Becoming the topic of a former student’s research project has made me pretty introspective, slightly paranoid, and extremely humbled. I had this young man as a quiet, inquisitive, and gifted 7th grader a few years ago so when he told me I was the subject of his research – his person of influence – well – it is a humbling honor to say the least. The project is based off the novel Tuesdays with Morrie, by Mitch Album, where Mitch writes a novel about his favorite professor and the life lessons Morrie imparts. Well – my student, who I either called Kabetzke or McGeek, and I met at a local coffee shop, every Sunday during the Fall semester. Oh – the McGeek reference is from NCIS. His class period was my NCIS kiddos because several were fans of the show or I thought they reminded me of 7th grade versions of key characters. Well – I of course was the female version of Gibbs – because of the constant cup of coffee I’m sure. Well –there is the gray hair and the parental devotion I have for my students too.
Anyway – every Sunday, Kabetzke would have his list of questions and I honestly had a hard time putting into words my responses and sounding somewhat –normal. It’s a little strange to lay aside my teacher persona and put on the normal person persona. But the sounding normal – that is where the introspection comes to play. Some questions have been about my childhood experiences, tough situations I’ve gone through, my family –past and present, and my influential people. It’s a lot like having someone write your biography –well it is exactly like that. The hardest question to date has been “What has been your constant?” McGeek thought it would be my coffee – but that’s just partially true. That particular question gave me pause because one primary constant has been my family, yet even that is in a constant state of change. That’s why in my mind this past Christmas was the last one with us’ns. Our son will graduate from A&M in May, our oldest daughter is in a serious relationship with a young man and our baby girl is getting ready to apply to colleges. So – the family dynamic is changing, yet they are still my constant. I know in my heart – that even if our children are scattered across the globe – we will have that strong bond. This past summer, the two college kids wrote me separate letters of encouragement and appreciation. Just because. Both letters had me in tears and both made me realize I have been a positive influence in their life. (During those weird teenage years – a mom often wonders if her words sink in or not)
I really have two constants –the second being Faith. I do not have answers to why I’ve walked through some of my situations. I just know it has molded me into a person who does not give up. So – the experience of having someone choose you as their person of influence – very humbling and eye-opening. It has made me realize how powerful our influence within the classroom and within our families can be. We do leave legacies – question is – what kind are we leaving?