My answer to this question is…sometimes. As a wannabe it is very easy for me to always focus on the negative. In the constant pursuit of discovery and understanding I don’t give myself credit for my successes. Do you? Or are you like me, always looking for something better--something more?
On Friday, my last period class and I were discussing the rise of Hitler before World War II, the traits of a great leader and what constitutes an accomplishment. I’m not sure what question was asked of me, but my students know how much I love to tell stories and I began to talk about my high school experience.
When my brother Garret graduated from high school I was profoundly impressed by the speech given by the valedictorian of his class. I was 14 at the time and I decided that night that I wanted the privilege of speaking at my high school graduation. I wanted to say something that would impact my classmates as this young man had impacted me. I went home that night and wrote the beginning of my graduation speech. Fast-forward four years and I was now a senior in high school in a close race for the number one spot. Late in the fall that year my counselor informed me that another student would be valedictorian and I would only be salutatorian. I was heartbroken. I looked at all the years of hard work as a failure and didn’t realize the accomplishment that I had actually achieved. My original goal had been to speak at graduation, not necessarily to be valedictorian—yet I had only focused on the fact that I wasn’t #1. It wasn’t until much later that I discovered that both of us would be invited to speak at graduation. I ended up giving my speech, using most of the words I had written when I was 14.
Looking back on it now—I think it is exciting that I made a goal and took small steps that lead to its fruition 4 years later. I need to do this more often. :-)
The story ended up being far more personal than I usually get with my students--even to the point where I shed a few tears. They remarked that they wished they could do this every week. I think that statement was just to avoid doing any actual history work.
February is just two days away and I want to really focus my energy in embracing the first 40 days of my blog. I made my intentions clear when I began the blog to write 3 posts a week and I am happy to say that I have maintained my goal. I am also happy to report that the blog has a small, but steady group of readers.
Thank you…I hope to continue to share, grow and learn from this experience—and to enjoy the small successes along the way.