1) Those that want to change themselves.
2) Those that want to change the world.
3) Those that want to change lives.
I believe, that for better or worse I fall into the third category. I've discussed this somewhat before, I like to serve others, hence the reason I am a teacher. But I also know and realize now that category 1 and category 2 are much more difficult than number 3 believe it or not.
Having spent the last three years in the classroom I know that changing a life can be as simple as a hand on a shoulder, a smile at the beginning or end of a day, a truthful:"I understand," or the introduction to a book or author that speaks to a child.
One day, four years ago, as I was leaving a poetry reading (one of the most memorable moments of my life) that featured African American, Hispanic and Jewish poets from around the city at the Holocaust Museum of Houston, a young black girl approached me and changed MY life in an instant as much as I had just changed hers when she said: "You were like amazing, and when I grow up, I want to do that, I want to be like you, I want to do what you just did cause it was so awesome."
I knew then, that I had accomplished even more than what I ever set out to and I still do on an almost daily basis. Do my students tell me that I've changed their lives? No. Do my students show how much they appreciate what I do? No. But do I really need them to? No, surprisingly not. I wake up for them every morning. I play volleyball and run laps with them even though I regret it later because those simple gestures could be a life changing moment for them or for me, and I'm willing to make those minor sacrifices.
I don't think anyone can single handedly change the world or change themselves for that matter. It takes people, like the domino effect, one touching the next and the next and the next until you've all fallen, hopefully into something wonderful, something "awe-some," something eternal and beautiful.
I am on a mission, a greater mission than myself and I have to do what I have to do to reach it. Will you join me?