The best question to be asked about your job is,
“Why do you get up every day and do what you do?”
If I was sitting with you over coffee, I would ask you the same question. What is your, “why”? Is it your goals, your spouse, your kids, your dreams, actual love of your job?
For most everything we do, there is purpose and intention behind it. The way we organize our closets, our morning routines, our daily commutes. It all has a purpose behind it. So the same is true of our jobs and careers.
Watching the faces of my friends and family react when I say I teach 8th grade in a school with unique challenges is always fun for me. Even funnier when I actually share some of the stories.
Then when they reply, “Why 8th grade?”
I picture my, “why”, all 126 of them. Their smiles, questions, high fives, goofy remarks, or even the disrespectful ones all come to my mind. All the middle school things.
Honestly, there are days I forget why I do what I do, and the motivation to get out of my warm bed to hang out with fourteen-year-olds completely disappears. I don’t want to drive 45 minutes to deal with hormones and attitudes. Shocking, I know.
On Tuesday, I received these notes of them reminding me. I remember why I do what I do on the days I don’t want to do it.
“Thank you for listening to me.”
“PS-Thanks for making school interesting.”
“Not everyone likes history but you find a way for all to enjoy your class.”
“You inspire me as a Mexican female to let my voice be heard.” *cue the tears on this one*
And simply, “Thank you.”
On this Thanksgiving, here is what I want to say to you, 8th graders:
Thank you for challenging me every day. To think about the world through your eyes, and with your stories. To encourage me to stop, listen, wait, and then respond. To pause whatever meaningless task I’m doing to hear you out. Thank you for speaking your truth even if it is completely opposite of what your peer just said. Thank you for trusting me with your lives, and your vulnerability. For showing me every day how to be a better person and for making me laugh, hard. You all are far from perfect, you know you challenge me in many more ways than just making me a better person. But I love you still, and no I don’t think I will ever stop letting you know. You’re some of my all-time heroes. Thank you.
I’m so thankful on this Thanksgiving for them. My, “why”.
What’s your reason, “why’? Why you get up early and go to work. Or get up early and go to school. Or get up really, really early and parent. Why you just get up and do the darn thing.
Some of you, (especially those in the medical fields) do jobs I cannot imagine ever doing in my life, and yet there is a reason why. What beautiful things would your people have to say about you? What would they thank you for? I hope one day I get to hear yours. Your “why” and the receiving end of that. Why you’re the person and friend that you are. Why you care for the world around you. Why you fight the good fight every single day.
Happy Thanksgiving, dear reader, to you and all of your reasons why.