When we are young, we have a lot more tomorrows than yesterdays and as we age that reverses and, eventually, we find ourselves with a lot more yesterdays than tomorrows. But the one constant is today. Today is the day we learn to take our first steps, tomorrow is the day when we will run. Today is the day we speak for the first time, tomorrow is when we will write a book. Today we enter school for the first time, tomorrow we will graduate. Today is the first day of work, tomorrow is when we retire.
We use the experiences of yesterday to make our ‘todays’ a little easier with the hope of making our tomorrows better. Ancient cultures knew the value that elders contributed to society, for they knew that was where the wealth of yesterday resided.
The trouble with yesterdays is that sometimes they can restrict what we do today and thus affect our tomorrows. As a young teacher, and later as a new school administrator, we were often told, “We don’t do that here.” When asked why, many times the reply was, “well, we did it once and it didn’t work out.” In every case the school had stopped growing because it based its actions totally on the experiences of their yesterdays and didn’t use their todays to improve for tomorrow.
The trick is to use the experiences from our yesterdays to improve our todays to improve our tomorrows and not get stuck in repeating our yesterdays. Many school divisions have adapted policies that see their principals transferred every three to five years. This is to insure that the principals do not get into a rut and to provide them with new tomorrows where they can flourish. Larger school divisions often do the same thing with teachers.
The trick in life is to learn from our yesterdays and not dwell on the past, which we can no longer affect. To use that knowledge today in hopes that knowledge will make our tomorrows better.
I began writing this article a couple of days ago and then Nathan Cirillo, a young solider, was murdered in Ottawa on Wednesday. Some individuals began to decry the fact that the person responsible died. My reaction was different. I was content that his tomorrows had ended. He didn’t have a tomorrow to plead his case before the courts, or a tomorrow where the media would report a trial, or a tomorrow to spend in a prison. I became more concerned about a little boy’s tomorrows without his dad.
Wednesday, our innocence, as a nation, was altered for all time and today I know that Canada will use the knowledge from yesterday to protect our tomorrows while maintaining our freedoms.