When I was young, I thought that I was destined be a social activist. I believed that in order to be a worthwhile person, I needed to influence the masses and make a sweeping change. It wasn’t that I had a feeling of grandeur; rather I was feeling beaten down by life, and I felt a pressing duty to help others in need, as I wished others would rescue me from my distress. My idols were Martin Luther King, Jr., Gandhi, and Mother Teresa. I admired their vision, drive, determination and sacrifice to lead others toward a better, more just life. I did not intend to be famous, but I did intend to give my all to helping other people. However, my aspirations did not work out as I had planned. Instead of making broad changes, by changing public policy, for example, or by feeding the impoverished, I have worked with people one-on-one.
I have come to live by a quote from Mother Teresa: “In this life, we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love.” I have taken this lesson to heart and have aimed to be kind and attentive to the people around me, to teach people as individuals and teams, but not as faceless groups. In my small way, I smile, guide, and encourage others. I listen carefully to individuals’ thoughts and feelings. I share my joy of life in work and play, while staying focused on the goal to help people grow.
I have not been able to make expansive change nor am I destined to do so. However, as a teacher — and as a friend, mother, neighbor, and so on – I have aimed to do small things with great acts of love. In this way, person-by-person, I hope to have helped people live more fulfilling lives. Proceeding with love is a path that certainly enriches my own life, and I hope that it nurtures others as well.