Are You Quotable? (by Jennifer Wagner)

As a child, I grew up in Los Angeles, CA (1960 – 1978). So, it is no wonder that the name John Wooden was a familiar name in my household.

Since his death, on June 4, 2010, there have been many tributes to a man who had great respect from a multitude of people. Speaking on the phone with a friend one night, that friend told many stories he knew of Mr. Wooden from books he had read. This man, he had never known except by written word, had had a great influence on my friend’s life.

I decided to do a bit of research on my own and in the past week have read They Call Me Coach and My Personal Best: Life Lessons from an All-American Journey…and also wandered through many websites about John Wooden. What I have found, besides Wooden being a man of great faith, fairness, and leadership… a man who is quotable.

Some of his more famous quotes are:

~~Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.
~~Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.
~~Talent is God given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful.
~~You can’t live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you.
~~If you’re not making mistakes, then you’re not doing anything. I’m positive that a doer makes mistakes.

And I began to wonder…….how are we, as Educators, becoming quotable?

Yes, perhaps our quotes will never reach beyond the classroom door, be published in a book, or etched into marble … or will they?

I cannot believe that everything that John Wooden said was forethought of “this someday will be quoted” but I do believe he thought before he spoke.

So I ask you — are you quotable?

What words of encouragement are you giving to others? What statements of belief are you leaving with those who listen? When you are asked for your opinion, what do you share? What are you being remembered for saying?

I used to read Reader’s Digest faithfully and would cut out the Quotable Quotes and tape them onto my checkbook as a reminder of good thoughts to think. Even now, as I type this post, I look around my desk and can see 12 quotes which have impacted my life (both personally and as an educator.)

I am always on the lookout for good quotes and was pleased to find that Dean Shareski, an online friend, has a flickr set filled with quotes which you can view here:

So, if I might, here is my challenge to you……Go find an inspirational and educationally usable quote (from our Personal Learning Network, a quote from you, or from anywhere/anyone) and share it with us here. (please remember to give credit where credit is due) If you wish, add a picture to it and upload it to FLICKR. Please tag it with TLQuotesJune2010 and then come back to this comment area to share the link.

And start thinking of how you speak – and what you might in the future be quoted for saying. I can assure you – people are listening – and you are in control of what they hear. So go ahead – take a risk – and become quotable.


This post can also be read at