There are times in your life you are just going along fine and then wham-o, something catches you off guard. It could be something as major as a trauma that causes you to reevaluate your entire life or as simplistic as a note from a friend that just makes you think.
One of my favorite blogs is Old Picture of the Day. Those of you who know me are well acquainted with my love affair with history. I don’t discriminate on time periods, though I have my preferred years. History is something we can learn from. I remember a poster in my high school Civics classroom. It said “if you don’t know where I came from, you won’t understand where I’m going.” This always spoke to me, and now twenty years after I last set foot in that classroom I still remember not only the wording on the poster but the picture of the quiet path through a forest, as well. So, this need to experience and understand history has been a life long journey for me. I truly believe that we can learn from our past – individual, group, country, world. We don’t have to repeat the mistakes of others, simply understand the events leading up to one moment in time and then make the best decisions in our own life based on a lot of information. So, I look at Old Photo of the Day every once in a while to take in the amazing photos of days gone by and ponder upon them. What happened to those people? What happened on the day that picture was taken? What does it mean to us now?
The man who maintains this blog is a teacher and he has several great posts about his students. He became a teacher in September 2008 after a long life and various careers. Teaching is a profession to be respected. The impact a teacher can have on a student will stay with them through life. I struggle with math, my mother to this day blames my first grade teacher. I love words, I credit my sophomore English teacher for encouraging me. So, this teacher found that he had a group of students who needed something other than the standard curriculum. They had challenges, I don’t know what they were, but I picture some kids who have learned that life will give them nothing much but sorrow.
Their teacher gave them a great gift: a doorway to believing in themselves. He taught them to create a website, which he describes in this post. They not only did well, they excelled. The result is Picture Indian, a website built by high school students. It consists of photos and original poetry.
In particular, I am held by one poem written by Rolando Gonzalez, aka Little Bear.
As I crawled, I walked
As I learned, I taught
As I talked, I listened
As I struggled, I failed
As I stumble, I will overcome
This really captures for me what I am trying to do with my daughter. I’m learning as I am mothering. No matter how many books, websites or articles one may read, being a parent for the first time really does embody “flying by the seat of your pants.” I don’t know if what I do is always right, but I’ll keep at it, and hopefully Melody will turn out to be a fine young woman one day and forgive me for my misteps. I’ve had my personal struggles in my life, even though I have been blessed with a comfortable life and I have no complaints. But, we each have something to overcome, internally or externally, and how we handle those challenges will not only shape our self esteem and our future, but it will impact those around us, and because of that we must be aware of cause and effect. As we pass through each day of our life, we can look back on our yesterdays in order to shape our tomorrows.
I hope this poem inspires you as it did me. Rolando has, with his uncomplicated phrasing, shown us the struggle within ourselves and how we must turn that outward in something positive rather than inward as something negative. This is that “something” for me recently that causes me to think, and causes me to consider where I am coming from and where I am going.