It’s 4AM. The middle of the night for some, and I have just been presented with a question about the vastness of the universe for further consideration. These are the moments when dialogue sparks up in the stillness of the night when no five-year old intuitively knows that I’m about to have a deep thought so he should interrupt, destroying it before it gets off the ground. And other times, like today, it’s more of a “tag–you’re it game” a chain of comments that when glued together equal most of a conversation. I remember when such a conversation would’ve taken months, each page going into an envelope to be hand-delivered to friends by the mailman so I could wait a week for their reply.
The size of the universe, I was reminded, is limitless. This has made me wonder, how, at just the right time, in the right moment, the right people, events, and things always find me. I was teaching this in class yesterday, having stolen a bit of a manifesto called “The Life and Times of a Remarkable Misfit” by A.J. Leon. A.J. and his wife are currently traveling the world attempting to see–everything–changing it for the better. The manifesto was so beautifully written that I felt compelled to use it. I hijacked a graphic for the blog I dedicate to school thoughts, and typed out some thoughts designating it Motivational Monday.
It was a success, underscoring one of the themes of my teaching career: You can do anything. The difference between those who do and those who do not is in–doing. When the world conspires to shut down your ideas, find a new world. These truths aren’t just for for students, I warned, they are necessary for every one of us throughout life. The engagement in this lesson was complete; they paused for thought, because they know I mean every single word. I showed them the truths in my own life.
Sadly, the world of education often contributes to shutting down these ideas. We don’t get time to stop and present these essential lessons–the ones successful people maintain have carried them through to the finish line. I, in fact, came up 10 minutes short of finishing my scheduled plan having reallocated this time. If I come up 10 minutes short every day, I will consider it time well spent. Life isn’t found in a ten-year old textbook or a standardized test. Life is found in the energy of a 17-year-old waiting to conquer the universe or in someone nearly a generation older old doing the same.
I look around me–back to this morning’s conversation about the universe–and I am amazed. The universe is so big that I remain only a micron by comparison–even smaller than a micron if I could truly comprehend the scale. Even though this is true, it always seems that when I am pressing forward with the right intention, the right people, events, and resources come to me at the moment they should, like the best of entrances on stage. Never too early so I can feel unjustifiably lucky, and never too late so that I’ve jumped without a safety net and tested the seriousness of the pavement below.
If there is one lesson I could leave every one of my students it would be this–your ideas are amazing. Never cave to the resistance in your world. Find a new world. Or change the one you are in. Sometimes, just sometimes, everyone around you is wrong and your vision is as clear as you think it is. Go act on it.