My Leap List

Thursday, June 2, 2011


It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude. - Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance
     I believe that everyone in my life is in my life for a reason.  While some people give lip service to this idea in good times, they quickly ask "Why me?" when times get hard.  This is one of my deepest beliefs.  It makes me uniquely me.
     Today I finished my 19th year of teaching middle schoolers.  Now, as you can imagine, teenagers are difficult to work with for more than a few minutes.  You can get whiplash from the mood swings.  They have boundless energy.  The sophistication of drugs and sex one minute morphs into hugging a teddy bear and looking at Junie B. Jones books the next.  You never know what they will say or do at any given time.  They are self-centered and egotistical, but mercilessly judge every one of your flaws.  It is not a job for the faint-hearted!
     Many good teachers get frustrated and think the kids have it in for them.  My view of life makes a huge difference in my job.  Rather than seeing the kids as "being" in my class, I meet each of them and wonder what great meaning they will have in my life.   Rather than being frustrated by the kids, I feel a sense of adventure at the lessons I will learn.   By changing my perspective, we build close bonds. 
     At the beginning of the year, a boy drove me crazy with his loud voice and endless need for attention.  I found myself agreeing with the other teachers about what an annoying child he was.  After about three weeks, I remembered this belief and refocused on his purpose in my life.  Our relationship changed drastically and he became one of my favorite students. 
      One day he felt comfortable enough in our class to break down in tears and tell us his story.  His mom is in prison for trying to kill him.  He misses her terribly and writes her poetry on his I-Phone hoping she will get strong enough to choose him over the cocaine.  He taught me the power of love and forgiveness and faith and perseverance and that my life is really great.  All lessons I would have missed if I was focusing on his behavior instead of why he was in my class this year. 
     I even believe that I am writing this blog for a reason and that you are reading for a reason, even though I don't know what either reason is yet.  I am excited to see the lessons we have to teach one another. 

1 comment:

  1. I've always felt this way too that there is a reason for everything and every person that touches your life. Your student story makes me think of my nephew who came to live with me 8 yrs ago. When he came he was so difficult I questioned had I don't the right thing. As the years past I knew God had put us together to help heal each other. I'm glad that boy got put in your class I'm sure you have helped him. I look forward to reading more of your blog. Not even sure how I found my way here but I know I was suppose to.