On Friday, at our teacher professional development, we talked about making a meaningful signature on our kids. We talked about how we have the power to tell them they are talented and valuable, how we have the power to encourage them to chase any dream, no matter how big. We talked about how we can encourage them to ask “What if” and push them to their fullest potential. We talked about how we have the power to influence their lives for good because, unfortunately, they don’t always get it at home. And I couldn’t help but think of the story of the Boy and the Starfish. It goes like this:
One day, an old man was walking along a beach that was littered with thousands of starfish that had been washed ashore by the high tide. As he walked he came upon a young boy who was eagerly throwing the starfish back into the ocean, one by one. Puzzled, the man looked at the boy and asked what he was doing. Without looking up from his task, the boy simply replied, “I’m saving these starfish, sir.”
The old man chuckled aloud, “Son, there are thousands of starfish and only one of you. What difference can you make?”
The boy picked up a starfish, gently tossed it into the water and turning to the man, said, ‘I made a difference to that one!”
When we returned to the school after our seminar, we gathered in the gymnasium to talk about suicide prevention. I was amazed by how young some of the kids were that have committed suicide this year in our county alone. In 2012, there were seven school-aged suicides, three of which were 14 years old. What would happen if someone took the time to minister to that one or those seven with an attitude of love that says, “I made a difference to that one.”
We ended our time signing our names in stone with a sharpie, and this is what they remind me when I look at them. As a teacher, this is my pledge:
I will live each day to seize every opportunity to make a difference in a child’s life. I will seek every day to love God more, so in turn I can love my kids more. I will tell them they have value. I will tell them they have purpose. I will tell them they are able to do anything they set their mind to do. I will push them to their academic and personal success, because I am more than a teacher. I influence generations with the Love of Christ. I vow to make a difference to that one.