I take very seriously the statement attributed to Mother Theresa: “It has been said that what we do is only a drop in the ocean. I say, without that one drop, the ocean would be less.” This statement has had a profound impact on me, my life, and my attitude about education, about teaching and about learning, about being a parent, mentor and role model. To me, it explains why I write what I do and why I entered the field of education. It serves as a great source hope and inspiration for me.
You see, I was a child who was saved by a teacher. Saved in every sense of the word: emotionally, socially, spiritually, and academically. Previous to fourth grade, I was considered a slow learner, a kid with a stutter, a kid who was poor, a kid who just couldn’t or didn’t pay attention—after all, I was “Just another Lewis kid.” I was the second youngest in a family of ten and all of us went through the same grade school. You couldn’t escape the reputation of the brother or sister who went before.
But then I was lucky enough to land in Mrs. Nancy Mehring’s fourth grade classroom. She saw something beyond all of that. She saw a boy with a smile. She saw a boy who was rather shy and who only needed a chance.
She began to call on me, asked me my opinion on class issues and asked me to settle disputes among my peers. She cared about me as a person and to her, I wasn’t just “another Lewis kid.” In short, she showed an interest in me and took it upon herself to not let me fall through the cracks. In time, I no longer stuttered, I suddenly had friends, and my grades rose from Ds and Cs to As and Bs. I became interested in school and, more importantly, in learning.
I am a living testament to the power of one caring adult, in this case, a teacher. I am a testament to the power one teacher can have just because she took the time, made an effort and took an interest in me beyond math, beyond spelling and beyond reading and writing.
We have the power to change and transform lives. All of us! This is our responsibility each day and every day we come into contact with our kids, with anyone. I am evidence of that. This is what Mrs. Mehring did for me. Mrs. Mehring changed and transformed my life. And, it began with her. It was her attitude, her caring, her empathy, and her understanding of the fact that she can and did make a difference in the kids she came into contact with. She made a difference with me.
I believe we have an obligation to make a difference in kids’ lives, in each other’s lives. We have a responsibility to make a difference in kids’ lives. We have the power to touch lives and make a difference. To me, it is our duty and our responsibility to touch lives and make a difference. We can fill an ocean with drops of water. One drop might not seem like a lot, but as Mother Theresa stated, “Without that one drop, the ocean would be less.”
Live Your Life, And Make A Difference!