The Difference We Make

Those who educate children well are more to be honored than parents, for these only gave life, those the art of living well.” -Aristotle

When my son was growing up, he had a friend, Zeno, who was being raised in some sort of foster situation. Zeno never lived with his parents who were plagued with many, many problems. The person who was “raising” him didn’t use any money they were receiving for Zeno’s well -being and care. During his high school years, he made a break in that situation and lived with various families and then, hallelujah, he went away to college in NYS. We always welcomed Zeno into our home; he was polite, courteous, had a beautiful smile and very bright. We were happy to have him as a friend for our son who was a year younger. In person and while emailing Zeno in college and afterwards since he stayed upstate, I always simply told him to “Stay Strong…” that was my mantra I repeated over and over again and also always told him how proud we were of him. Well, this wonderful young man left in July for Ghana to teach and live there. Yesterday I received an email chock full of info on everything he is doing there…the people he is meeting…the programs he is in charge of and/or initiating. I am so proud of him. This is a little of what Zeno said to me:

I feel so humbled to be in this position and I really just wanted to tell you about it because I often hear your voice in the back of my head.

I can hear all of the times you would encourage me to push for the best and remind me of what I was capable of. So I wanted to say thank you. You have been so essential to many levels of my development.

I realized that I can do the things that make me absolutely happy and make a life for myself. So many realizations are occurring. This one year is changing my life more than any other time I have lived (in this lifetime that is).

I hope this email finds you well.

Love and Light from the Motherland,

I responded to Zeno by letting him know we always knew he could do anything he pursued and that we continue to be so proud of him and that whatever words I may have passed onto him, I know he is doing the same thing in Ghana for his students and that they must love him.

“The great teacher is not the man who supplies the most facts, but the one in whose presence we become different people.”-Ralph Waldo Emerson






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