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  • Karen Finnerty

We Can Change

In the first half of 2017, I was still teaching in my own classroom. One of my students kept getting into some trouble. It was nothing serious, things like talking back to a substitute and spreading rumors about classmates, but nevertheless, he frequently landed himself in the principal’s office.

One afternoon in December, Jacob stayed behind as the other students shuffled out to their next class, and he strode over to me, where I stood near the window, and he looked right at me. “Do you think it’s too late to change?” he asked. The expression in his eyes showed anguish and worry. His voice shook a little and he was afraid it wouldn’t be possible.

I paused before replying, collecting my thoughts, hoping he wouldn’t see the concern on my face—or maybe hoping he would. “Jacob, it’s not too late. It’s never really too late for anyone to change, but you have to be willing to try, even if it seems really difficult.”

I’d like to say this was the end of trouble for Jacob, but it wasn’t. He still found himself in some sticky situations now and then, but he was making an effort. He was trying to turn himself around. Jacob is in middle school now, and he’s doing great. It wasn’t easy and it wasn’t perfect, but with a little help and a willingness to accept the challenge, Jacob made a change.

As 2018 takes off with a running start, maybe we all need a reminder, myself included, that we can change, if we want to, and sometimes with help. In 2018, I want to become more confident and know that I can be stronger and better. I can change. Here are my resolutions:

  • Be known for an open mind—because I never know how my thinking and life will turn out.

  • Be honest with myself and those around me—because being kind and candid moves mountains.

  • Be willing to accept a little help—because sometimes it does take a village.

  • Be willing to try something super challenging—because if I don’t it might mean I am coasting out of a fear of failure.

  • Be my own benchmark—-because when I constantly compare myself to others it takes me farther from developing my own personal yardstick of accomplishment.

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