Sunday, March 30, 2014

A Life of Purpose

This week, I had the opportunity to talk about my class's WORDS HAVE POWER essay project on Shelley Irwin's WGVU Morning Radio Show. (Read about the project here: WORDS HAVE POWER and listen to the Podcast here: Shelley Irwin's WGVU Morning Radio Show.) I'm not going to lie. It was a cool moment and my ego was sufficiently stroked.

But, that same day, my ego was stroked in an even better way--a much less public way: I got to hang out with Olivia, the student who joined me on the show. We drove to Grand Rapids and talked about school; we did our show--she blowing me away with her intelligence and communication skills; we had lunch and talked about the future. It's those connections, those human connections that make teaching my passion.

And Olivia is just one of many student connections I've had in the past few months. With each hour-long coffee date, I'm filled with a sense of pride that I could be a moment in their lives. My students give me--well--purpose. They make me laugh and think and care. Yes, my wife, my daughters, and my family give that to me, too, but it's so refreshing to claim that I have purpose in my career.

It's that human connection, that exchange of ideas, that matters most. Over the past few months, I've been fortunate to have phenomenal face-to-face connections, but humanity can connect in other ways, too: through technology, through silence, and through words.

Humans have connected through words, through story, since the beginning of time and, now, to complete a cycle that started in the fall through our community book club, I'm making the final push for meaningful stories now. Please consider changing our corner of the world by sharing your stories of empathy. While it might seem obvious that you can affect others with your story, you might just be surprised by what sharing your story will do for you.

It might just give you a purpose you never knew existed.

Share here: ELEVATE EMPATHY Submission Form