This has been a year of tremendous growth and learning for me personally, as I learn to let “teacher” come alive in my life. I want to express heartfelt gratitude to all the wonderful teachers in my life that have lit my path with their own learning. My wish is that each of you find peace in the coming year.
The following message is from Don Mesibov, a founder of the Institute of Learning Centered Education, an author, and a first rate educational leader. He sent this to me on New Year’s in 2004; but I believe it is a message that is worth revisiting every year.
“Two hundred years from now, how many people in America will remember the name Donald Trump? Jerry Seinfeld? Donald Rumsfeld? Jonas Salk? Even today, what percentage of the people in the entire world are familiar with the names of these few Americans? Of the buildings now bearing the name of Donald Trump, how many will be standing two hundred years from now – and if they are standing, how many will still bear his name?
How many great singers of the 18th century can you recall? or composers? or doctors? or plumbers?
On the other hand, thousands of years from now, a person’s life may be influenced by something you did, a value you passed along through your children, students, or others. This is immortality. Immortality is when something in you affects the person someone else becomes and that person, in turn, affects what someone else becomes, and so on.
Who is in any better position to affect the lives of others and, therefore, become immortal, than parents or professional educators? Someone, thousands of years from now, will reflect something you passed along.
“A Life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.”
As a parent, as an educator, or simply as a caring individual, you experience the frustrations of a society that, despite your best efforts, does too little for too many and leaves much to be desired. But we are making progress, together, and we are having an impact. Remember this as you celebrate the holiday season. You need to celebrate your successes in order to recharge yourself for the challenges that lie ahead.
You ARE having an impact and you don’t need a building named after you, or a monument to tell you about your successes. But you do need to remind yourself that the successes you are having with children are what life is all about – it is your IMPACT, it is your road to immortality.
Happy New Year!”