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  • Writer's pictureKristin Kowalski Ferragut

Daily Quotes

I enjoyed a thoughtful and whimsical first day of school with some wonderful students. For today's warm up, I asked students to reflect on a given quote and write a word or phrase, or draw a picture or symbol, to share their thoughts or impressions. The 6th graders suggested I save the post-its they wrote on, so we now have a poster of reflections that we can add to. That was a terrific idea! Some great art and profound and funny insights!

I've collected enough quotes to get us through most days of the school year and think they're worth sharing. Some may seem fairly obvious, but perhaps not to middle schoolers. I tried to steer clear of quotes that may seem too edgy or bleak or religious. I concentrated on quotes to inspire, encourage growth mindset and kindness, and some that provide humor, as well as quotes related to history and some specific student interests.

Feel free to share a quote or two in the comments, if any come to mind. I could still use a couple of dozen or so more. I share here what I'm starting with in rough order of when they may be posted.

The only person you’re destined to become is the person you decide to be.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

For there is always a light, if only we’re brave enough to see it. If only we’re brave enough to be it.

-Amanda Gorman

The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.

-Nelson Mandela

If the ocean can calm itself, so can you. We are both salt water mixed with air.

-Nayyirah Waheed

This is a new year. A new beginning. And things will change.

-Taylor Swift

I have one power. I never give up.


Rivers know this: There is no hurry. We shall get there some day.

- A.A. Milne

I love my rejection slips. They show me I try.

-Sylvia Plath

Don’t confuse the truth with the opinion of the majority.

-Jean Cocteau

You must do the things you think you cannot do.

-Eleanor Roosevelt

I think that kids have a greater capacity for processing things than we give them credit for.

-Rick Riordan

I’ve been searching for ways to heal myself, and I’ve found kindness is the best way.

-Lady Gaga

Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.

-Babe Ruth

A smile is a curve that sets everything straight.

-Phylis Diller

If you don't understand, ask questions. If you're uncomfortable about asking questions, say you are uncomfortable about asking questions and then ask anyway.

-Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.

-James Baldwin

Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.

-Hellen Keller

Belonging starts with self-acceptance... Believing that you're enough is what gives you the courage to be authentic, vulnerable, imperfect.

-Brene Brown

The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it. It's that we aim too low and reach it.


Sometimes, I feel discriminated against, but it does not make me angry. It merely astonishes me. How can any deny themselves the pleasure of my company? It’s beyond me.

-Zora Neale Hurston

Life is partly what we make it, and partly what is made by the friends we choose.

-Tennessee Williams

I didn’t fail the test. I just found 100 ways to do it wrong.

-Benjamin Franklin

The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.

-Dorothy Parker

The only journey is the one within

-Rainer Maria Rilke

I like a teacher who gives you something to take home to think about besides homework.

-Lily Tomlin

Where there is power, there is resistance.

-Michel Foucault

We realize the importance of our voices only when we are silenced.

-Malala Yousafzai

You don’t need superpowers to be a superhero.


We all must live our lives always feeling, always thinking the moment has arrived.

-Tracy Chapman

Justice is the first virtue of social institutions, as truth is systems of thought.

-John Rawls

The bicycle was still there, brand new, with its pale-blue frame and its plated handlebars which sparkled against the dull stone of the wall. It was so lissome, so slender, that even when not in use it seemed to cut through the air.

-Simone de Beauvoir

We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.

-Joseph Campbell

No matter what your ability is, effort is what ignites that ability and turns it into accomplishment.

-Carol Dweck

Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear.

-George Addair

The reason I talk to myself is because I’m the only one whose answers I accept.

-George Carlin

Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning.

-Gloria Steinem

The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease forever to be able to do it.

-J.M. Barrie

There is hope — I’ve seen it — but it doesn’t come from the governments or corporations, it comes from the people.

-Greta Thunberg

Appreciation is a wonderful thing. It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.


Everytime I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race.

-H.G. Wells

The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today.

-Franklin D. Roosevelt

You learn through mistakes – no one was born a master.

-Swiss Proverb

You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.

-Harper Lee

Life itself is the most wonderful fairy tale.

-Hans Christian Andersen

Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.

-Marie Curie

There’s only one thing more precious than our time and that’s who we spend it on.

-Leo Christopher

If you go looking for a friend, you’re going to find they’re scarce. If you go looking to be a friend, you’ll find them everywhere.

-Zig Ziglar

We don’t see things as they are. We see them as we are.

-Anais Nin

Time flies over us, but leaves its shadow behind.

-Nathaniel Hawthorne

Time spent with cats is never wasted.


The real test is not whether you avoid this failure, because you won’t. It’s whether you let it harden or shame you into inaction, or whether you learn from it; whether you choose to persevere.

-Barack Obama

To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Your self-worth is determined by you. You don’t have to depend on someone telling you who you are.

– Beyoncé

The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.

-Franklin D. Roosevelt

Shadow and light are two sides of the same coin. One cannot exist without the other.

-Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

In playing ball, and in life, a person occasionally gets the opportunity to do something great. When that time comes, only two things matter: being prepared to seize the moment and having the courage to take your best swing.

-Hank Aaron

You are not a drop in the ocean. You are the entire ocean, in a drop.


-Robert Smith

Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.

-Winston Churchill

It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.

-Albert Einstein

Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.

-Arthur Ashe

A well-educated mind will always have more questions than answers.

-Helen Keller

I don’t know where I’m going, but I promise it won’t be boring.

-David Bowie

The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.


I dwell in possibility.

-Emily Dickinson

Even in dark times, we cannot relinquish the things that make us human.

-Khan, Metro 2033

You must be the change you wish to see in the world.

-Mahatma Gandhi

Do one thing every day that scares you.

-Eleanor Roosevelt

We must use time wisely and forever realize that the time is always ripe to do right.

-Nelson Mandela

Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.

-John Lennon

A generation which ignores history has no past and no future.

-Robert Heinlein

It isn’t the mountain ahead that wear you down. It’s the pebble in your shoe.

-Muhammad Ali

Share your knowledge. It is a way to achieve immortality.

-Dalai Lama

It is the time that you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important.

-Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Believe you can and you’re halfway there.

-Theodore Roosevelt

The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.

-Leo Tolstoy

What is now proved was once only imagined.

-William Blake

If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.

-Dalai Lama

The way we spend our time defines who we are.

-Jonathan Estrin

If you want to understand today, you have to search yesterday.

-Pearl S. Buck

The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity.

-Amelia Earhart

Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul - and sings the tune without words - and never stops at all.

-Emily Dickinson

People often say motivation doesn’t last, neither does bathing — that’s why we recommend it daily.

-Zig Ziglar

Dare to love yourself

As if you were a rainbow

With gold at both ends.


You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.

-Wayne Gretzky

Set your life on fire. Seek those who fan your flames.


In the depths of winter, I have finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.


A day without sunshine is like, you know, night.

-Steve Martin

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.

-Mark Twain

How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.

-Anne Frank

Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.

-Lao Tzu

To study history means committing yourself to chaos, but nevertheless retaining your faith in order and meaning.

-Herman Hesse

It is never too late to be what you might have been.

-George Elliot

Tell me, what is it you plan to do

With your one wild and precious life?

-Mary Oliver

History will be kind to me, for I intend to write it.

-Winston Churchill

Someone else’s action should not determine your response.

-Dalai Lama

If there is a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.

-Toni Morrison

It might be a good idea if the various countries of the world occasionally swapped history books, just to see what the other people are doing with the same set of facts.

-Bill Vaughan

Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.


The truth is that all historical writing, even the most honest, is unconsciously subjective, since every age is bound, in spite of itself, to make the dead perform whatever tricks it finds necessary for its own peace of mind.

-Carl Becker

Remember that sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck.

-Dalai Lama

He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.

-Frederick Nietzsche

Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.

-Mother Teresa

I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear.

-Rosa Parks

Happiness doesn’t always come from a pursuit. Sometimes it comes when we least expect it.

-Dalai Lama

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you have imagined.

-Henry David Thoreau

We are all in the gutter but some of us are looking at the stars

-Oscar Wilde

Just one small positive thought in the morning can change your whole day.

-Dalai Lama

Every man and woman is born into the world to do something unique and something distinctive and if he or she does not do it, it will never be done.

-Benjamin E. Mays

But couldn’t everyone’s life become a work of art? Why should the lamp or the house be an art object, but not our life?

-Michel Foucault

I am enough of an artist to draw freely on my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.

-Albert Einstein

I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.

-Douglas Adams

The only impossible journey is the one you never begin.

-Tony Robbins

Leave nothing for tomorrow which can be done today.

-Abraham Lincoln

Compassion is the radicalism of our time.

-Dalai Lama

Nothing is impossible. The word itself says “I’m possible.”

-Audrey Hepburg

If people knew how hard I have to work to gain my mastery, it would not seem so wonderful at all.


Fortune befriends the bold.

-Emily Dickinson

They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.

-Andy Warhol

We do not remember days, we remember moments.

-Cesare Pavese

Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.

-Dalai Lama

Luck is believing your lucky.

-Tennessee Williams

The best way out is always through.

-Robert Frost

I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.

-Maya Angelou

Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.

-Albert Einstein

I am so clever that sometimes I don’t understand a single word I’m saying.

-Oscar Wilde

Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.

-George Bernard Shaw

The fairest rules are those to which everyone would agree if they did not know how much power they would have.

-John Rawls

Nobody has ever measured, not even poets, how much the heart can hold.

-Zelda Fitzgerald

Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.

-Robert Louis Stevenson

Regret for wasted time is more time wasted.

-Mason Cooley

Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.

-Thomas Edison

There are three ways to ultimate success: The first way is to be kind. The second way is to be kind. The third way is to be kind.

-Mister Rogers

In art and dream may you proceed with abandon. In life may you proceed with balance and stealth.

-Patti Smith

Not all those who wander are lost.

-J.R.R. Tolkien

The truth is, everyone is going to hurt you. You just have to find the ones worth suffering for.”

-Bob Marley

And these children that you spit on as they try to change their worlds are immune to your consultations, they’re quite aware of what they’re going through — Changes.

-David Bowie

You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.

-C.S. Lewis

May the odds be ever in your favor!

-Suzanne Collins

Let us remember: One book, one pen, one child and one teacher can change the world.

-Malala Yourafzai

Do not let making a living prevent you from making a life.

-John Wooden

Education doesn't make us smarter. It makes us whole.

-Jill Biden

My philosophy is: It’s none of my business what people say of me and think of me. I am what I am and I do what I do. I expect nothing and accept everything. And it makes life so much easier.

-Anthony Hopkins

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.

-Eleanor Roosevelt

I think there is a hero in all of us.


You have to go the way your blood beats. If you don’t live the only life you have, you won’t live some other life, you won’t live any life at all.

-James Baldwin

May you live all the days of your life.

-Jonathan Swift

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