In the sixth grade I had a wonderful teacher, Mrs. Mitchell, who taught us English and social studies. Each day, after lunch, we would hurry into Mrs. Mitchell’s classroom, anxious for her to read the next chapter in the latest book she had introduced to the class.
No one could read the way Mrs. Mitchell could. If a book was set in the south, she spoke the dialogue with the appropriate accent. It was marvellously entertaining, and brought the characters to life in a way that I could never have dreamed possible. In fact, each year, the grade six students looked forward to reading time with Mrs. Mitchell. Some, I’m sure, were just happy to get a break from regular schoolwork, but the rest of us sat on the edge of our seats waiting to see what the next chapter would bring.
It was in the sixth grade that I learned the impact that books like To Kill A Mockingbird could have on young lives. I remember Mrs. Mitchell explaining to us about racism before she ever began reading the book. Back then, in the sixth grade, even the title, To Kill A Mockingbird, left an impression of me. If the word kill was mentioned in the title, I knew it had to be serious.
Mrs. Mitchell was a wise, compassionate woman who helped to encourage and nurture our creativity. Looking back, I’d have to say that she was one teacher who left a lasting impression on me and, I’m sure that is the way many of her students felt. What a wonderful legacy to leave behind!
No matter who we are or what we do we leave our mark upon the world. It doesn’t have to be a huge big mark, and most often it won’t, but it’s a mark nonetheless. We impact each other’s lives in ways we may never know. I remember an incident a few months ago when a casual acquaintance approached me in the mall and thanked me for writing my book. It goes without saying that it was a very humbling experience for me. I couldn’t imagine that my words could have such an affect on anyone.
Now I know my book will never that the impact that Harper Lee’s book did. Of course not. I don’t expect it to. Still each one of us will leave our small mark on the world, something that will be remembered down the road, something that will help add meaning to someone else’s life. It is only natural that we will. It is part of the reason we are here in the first place.
Have you ever thought about what you would like to be remembered for after you are no longer walking the planet? How about right now, what impact do you hope you are making on others right at this very moment in time?