On Sunday, our pastor told a story with which I was familiar. Perhaps you have it heard it, too? It is the story of a man who daily walks along the beach tossing the stranded starfish back into the surf. Even though others tell him that his work is futile and he cannot make a difference, he replies as he tosses one back that at least he has made a difference in the life of THAT one. And perhaps that is a good thing for us to dwell on during those times when we feel as if we are not making much of a difference. If we make the difference for just ONE kid, we need to count that a success.
Some ask me why I read as much as I do (I am over 800 books for this year), and the answer comes back to the guy tossing starfish into the surf: if I can recommend the right book to the right reader at the right time, then I am making a difference. So, I read as much as I can hoping to find those books which will be entry points for kids who have not yet found that book that speaks to them.
College Girl is here in the room with the TV going, but she is reading, reading a YA book too. She is finding her way back to a love of reading after high school. Her older sister, Career Girls, is reading THE HUNGER GAMES on her cell phone. She, too, had fallen away from reading for pleasure and is now back again. And it was College Girl that told Career Girl about HUNGER GAMES. How much do I love all this? Because these kids found good books during crucial years, they still have a reader's heart. And here they are back again, reading for pleasure. Best. Christmas. Gift. Ever.
So, friends, know that you make a difference. Your influence does not stop for the holidays or even after the kids leave you for another year and another teacher. Enjoy some time off. enter back into the classroom after the first of the year knowing that you make the difference in the lives of your kids.