Post-Christmas Resolution, Day 325 – It Does Not Happen Without You

“There are two kinds of people in the world: those who make excuses and those who get results. An excuse person will find any excuse for why a job was not done, and a results person will find any reason why it can be done. Be a creator, not a reactor.”

— Alan Cohen

There are times when you see the results of volunteering immediately. Tonight was one of those nights.

Example Of Effective Binder Organization

A few weeks ago, my son’s teacher offered to give her “How To Succeed In School” presentation again. This was a talk she gave two years ago which was quite helpful for our then 6th grade son. Unfortunately, she had lost the power point file and needed the slides recreated. She’s one of the best teachers at the school and way over-worked. In short, no slides – no presentation.

This is when she called upon the parent community to help and I answered. I took the opportunity to not only recreate the slides, improved them to her liking, and offered to speak to the group to give some perspective for new students and parents. (We’re in our 3rd year at the school now)

Tonight, I got to see the results. Sixty parents and students packed the library, listening, learning and networking. Parents talked to each other and to their kids. They found common challenges and common ground. They got to know their kids’ teacher better and they got to find new ways to help their kids. An amazingly involved group!

While my wife and our kids drove home discussing the things we learned, I reflected upon how this night came to be. I only did a little bit, but it was the difference.

When we volunteer we make a difference, sometimes right now.

Gave a short presentation, prepared some slides, and that’s all it took to help a lot of kids and parents.

As a bonus, here’s some of the key points from “How to Succeed In School”, especially designed for middle school students, although any student may benefit. 


  • Put your name and heading on  your paper 1st!
  • Put papers in the right section of  your binder right away.
  • Have your planner in all classes. Write down homework in your  planner.
  • If necessary, organize your binder  once a week.
  • Have a place for homework that  needs to be turned in.
  • Use section dividers for your  classes.
  • Clip it – Don’t Rip it! / Clip it – Don’t Slip it! (binder clips)

Use Your Resources

  • Parents
  • Teachers
  • Online Calendars
  • Parent Assistant (an online grading tool)
  • Edmodo (an education community software)


  • Make a Plan First
    • Length?
    • Time?
    • Order?
    • Priority?
    • Stopping Time?
    • Know when to ask for help!
  • Break it down into smaller parts.
  • Estimate time to complete each  part and then allow extra time for  mistakes.
  • Set interim due dates (if the  teacher hasn’t done that for you)
  • Check in with the teacher along  the way.


  • How do you study for tests?
  • What works best for you?
  • Experiment with different  methods for different types of  tests.
  • Shorter sessions over several days  works better than cramming the  night before the test
  • Get a good night’s sleep
  • Eat a good breakfast and lunch
  • Follow Directions


  • Use the class time you are given!
  • Take breaks
  • Reward yourself with a pleasant  activity, a snack, some down time  when you finish a task. 
  • Strive for excellence, not  perfection.
  • Too little, too much, or just right? 
  • Get enough sleep.
  • Eat nutritious food.
  • Get your eyes checked.
  • Be physically active.
  • Go outside and get some fresh air.
  • Spend time with your family and  friends
  • Spend time away from screens.

About Eric Winger

Our perception of time is key to how we use our time. The most fundamental way to change that perception is to give our time. This opens us up to new opportunities and ideas from which we can build to really make a difference. ... Yes, we *do* have time to make a difference!
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