Well, I had a clue, but it was wrong. I liked math, I liked art, and I thought that architecture might be for me. As I hit some walls in my early years at Michigan State University, I decided against the path that I'd thought might be for me. I was gonna take a year off, but my dad said that if I stopped, I might never go back. He advised me to give his alma mater a try. I enrolled at Oakland University in Rochester, MI, with a big, "Huh?!?" in my mind.
It took me a little bit, but brainstorming my interests, I remembered that I'd always liked working with kids, as a teen. I visited with my friend Amanda's mom, Jane Schade, and spent some time in her class. That was it.
Blah blah blah, fast forward, cue the time shift sound effects. We're not looking at a life story here, let's get to the why.
That's the title, right? I don't think I really knew the why for ages. For more than ten years of my teaching, I never really understood it. I did it, I resented the pay, I liked the kids, I tried to keep my head down and have fun.
Over time, though, I'm starting to see the patterns in my life. I'm reflecting more. I'm paying attention. And here it is. I like novelty. I like potential. I like working to make cool things happen. As I type it, it's not the most heart-warming or lofty view, but that's what it is.
What if I take a group full of kids, kids who are "just normal." Some are bright, some struggle a bit, but we're talking eightteen average kids. What are they gonna do with their lives? Some will go to college, some to the military, some will peter out young, and some will have fairly successful lives. Statistically, a couple of them may do something remarkable, but they'll be regular, everyday people as they grow up.
But maybe, somewhere inside of each of them, there's a seed. And this seed, if you nurture it, it's the seed of greatness, or at least interesting. Maybe it's the seed of a big-hearted world changer. I teach because helping children nurture the magic seed inside will unlock a better future. Can I help to empower a group of people every year to be magnanimous and kind, to be innovative, to believe in themselves, and to take action to make the world around them a little more amazing? I know I can. It's what I do.
That's my why. What about you?