An essential quote for parents and teachers who are struggling with discipline

One of my lifelong ambitions is to make it into Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations or the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations. In an effort to assist the editors of that admirable tome, I maintain a list of possible entries.

Today I have a new one to add to my list. This is something that I say to parents and teachers whenever I see them threatening impossible consequences or failing to follow through on consequences.

"A rule without a consequence is merely a suggestion."

Not bad. Right?

It will be added to the list of 16 other quotes (some identified by me but many chosen by readers and (in two cases) Reader's Digest) that Bartlett's or Oxford editors may want to consider.

You don't happen to know an editor at Bartlett's or Oxford. Do you?

  1. Brevity is the sou
  2. Lost potential is difficult to measure and convenient to ignore.
  3. I wrote term papers as a means of flirting with girls.
  4. In my most treasured friendships, there is little room for hurt feelings.
  5. Ambiguity in the possible death of a character is an act of cowardice on the writer’s part.
  6. I spend most of my evenings struggling to stay alive. 
  7. Don’t let anyone fool you.  Death is hardest on the dead.
  8. Passive-aggressive, indirect, and anonymous are three of my least favorite qualities in any form of communication.
  9. Nothing convinces me about the stupidity of human beings more than driving in the vicinity of a mall on a Saturday.
  10. I am more impressed with the quality of a person’s questions than with the quality of their answers.
  11. It's all about me, but you’re welcome to occupy space.
  12. Spock said that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, but what if the many are all incredibly stupid?
  13. You can determine the effectiveness of a teacher by the frequency by which you can enter the classroom and speak to the teacher without grinding learning to a halt.
  14. If you are not delegating enough, you are not lazy enough.
  15. Old age is the last dirty trick.
  16. The story has always existed. You simply need to find it.

Five favorite quotes

A reader asked me if there were any quotations that served as a source of inspiration for me. While I’m not entirely sure how much inspiration I derive from them, I maintain a list of favorite quotations on my desktop that I add to from time to time.

The following have been rated as my five favorite for a very long time: 

Tears are not arguments. -Machado de Assis

Don't say you don't have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein. -H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

The problem is not that there are problems. The problem is expecting otherwise and thinking that having problems is a problem. -Theodore Rubin

Irreverence is the champion of liberty and its only sure defense. -Mark Twain

Sometimes I think we're alone in the universe, and sometimes I think we're not. In either case, the idea is quite staggering. -Arthur C. Clarke