Saturday, September 18, 2010

An Affirmation

(the historical map that hangs over my home desk)

Yesterday, I had a totally affirming moment with a student after my last class of the day.

The interchange validated what I do on a daily basis, and it made me feel like I was flying.

Yesterday, we were discussing the Armenian Genocide of 1915 (which did, in fact, take place) and the modernization efforts of Mustafa Kemal in the emerging Republic of Turkey in the post-war years.

After class, one student came up to talk to me. He is from Somalia, originally, and his family fled when he was just a child to avoid the violence there.

His first comment was, "I really am enjoying this class very much. I appreciate that you let us discuss things and voice our opinions and come to our own conclusions. I'm a senior, and I had been avoiding my history requirement, because I dreaded taking it. I thought it was going to be like high school, where you just threw a bunch of facts at us."

And I knew, in that moment, that I am doing what I am supposed to be doing in this life.

I am opening young minds to the possibilities.

I am charging them to become independent thinkers, to use evidence to draw their own conclusions, and to follow through on their thoughts with actions.

He went on to say that he is committed to making the world a safer place, so that things like this can not take place ever again.

He has a police background, and is working to go into full-time law enforcement.

He told me that as they were fleeing from Somalia, he asked his mother why people do such horrible things. He said, "How can this happen?"

She replied, "All that is necessary for evil to occur is for good men to do nothing." (a very famous quotation, by the way, from Eleanor Roosevelt).

And he told me that is why he is determined to go into law enforcement.

I told him we need more people like him in our world.

This thoughtful, intelligent, determined young man is going to leave his mark on our world. I can see that very clearly.

And he let me know, in no uncertain terms yesterday afternoon, that I have left my mark on him.

I feel honored.

And I flew.

No comments: