WORTH READING: “‘The road to achievement and fulfillment is dotted with hazards and tragedies that can wound us, frighten us, and slow us down. But afflictions and misfortunes can stop us only if we surrender.’ These words by Michael Josephson made me courageous!” – Essay contest winner Denise Osier-Bell, teacher for at-risk kids in Reseda, California

In the fall, about 80 listeners to Michael Josephson’s radio commentaries submitted essays describing how his daily messages affected their lives. Ten finalists were selected, and a vote of readers of Michael’s newsletter and this blog selected the winners.

Here is the entry of one of the five winners, Denise Osier-Bell.

I left the Sheriff’s Department to go back to college to become a teacher in 2001.

I wanted to make a difference and help change the fate of some of the young men that are in and out of our jail system. I was a single mother of 2 young children. I knew it would be difficult, but did not realize how difficult.

There were times when I was doing homework at 3 am, after working 2 jobs, taking care of the children and the house, thinking I couldn’t do it. I would read and re-read Mr. Josephson’s commentary on Sweet Adversity 596.3. It would always keep me going.

His words would inspire me to continue and persevere:  “The road to achievement and fulfillment is dotted with hazards and tragedies that can wound us, frighten us, and slow us down. But afflictions and misfortunes can stop us only if we surrender.” These words made me courageous!

The poem included in this commentary hangs on the wall of my classroom to this day.

Ten years later I graduated Cum Laude with my children by my side.

I teach at-risk youth at Reseda High School in the San Fernando Valley. I teach Character Counts! to all of them and have been to Character Counts! training.

I will not surrender. Michael Josephson is my rock star. The commentaries I receive in email inspire and motivate me to be better. I will remember to lead by example and always “struggle visibly”.

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