Every Light Counts.
One of my favorite artworks of James Christensen is called One Light. It depicts one small hunchback on an infinite checkerboard under a night sky, lit only by a tiny flickering flame from the lamp the hunchback is holding. When I first saw this picture I immediately associated it with my belief that each of us brings one light to this world.
Not only do I believe that each of us brings a light to this world, I also firmly believe that each of our lights is equally important, no matter where we live or what our ethnicity or social status is. Each of us has the responsibility to protect his or her light, nobody else can do that for us. On the other hand, we can, and should, share our lights. And I believe that only by sharing our lights can we make the world a better and brighter place. Not by trying to snuff out the lights of those who we perceive as being different from us or have different beliefs. Every light is equally important. Every light counts.
The wonderful thing is, that when you share your light, yours also get brighter. And when you share your light it can give back to you in unexpected ways. I am fortunate to have my dream job: I am a school psychologist and work with the inner city children. Most of them come from poverty, many come from difficult home environments, and many struggle in school. As a part of my job I have for years regularly given presentations to whole classrooms before ISTEP, most often in elementary schools. In addition to giving the children test taking tips I try to share my light by reaching out to them. I try to motivate them and increase their feelings of self-worth and belief in themselves, by showing them that I truly believe in each and every one of them.
I have the children call me Gunny, my nickname, and they know I am their friend. They will often say hi when they see me in school, on the street or in the store, and that is always a delight. But it was the occasion when I was testing one of them, then in middle school, that stands out. We were chatting while I was scoring the tests and the girl asked me if I had kids. I said â€œNo, unfortunately, but I have lots of nieces and nephews.â€? The girl looked me straight in the eyes and said, with the sincerity that is the gift of children, â€œNo, Gunny, you are wrong. You got all of us.â€?
My heart overflowed and I got teary eyed. She did not know that I tend to refer to them all as â€œmy kids.â€? Now I have an official permission to continue doing so.
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