The first time I remember truly being charged up, in terms of being held accountable for things I could absolutely control, was in the sixth grade by one of the math teachers at my elementary school. She was never my homeroom teacher, so I don't understand how I and my classmates ended up in front of her, or her in front of my classmates and me, but it happened.
Anyway, we were having a hard time understanding the material, but it wasn't because the material was hard. More so, it was because we didn't work on it once we left class. We would do all the right things in class, and not practice enough outside of the classroom. After a spirited back-and-forth between her and our class, she finally had enough. She simply said, "Crap or get off the pot."
When she said it, the first thing we did was snicker and try to keep from laughing, because we weren't used to hearing teachers say "crap." Besides, "crap" was associated with "poop" and, in my pea-brained mind, I was struggling to comprehend what going to the bathroom had to do with understanding math. She explained what the statement meant, and even though we still snickered under our breath, the message was crystal clear.
Since then, the motto Mrs. Jones gave my class has pretty much influenced my life, especially as I've gotten older and in my interactions and relationships with people. To make anything work and be worth a damn, there has to be common decency for each other and the little things to keep interactions, friendships, and relationships going. People can rest on those laurels all they want and, given human nature, that's what we tend to do. With that said, when resting on those laurels leads to people moving on, the last thing that should follow is shock and outrage.
In life, people don't get do-overs. There's a beginning and an end, and the time in between is the time we can control to the best of our ability. Making the most of the time we can control sometimes means exactly what Mrs. Jones said.