Making A Difference

Recently I read an awesome Blog Post by Julie Glover honoring teachers in high school that have made a difference.  I thought it was great!  Teachers are like many military personnel…rarely is their work appreciated or recognized unless something goes wrong.  It made me think of the teachers that have helped challenge, encourage and develop me over the years.

I began to wonder.  How do they know when they’ve made a difference?  When their lessons have sunk in?  Sure, every once in a while a teacher will have some thoughtful student come back and thank them.  But more often than not, life happens.  Then all they can do it hope that the lessons they taught are practically applied.  And it reminded me that sometimes, through life, teachers can be taught, too.

So here’s a scene from one of my favorite teaching movies, Renaissance Man…mixing teaching and military.  It touched my heart.  Never ceases to choke me up.  Because DeVito’s character is the teacher.  The kids he’d been given were called the Double D’s…standing for Dumber than Dirt.  The drill seargent thinks that teaching these kids Shakespeare isn’t going to help them.  Won’t help save their lives.  And then there’s the lightbulb moment for both of them…and it’s beautiful.

In my life I’ve been blessed with wonderful music and English/Language Arts teachers.  The one who recognized my love of writing and poetry was a wonderful lady named Mrs Vorwick.  She saw something take root in me and encouraged it.  She even chose me, in eigth grade to go to a writers workshop at one of the nearby high schools to inspire me.  I remember being so honored.  I was the only one of my class of over 300 students that she picked to go.  Wow!

I hung on to many of my poems…even from back then.  Now a few of you who’ve been reading me for a while have read my most current stuff as I often share my poems immediately following it’s conception.  So here’s a flashback to my writing from the ’80’s.  Still very innocent and fraught with idealism and sweetness…  But this is to honor her for how far I’ve come today.  Because really, how can you appreciate the present if you don’t benchmark it against your past?

Set Me Free

“Give me wings,” you said to me,
“Let me go.  Please set me free.”
I looked at you with teary eye
And knew I had to let you fly.
So slowly, but surely I let you go
Hoping that you’d always know
I’ll care for you my whole life through
No matter what you say or do!

Then, one day, someone I once knew
Said, “I am coming back to you.”
I was so happy on that day
That I didn’t quite know what to say.
And since I know you’re back for good
I’m glad that I had understood.
You wanted me to set you free
So that you could come back to me.

So this was written nearly 20 years ago.  I still like the first verse…  Yes, you can tell I was young…but it still blows me away.  A teacher saw that and recognized my potential.  What about you?  Do you remember the teacher or person who influenced you and helped you to become the person you are today?  Or who encouraged you to chase your dream and shoot for the stars?  I’d love to hear about it.  And while you’re at it?  Thank a teacher.  Or a serviceman.  Give them a hug.  They don’t hear it often enough.  I think you’d be amazed at how much it will mean to them.