remarkable fact is this: you are a great teacher. You teach
powerful lessons every day of your life. You teach them simply by
the way you live; by the way you respond to the world; and, by the
little decisions you make. I wonder — who’s watching and learning?
— Steve GoodierShare on Facebook