Adelie and Staley's World

Adelie and Staley's World

Friday, June 6, 2014

Making a Difference

Yesterday, after 32 years of teaching, my mom retired.  I got the privilege of attending the retirement luncheon that they have at her school each year to honor the retirees.  It was nice to be able to share that moment with her, to hear all the wonderful things that people shared about her, and to witness the difference she had made in the lives of those she encountered in her 6 years at Washington High School.  But what struck me the most were some of the brief words she shared while being recognized.

My mother is an amazing woman.  She is energetic and upbeat, positive and nurturing.  But her passion is people.  She just has a way of making everyone around her feel good.  And that's a great trait to have, but my mother uses it with a purpose.  She has a way of being in each moment and finding those individuals who need that interest, that attention, that validation, that love.  She sees the people that others don't.  She reaches out to those individuals that others shy away from.  She embraces those who are different.  Those who are lost.  Those who are invisible.  And she not only makes them FEEL important, she makes sure that they KNOW that they are important.

My mother shared some words with the other teachers and school employees at her retirement luncheon yesterday.  She said that there are students who may not share the same enthusiasm for your class or your teaching that you have.  But she said that there are others for whom one teacher could be the difference in that student's four years of school.  Her advice:  Look for those kids.  Look for those people that you taking the extra time, the extra interest, the extra attention could truly change their day.  Their year.  Their lives.  It's such an important message, not just for teachers, but for all of us.

I know that every person my mother came in contact with over her 32 years as a teacher is better for having known her.  But I also know, without a doubt, that she was the difference in the lives of many of her students and co-workers.  And I take that as a challenge.  I know that I won't make a difference in every person's life.  But I will try to keep my eyes open, to stay in the moment, to really look for those people that may need a difference-maker in their lives...and then try to be one.

Congratulations to my mom.  What a difference maker!!

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