Mr. Limbaugh’s Advice to High School Seniors,
Based on Mr. Limbaugh’s Life
“Do Your Job!” My oldest son will tell you he still hears that in his sleep every night. Why? His High School football coach said that every day. Mom did her job by raising three kids and caring for her invalid father after Dad died. So my first word of advice to you is “Do Your Job!”
For me, “Do Your Job!” was ingrained into my brain by my late father, who passed away when I was 12 years old. He was always helping our neighbors, from weeding an older lady’s garden, to painting, pouring concrete, trimming branches or wrapping water pipes under their house for the winter. He never expected payment. He did it for the simple reason of wanting to do it. One of my first life lessons of “Do Your Job!” was helping others. My second word of advice is “Be a Service to Others.”
Another influence on my life was my second ‘father’, Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant, who came on TV every Sunday during football season talking about the previous day’s Alabama football game, commenting on highlights and giving life lessons to me as a young man without a dad. He spoke of the importance of doing the little things right. If you do the fundamentals correctly, the big things take care of themselves. Famous Coach John Wooden’s first lesson to his incoming freshmen basketball players was how to put their socks on. Coach Tim Corbin’s first lesson to his incoming freshmen baseball players is how to stand at attention to the National Anthem. My third word of advice is “Do the little things right.”
When I was going to college to be a teacher, one of my assignments in an education class was write a paper on my philosophy of teaching. I wrote one sentence, “Kids can not pick their parents.” The professor gave me an A. I learned at an early age, growing up in the Jim Crow era in Alabama, to have empathy for others, by witnessing first-hand the ugliness some had towards others. The next time you are stuck in traffic because of an automobile accident, instead of being upset, stop and think of the persons in the accident, and their family and friends. You might be late, their lives may be changed forever. My fourth word of advice is “Have empathy for others.”
After my dad died my mom bought me a little sign that sits in my classroom today. It states “We create our tomorrows by what we dream today.” Have a dream. Create goals. Create a plan to achieve that dream. It took me fifty two years to achieve my dream of being a teacher. My fifth word of advice is “Have a dream and never give up on that dream.”
I love quotes. I try to live by two of them, “Enthusiasm is one of the most powerful engines of success. When you do a thing, do it with all your might. Put your whole soul into it. Stamp it with your own personality. Be active, be energetic, be enthusiastic and faithful, and you will accomplish your object. Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson and “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” – Theodore Roosevelt. My sixth word of advice is “Do everything with all your heart and never let anyone get in your way of being who you are, and becoming what you want to become, or stand in the way of your dream.”
I mentioned Coach Bryant earlier. He kept a poem in his pocket that his mother gave him and read it every day. I made a poster of it and placed it on my podium in my classroom because I read it every day. Here is the poem:
"This is the beginning of a new day.
God has given me this day to use as I will.
I can waste it or use it for good.
What I do today is important as I am
exchanging a day of my life for it.
When tomorrow comes, this day will be gone forever.
Leaving something in its place I have traded for it.
I want it to be a gain, not loss--good, not evil.
Success, not failure,
in order that I shall not forget the price I paid for it."
W. Heartsill Wilson
My final word of advice is “Never waste a day. Today is called present for a reason, it is truly a gift.”