Copyright © Louis Schmier and Atwood Publishing.

Date: Mon 5/9/2005 2:34 AM
Random Thought: Everyday Mitzvahs, III

You never know. Thatís why in Judaism there is no such thing as a small mitzvah. What we think is insignificant can swell up to have great consequences. A couple of weeks ago, that was brought home to me by a message from a student, whom I remembered, thanking me for something I donít remember doing. Whatever it was I did, it helped him put on a face of hope and faith with sparkling eyes open to his incredible potential. He's now a teacher.

You never know, do you, when a light supporting tap on the head or a soft encouraging grab of a shoulder or a few quiet hopeful words or a caring and listening ear have a heartpower than can crack the thickest of walls. You never know the impact of taking a few seconds to help someone feel a little more noticed, worthy, appreciated, accepted, recognized, and loved. Itís a heartful lesson to take to heart. What we should know is that what we do and the manner in which we do donít stop at the classroom door and the edges of the campus and the end of the term and on the transcript and even at graduation. Possibilities today lead to possibilities tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow, and for the days to come far beyond the horizon. Choices we offer build on choices; consequences build on consequences; opportunities build on opportunities, transformations build on transformations.

So, we have to be mindful that what we do will effect people for the rest of their lives, and they will effect others. Like the pink bunny, you, through them, go on and on and on, far and wide, way beyond you and the campus, in people and to places you will never know about. You will do something that will set in motion a lifetime's worth of thought, feeling, and action. Itís more often than not like nudging a ship as it heads out to sea: you alter its course every so slightly. You donít think youíve done very much, if anything. Yet, far out of your sight and long gone from your memory, the ship will hit landfall hundreds or thousands of miles from its original port of call. Somewhere, for better or worse, today, someoneís life has been affected by what youíve done in the past; sometime and somewhere in the future, for better or worse, someoneís life will be affected by what you do today.

Think about that. Think about the incredible opportunity and heavy responsibility that is. You must be mindful that the influence you have on a life, including your own, is immensely greater than it may appear on the surface. Many of us use the metaphor that teachers are as ewers who pour information and maybe knowledge into the empty vessel of a student. Well, I say, if youíre gong to pour anything into a student, pour your heart into him or her. The more kindness, mindfulness, thoughtfulness, love, you put into what you think, feel, and do, the more you will give it all youíve got, the more you will do whatever it takes, the more their value will radiate out into the world far beyond the horizon. Teach each moment with goodness, truth, authenticity, trust, integrity, respect, and especially love, and in more ways than you can possibly know, you'll have a better chance of making the world a better place both for you and each of them.

         Make it a good day.

                                                --Louis--


         Louis Schmier                lschmier@valdosta.edu
         Department of History        www.therandomthoughts.com
         Valdosta State University    www.halcyon.com/arborhts/louis.html
         Valdosta, GA  31698                 /~\        /\ /\
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                        -_~    /  "If you want to climb mountains,   \ /^\
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