Lasting Impressions

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?

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  1. Judi Hiltz

     /  June 9, 2010

    I hear you, Laura..But my experience was not as rewarding as yours. I remember two things very clearly.
    Mr. Schofield was my science teacher and I was scared to death to go to his class. Even through I always had the homework done, he was to me very intimidating, you see he was the one to hand out the discipline, which did happen many, many years ago. He was a very nice man, but I was very young and thought that he would take you to a small room and give you a strapping. Then there was dear, sweet, Mr Swim. He was very understanding of my “handycap” for lack of a better word. You see when I first went to the very “big” West Kings High School, from our “little” one room school in Dalhousie, I used to get sooo sick I would end up in the sick room just about every day, especially when I had science on that day. I do not remember how many time that Mr. Swim would drive me home and explain to my mother that he knew where I was coming from and felt bad for me.
    Anyway, I’m really glad for memories like these, although as you can see I never went very far away from home….


    • Although most teachers left us with an impression, I agree, not all of them were positive. I can remember Mr. Schofield being intimidating. I had him for homeroom in grade 7. His temper was well known. As for Mr. Swim, he was before my time.

      Hopefully, our positive memories will always overshadow the negative ones.


  2. Isn’t it true about the mark we make, Laura? I think we all tend to undervalue just how much of an impact we make on the lives of others until we have someone say something like that person did about your book.

    I know I tend to get like that sometimes and feel very isolated and alone.

    We’re all so interconnected and every action we take might affect someone else in some way that we don’t even realize.

    The choices we make, the decisions we make, and our attitude can have that ripple effect reaching out to others in ways we don’t even know about.


    • So true, Cathy, I’m sure most of us do undervalue the impact we have on other’s lives and not just the people we have contact with on an ongoing basis. Sometimes a small act of kindness or a word of encouragement we can make an impact, however small that might be, on the lives of those we scarcely know.

      The ripple effect is truly a remarkable one and we never know just how far those ripples will go.


  3. I coached kids for years. Many of them stay in touch with me (& Deb) to this day. Getting the chance to see how they’ve “grown up” has been a payback multiplied by 10. There’s nothing better than a message that starts out “Hey Coach” followed by pictures of THEIR kids & a “remember when” note. How do I want to be remembered? Just being remembered would be cool enough. Interesting post.


    • That’s so nice that the kids you coached kept in touch, and certainly speaks volumes about who you are as a person. It sounds as though you are already being remembered. Pretty cool. Most of us won’t be remembered for something earth shattering I’m sure, but for the kindness we’ve shown to others in one form or another.


  4. Hi, Laura, thank you for coming by my blog. This is a thoughtful and inspiring post. Your teacher sounds wonderful. There’s always something about teachers who understand how to inspire and communicate meaning. I agree with you that we leave our marks, in small and big ways. I hope to eventually inspire goodness and compassion in other people. But I have to inspire goodness and compassion in myself first!


    • Hi Juliana. My teacher was indeed a very wonderful woman. You are so right. In order to inspire others we must possess those same qualities ourselves.


  5. I’ve never thought about the impression I might leave… it’s a nice thought 🙂


    • Maybe we tend to think of these things as we get older. It is a nice thought because no matter who we are and what we do we leave a little piece of ourselves behind as we go.



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