By Jackie Zimmer

Many moons ago (many, many, many moons), I was tasked with selecting a book in Philosophy class to read, study, and create a lengthy presentation on while attending University of the Fraser Valley.

It was the semester-long project that accounted for a substantial portion of your final grade. I idolized my professor; he went on case studies all over the world, he spent time with an Amazon tribe ‘famed’ for cannibalism; he attempted Everest; he even sat down and had lunch with a few of us in the cafeteria one day (courageous!!!). He made class fun, and engaging; he was a jokester as well. I asked him to select my book for me (partly because I couldn’t choose between the options he gave, and partly because I was interested what he would select for me). He made no hesitation, and handed me a paper with “The Four Agreements By Don Miguel Ruiz” on it). I was immediately absorbed in the book, and the four principles have stuck with me since. The fourth being my favorite.

Curious as to the grade I received on that project? Me too. He didn’t issue any student a grade for the project (he did offer to make individual meetings outside of class hours to discuss the project, if a student felt the need). Instead he said, “If you tried your hardest, it doesn’t matter.”. While many students disagreed (very loudly), there were a few of us who took it stride… laughed even. I recall chuckling and nodding my head in acknowledgement. I saw what he did.

These agreements are no easy feat. I falter regularly, I even forget them… entirely for lengths of time. But they always seems to find a way back into my thoughts.

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