As I approach 34 years working in this field I often find myself thinking about my former students and the impact they’ve made on my life. I wonder what my life would have been like without them adding their colors to it. The smiles, the laughs, the tears and every fine motor movement in between.
I had dreams of doing other things both personally and professionally. But as I look back on the what might-have-beens, I find it difficult to imagine any more satisfying profession than teaching at the time I did. Personally I could have been more adventurous and feel I would be now given another crack at it. And in today’s world I can’t honestly say that I would be a teacher again; at least not in a formal school setting. I have my reasons and they are exhausting just entertaining them.
But what I got, and continue to get, out of my life’s work allows me to feel an ocean of contentment. I feel like this has been a life well-chosen for all of the extras it’s given to me in shaping the person, Mark, that types this blog today. How would I behave, view the world or regard myself had I chosen another pursuit like, acting, or media or more creative endeavors that would have forced me to always be considering life in terms of “me,” as opposed to a life regarding, caring and helping to shape others?
Would I have learned open-ended compassion and what feels like record breaking patience during super stress-inducing times in order to help a child through and past a meltdown or one practicing defiance? Would I have learned to understand the importance of being in tune with where another person is in a moment and tolerate ignorance in those that may not know any better? Would I have been as forgiving of people’s fallibility; and self-forgiving of my own? Would I have even been in tune enough with myself to recognize my failings? Or would my ego have left me a pauper there?
I think the unanswerable questions are ok to ask despite that characteristic. That said, I feel pretty certain that the chances of learning to be and becoming the person I am today would have been weakened had I chosen paths that didn’t involve working to help others. The process and path can always be imagined differently and I am sure that many people torture themselves, as I have, over this. And, realistically we do have a chance everyday to alter that path. For me, serving to improve others lives is what gives life purpose.
No one can know the other side of the what-ifs, but what I can know is that I have been able to chisel out a better me because I have worked with the best of them, my kids:)
Peace and Keep Rising!