Here Is Why Your Belief in Others Matters
The other day I was ruminating about how one’s belief in others can impact lives, even years down the road.
Do you remember your second grade teacher?
How often have you run into her or him since leaving the comfort of that particular home away from home?
How often do you think of her or him and how she/he influenced your life?
I actually saw my second-grade teacher just last week.
Our grammar school class figured it was high-time we reunited, and in the process of tracking down classmates we also managed to track down a few of our teachers to invite them to the soiree.
To say we were excited at the prospect of seeing them is a total understatement.
Considering we are all in our fifties these days, the fact that we were giddy and anxious to see which teachers might walk through the door proved that the magical teacher-student connection lives on long after school days are behind us.
Three of our teachers ended up joining us that evening.
We former students were all a bit awestruck and feeling awkward for a moment – you know how it can be seeing your teacher out in the ’real world’ - don’t they live at school? And how are we supposed to behave around them? But soon enough we were swapping “remember when” stories and sharing the paths our lives had taken since learning cursive and celebrating the bicentennial.
The evening was filled with smiles, laughs and warmth.
Their memories and perspectives of our school years revealed a parallel world from what we as students experienced. It was a riot to get a glimpse of the many levels of activity going on in any given moment all those years ago.
Our teachers were so appreciative to have been welcomed into the circle of our class. It was a true gift for us to be able to say thanks for being great teachers, for caring, making us laugh, for having patience and for wrapping us up in your passion for life and learning.
We most likely did not realize all that back then, but as adults we see it clearly, and why not let them know?
One thing they remarked was how fulfilling it was to see how we had each evolved to this point in our lives.
Those of us who had been quiet or shy have grown into our voice with confidence.
Those of us who who had been “busy” or distracted have channeled that energy with purpose.
This all got me thinking about the act of investing in someone, feeding and nurturing their body, mind, spirit and heart for a short time before they move on their way, perhaps never to be heard from again.
These teachers gave us solid foundations in social and thinking skills, reading, writing and ‘rithmatic.
They were essential in nurturing our dreams for our future selves, providing opportunities to explore the world around us and within us to better know our truths.
They encouraged us and challenged us.
And all the while the chance that they may see the fruition of their hard work and passion was pretty slim. I mean, who really makes it a point to keep their grammar school teachers in the loop?
So again, this got me thinking, and appreciating.
Educators are just one type of many folks in our lives who put a whole lot of effort into shaping something (namely, other human beings) without the guarantee of beholding the finished product.
They hope the seeds of curiosity, confidence, and creativity they plant will stick and flourish as we continue down our road of life.
Why do they do it?
All those little seeds they plant along the way are strategically placed to help us discover our purpose in life.
The most mundane of experiences help us to clarify and define our purpose: science fairs, written compositions, talent shows and sentence diagrams, to name a few. We may not have loved doing them all, and we certainly did not always see the value in the moment. But being exposed to such experiences allowed us to try things we might never have considered, stretch our wings in a safe environment, and begin to know our true self and what moves us.
All those little seeds also help us to become critical thinkers and problem-solvers.
They create a pathway for us to find solutions to situations in our daily lives as well as in the global community. The social skills and character traits that are so encouraged and nurtured in our formative years become the foundation for our relationships and interactions in family, friend, personal and professional dealings. We rely on them to help us thrive in situations not even conceivable all those years ago when we were learning these skills.
We were being prepared for a future we could not even imagine.
All those little seeds tell us that you, the teachers of our foundational years, believe in us, in what we will become, and in what we will pass on to others.
You know what I am talking about, right?
Think about how you have evolved since your younger days, and whose voices echo in your mind motivating you and cheering you on?
Think about whose structures, mannerisms, and eccentricities have invited you to embrace your truest self over the years.
Seeds planted so that you will thrive.
So, thank you.
To all of the folks who touch souls for a small moment in time, never knowing how our stories will unfold, thank you.
Thank you for your hope and faith and unconditional enthusiasm; that we will take what you have given us and amplify it beyond all of our wildest dreams.
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If the sun is shining, my Crosstrek is calling me to fill up her tank, throw open her sunroof, and head for the back-roads. With wind in my hair, I smile at everyone I see. Grace smiles back at me (even through the trees).