With the dramatic changes being made to education, I may not be allowed to have these random lessons or life talks with my students anymore; they don’t fit in with any core curriculum standards. They are important nonetheless.
If I can’t speak to their hearts while educating their minds, I feel like I will only be half a teacher. In order to avoid that at all costs, I’ve created a new category on my blog: Letters to My Students. It is for all my former, present, and future students; for all of those students I never had the pleasure of teaching; for anyone who needed a teacher who wasn’t afraid to talk about matters of the heart.
Each letter will address issues in my students’ lives that I’ve noticed and couldn’t turn a blind eye to: choices that were hurting them, questions they’ve asked me, pain they’ve shared with me–things I know that countless others were too afraid to talk to anyone about.
Do you know who you were created to be?
Your job in life is to figure out the answer to that question.
Get out a notebook and respond truthfully, for-your-eyes-only-truth, to the following questions:
- What do you love?
- What do you fear?
- What are your dreams? Don’t be afraid to think big. If you could do anything, without fear and if money were not an issue, what would you do?
- What matters to you?
- What do you believe in? Everyone should have a credo! Write at least 5 statements that start with “I believe …”
- What brings you joy?
- What makes you sad?
- What do you find beautiful?
- What would you do if you only had 3 months to live?
- Who are you? Write at least 5 statements that start with “I am . . .”
Imagine that you have 24 hours to yourself. No phones, friends, parents, homework, job. For this day you don’t have to be anywhere. Close your eyes. What do you see yourself doing during this unfettered moment? How would you fill your time? What would bring you the most enjoyment? Make a list of the things you see.
Everything you’ve written holds the key to who you were created to be. Your job now is to find the common threads. See what your words are telling you. No one but you can tell you what it all means. And you don’t have to figure it all out right this minute. It’s okay to give it time. It’s okay to enjoy the journey, especially because you’ll know that you’re on the right path–your path.
One thing is for sure: You need to forget about what everyone else thinks you should be or what people have told you that you can’t be. Turn off the tapes that have been playing in your head and start with a clean slate.
I also want to caution you about the two deterrents to finding your true purpose:
- Envy: If you feel envious towards anyone, then you have believed the lie that you have to be like someone else to be successful in your life. You just need to be you.
- People-pleasing: If you are a people-pleaser, then you have believed the lie that you have to get certain people to like you in order to be successful. What other people think of you is none of your business, so don’t work so hard to get their approval.
I want to close this letter with a song that makes me think of all of you when I hear it. I know it sounds strange, but I like to pretend that I’m singing it to all of you. I can’t sing, so I won’t torture you with my voice. Instead, close your eyes and listen to Snow Patrol share my heart with you: