Saturday, February 27, 2010

Who influences you?

My journal today asked me to make a list of people who have had an influence on me and write one to two words about how they inspired or helped me.

As usual, the process of writing takes it's own direction. This morning as I started making my list with the usual names--Larry James, my mom, my dad, Lisa Nigro...you know, adults who mentored me...I began thinking harder to see who I was missing. I then started listing Jessica, Gary, Monique, and so many others. Very quickly, my list became disproportionately populated with names of children and teens (and now college students) I know.

As I wrote, I began realizing that the large majority of people who inspire, influence, and help me are the children and teens. Though some adults (and a lot of teachers) have inspired me, it is the self-determination of the kids that moves me. Despite their circumstances, they have sheer determination to succeed. They push themselves. They struggle to find their way. Sometimes they call on me, but often they don’t. It is their actions and their self-determination that inspires me.

Writing through that made me realize that it is not my job that keeps me in the position I'm in (though I do enjoy it), it is being able to work with such amazing youth and knowing there's so much more to them than we often see on the outside.What keeps me in my job is knowing them, seeing how self-determined they are and knowing they deserve more. They influence me, they help me understand. They are my inspiration.

Who influences you?
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