As a young child, I lived in a small town with an inner city vibe, in a single parent home with a mother that worked her butt off. I had no father, or father figure to look up to. For me that meant no direction or guidance in my life, which lead to future troubles. I would argue that my difficulties arose from a deep calling to be loved.
Allow me to welcome you inside my world for a moment. Picture a single mother with three children, who works 40-50 hours a week, a mother who is frustrated with her current situation and carries the hurt of past abusive relationships. Can that mother sincerely express the motherly love necessary for her three children to thrive? What about a father who is so in love with chasing drugs and women that he ignores the fact that he has created three beautiful children. Can that father truly show his children the fatherly love and attention that they need to thrive? Well, those are my parents. Hindsight my mother faithfully expressed her love by providing the basic needs for her children. Still, how was I to comprehend? How was I to know the reason behind my mother always working and my father never being around? These clashing dysfunctions caused anger to build up inside of me.
Fast forward, fourth grade, remember the future troubles? Up to this point in my academic career, I had been suspended from school several times. I had been such a “pain” that many of my teachers would pass me along just so they wouldn’t have to deal with me anymore. I was angry; I did not understand the concept of guidance and direction. I felt like no one understood me or cared for me. All of my negative actions and disruption were a loud scream to be loved. All I wanted was love. Imagine you’re in fourth grade and cannot read a complete sentence (from a first grade book). That was me, but I was passed along due to my behavioral issues.
Until, Mrs. Holden. Somehow this teacher was able to look beyond my anger and my attitude. Somehow she chose to love me despite the person I was. She invested hours into teaching me how to read. She drilled my worth into me daily. She preached that I could be different, that I could be great, that I didn't have to be a product of my circumstances.
That year changed my life forever. This teacher went beyond the call of duty. Her responsibility was to teach; yet she chose to love. Her job was to discipline, but she chose to exercise grace and patience. She chose to look beyond stereotypes and statistics to give this young kid a chance.
Now I am working as a High School Director at a tutoring program, helping young men and women that has come from similar backgrounds as me. Now I have the opportunity to choose love, to teach, to drill their worth into them, to preach the messages that they are different, they are great, they are not the product of their circumstances.
Thank you to all the Mrs. Holden's of the world. You may never see the fruit of your labor, but never doubt the beautiful harvest that results from the first seed.