I believe in the honest goodness of people in the world. When faced with a fork in the road, I believe that we look to our supports, our family and friends for the answers we are looking for. Who else can be honest with us but our closest friends and family members?
In 1998, when faced with a decision about what to do next, I was presented with direction from a man who would leave this world within the following days. He would never be present to know the impact he had on my life and those I have touched in my brief time in this world. That man was my maternal grandfather, Popi, as we called him and the educator in the family. His daughter, my mother, Diane, was an elementary school teacher, retiring after serving the community we lived in and she grew up in for thirty four years, and he an educator before she as a Biology teacher for twenty-nine years at Bay Shore High School on Long Island. He touched the lives of some 3,000+ students during his tenure there and he did so with honesty and goodness in his heart and through the carefully and not so carefully chosen words he used with his more challenging students. From this honesty and goodness came success.
In June of 2007, I can remember attending my mother’s retirement dinner. Surrounded by colleagues, family and friends, my mother presented an oration of the highlights and memories of her time at Academy Street Elementary School. She was a student in kindergarten in 1955; only one year after the school had opened and reveled in the successes and opportunities she partook in since that wonderful day. Through honesty and goodness in the community, which supported and encouraged the learning environment of the classroom both in and outside of the physical school building, the Bayport-Blue Point Public School system had prepared her for a long life of learning. At an earlier ceremony just three years prior, my mother, Diane, “D” as my grandfather would affectionately call to her, said, “I stand here celebrating fifty years of learning in the building, this community we have come to know and appreciate. I graduated from this building, in fact my two children attended and graduated from this building and went on to accomplish great things in our middle and high school. My daughter became an accountant in New York City and my son is pursuing a career in education to become a guidance counselor; I hope Steven will help me find out what I want to do when I grow up.” The entire community felt the honesty and heart-felt goodness in the words and the meaning behind my mother’s words that day, even those not in attendance at the ceremony.
As I travel through life and meet and experience the new people interwoven, I remember that through honesty and goodness we can achieve more; This I Believe.