Copyright © Louis Schmier and Atwood Publishing.

Date: Date: Wed, 15 Dec 1999 08:20:50 -0500 (EST)
Random Thought: There Are Guarantees

Up real early. Couldn't sleep much. Couldn't walk any. A cup of hot tea sweetened by a touch of wine at my side. Thinking a lot. Feeling chilly.

They tell me that 'tis the season to be jolly. Well, this morning I don't feel very holidayish, and it has nothing to do with this cold that has the symptoms of a low-level flu bug which has been wracking my body for the past five days. No, my yule log is burning very low because yesterday I had to give Gwendolyn--not her real name--a failing grade as I had promised last spring semester I would do if she didn't live up to the promise she made to herself--and to me. She was sincere about keeping her vows and worked hard at the beginning of the semester. But, it wasn't to last. Slowly she began to walk away. Her step quickened into a run, and finally she disappeared. This time there was nothing I could do but be a helpless by-stander. By the end of the semester she had disrespected herself and let herself down; she had disrespected her triad members and let them down; and, least of all, she had disrespected me, who had taken the risk and had given her a secret second chance, and let me down. She had betrayed us all, above all herself. I know she had not intended for this to happend. Maybe she wasn't yet strong as she thought to win the war between faith and fear that waged within her, or maybe she wasn't fully prepared to fight the battle between her head and heart, or maybe her hopes and dreams were not yet bright and soothing enough to overcome dark memories and painful experiences, or maybe she didn't yet have the endurance to continue resisting the tug of distant and personal outside tidal forces.

That's all I'm going to say about Gwendolyn. But, she has reminded me once again how I always have said and have heard others say that there are no guarantees. Now that I think about Gwendolyn, I and they are wrong. I know of two guarantees, 100 % guarantees:

First, if you want to make a difference in someone's life, if you want to reach out and touch a student, if you are caring enough give all of you, if you are daring enough to take the risk for something to happen, I guarantee 100% along the way you will experience mistake, annoyance, sadness, disappointment, dejection, rejection, betrayal, failure, hurt, maybe even anger;

Second, if you cheat the student--and yourself--because he or she hasn't gotten all of you so you can avoid the difficulties and disappointments and hurts along the way; if you fearfully withhold your heart, keep at a safe and disengaged distance, stone-wall yourself, brace yourself; if you look protectively at a student as you hope he or she is or wish him or her to be and not caringly and understandingly as he or she really is; if you don't take the risk to reach out and make a difference, then I guarantee 100% nothing will happen.

Make it a good day. 


Louis Schmier           
Department of History    
Valdosta State University
Valdosta, GA  31698                        /~\    /\ /\
912-333-5947                       /^\    /   \  /  /~ \     /~\__/\
                                  /   \__/     \/  /     /\ /~      \
                            /\/\-/ /^\___\______\_______/__/_______/^\
                          -_~     /  "If you want to climb mountains, \ /^\
                             _ _ /      don't practice on mole hills" -\____

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