10.02.2016

How Long Will It Matter?

It has been about a year or so since one of my former students reached out to me in a private message on Facebook. Now working at a neighboring school with a friend of mine, she'd seen my name pop up and wondered if that could be the Miss Natzke who worked at Friendswood High School all of those years ago. She was fourteen when we first met, a freshman in high school, and I'd just turned twenty five, a third-year teacher and brand-new coach, fresh out of coaching clinic trying to make a go of it on the volleyball court. 

It made my heart happy to hear from her. I remembered her well, not so much because I stepped into her story but because her mom stepped into mine. I credit her mom with helping me reconnect spiritually during a time in my life when I wasn't being spiritually fed. As I reflect, it was bold, out-of-the-box thinking to invite your daughter's young teacher and coach to church.

Then, a month or so ago, an inquiry: Would I have some time on September 30th for a visit? Without hesitation, I said, "Absolutely!" I thought it'd be super fun to see her again, to show her around her old stomping ground as she'd attended Westwood during her formative years, and to meet the amazing adult, teacher, mom that she has become. 

What a treasured gift it was to see her again; 
does it sound weird to say I wanted to keep her?


It has been thirty years.
Let that soak in.
Thirty years.
In a way, it feels just like yesterday.
But truly, it was a lifetime ago.

Here's the coolest part.
She doesn't remember me for the awesome handouts she completed in Spanish class. She doesn't necessarily remember the engaging games we played as we conjugated verbs and acquired vocabulary. She doesn't even remember our win-loss record on the court {though I do remember her hustle as a setter!}. 

She shared that what she remembers is that 
"you had a dynamic, caring personality with a love of life."

And she told me that it was refreshing to be in my presence.
That is music to my soul ... 
and it makes me want to care more.
To connect more.
To love more.
To reach out more.

It makes me hope that I've created those caring connections
more often than not.
Because I know that not all of my students
have these joyful memories of our interactions.
It makes me cognizant of what really matters.
And it makes me want to ripple that out
as far and wide as I possibly can.
Until I can't anymore.


So today, a wish for a Happy October, and a challenge:

What will you do today, this week, this month
 that really matters?
How will you know it really matters?
And for how long will it really matter?

Oh, and do a former teacher or mentor a favor;
reconnect with them, to let them know
that who they are
and what they did for you
really matters.

Thank you, Kelly, for finding joy in the journey
and bringing it back to share it with me all those years later.
Your visit really mattered to me.






3 comments:

  1. Such a lovely post to read this Sunday morning. Our job as educators is about the human connections we make.

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  2. This is just amazing but not surprising! You touch so many kiddos! ❤️

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  3. To add to what Rebecca posted..... You touch so many adults, who touch so many kiddos! You never fail to inspire me.

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