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Out of my comfort zone. Thank You.

I live where I grew up.  I've spent most of my life in the same town.  Not because I had to.  I have traveled the world. I've lived in other towns and in other states.  I love where I come from and I was lucky enough to be able to buy my family home after my parents left.  

With this said, my children have grown up and gone to the same schools I went to.  I was not what you would call a good student.  I did not enjoy school.  I did not enjoy my classes.  I understood school as a necessary part of life.  In High School I knew that I wanted to be more than I was. I didn't want to just be the kid who hid behind a sense of humor as he struggled through his classes.  Late in my sophomore year I decided to push myself out of my comfort zone.  I started to purposefully do things that I felt would help me grow as a person but things that I was not really comfortable doing. These things included Karate, getting a part time job and public speaking.

Over the years these things have all paid off for me.  Karate built confidence and appreciation.  Working in jobs that didn't necessarily thrill me gave me an appreciation for the little things in life that do make me happy.  Let's face it, if you can clean up another persons crap, literally, you can do anything.  And then there's public speaking.  Many times getting punched may be your preferred option but learning that you will survive getting up in front of people and speaking has served me well.

Yesterday I saw a former HS teacher of mine while I was at the town dump. I've seem him multiple times over the years but I never said hello because I knew he'd never remember me out of all of the students he's had over the years. 

Yesterday I called to him.  I introduced myself and told him that he was a teacher of mine back in 1984. I could see he was trying to remember me.  I thanked him for teaching me. He looked genuinely surprised.  Among other subjects he taught, he was a public speaking teacher. His class was not my first public speaking opportunity but it was the first year I purposefully pushed myself out of my comfort zone and he pushed me and others to be better. 

I needed to let him know that he had a positive impact on my life and my career. It felt good to see him smile.  Without good teachers like he and a few other teachers and professors in my life I probably would not be doing what I do today. Thank you all for the mostly otherwise thankless job of teaching. 

I have thought of saying this to him before when I've seen him across the parking lot but something pushed me yesterday to think beyond myself.  I needed him to know that what he did for a living really did impact my life for the better.
I posted this interaction on Facebook and others knew which teacher I was referring to.  It was nice to see that for them too he had an impact. 

Thank you Teachers!  I know your job, especially in underpaid NH, is underappreciated.  Well, you may not feel the love right now but hopefully you keep at it and maybe some of your students will come up to you someday and thank you.  


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