Here are a few of our favorite entries so far in our “Your Life: The Reader’s Digest Version” contest. After reading these, head over to Facebook and vote for your favorite.
“There’s Always a John”
By Darla Boyd
My first year of teaching, there was a kid that drove me crazy. “John” made me want to gouge out my own eyes; he was just that rambunctious. While talking about him one day, a teacher who had 35 years to my one, put his hand on my shoulder and said, “There will always be a John. Your job is to learn to embrace what makes him different and help him succeed.” The next year, there was indeed another John. And he brought some friends. In the last 20 years, I’ve learned to enjoy all the kids like John. That advice taught me that there is something to appreciate in everyone.
“An Early Key Lesson”
By Elaine West
Before I began my first teaching job, my mother, a teacher of 30 years herself, gave me a very special gift, five simple words that have had an impact on my entire life: “Make friends with the janitor.” I learned from her sage wisdom that all people, no matter their level of education, their bank balance or the size of their home, have much to offer, much to give. Those words helped me create a balance by being open to friendships with people in all stations of life. While many folks tend to spend time with those in similar careers, I learned from a wide range of people and it broadened my viewpoints. It taught me the ultimate respect for all types of characters and continues to enrich my life to this day. Just five little words but what an impact they can have when you take them to heart.
By Paul Lockwood
I had the best parents: a minister and his musical wife who loved me and my brothers, even when we “acted up.” I was never shy, “lisp”-singing “All I Want For Christmas (Is My Two Front Teeth)” in public at the age of 5. In high school, I tried acting, but had line memorization difficulties and little encouragement from the director. So I set aside acting, but I never forgot that inside me was a “ham” waiting to be “glazed” with applause. At the age of 40, I moved to Woodstock, Illinois and auditioned for “Cinderella.” I was cast in five small roles, and I found acting truly fit me like that famous slipper. More than 10 years and 20 shows later, I’m enjoying the chance to entertain audiences. It’s not a job; it’s just a hobby – but now that I’ve grown up, I find that “acting up” isn’t so bad.
By Jan Davis
Being a mother can always present challenges and rewards. Someone told me early in my parenting career that “Children will teach you everything you need to know”. Aside from the maternal and instinctive vows we take during pregnancy, being a mother is being raised. Our children become our mentors. First milestones justify us in becoming honorable students. Their dreams become our professor, as we become attentive constantly taking notes. We learn from sickness and health through devotion and sacrifice. The sounds of their laughter and smiles on their faces nominates us for the Honor Roll. Their tears remind us that it is okay to fail, wipe the tears away and try again. Eventually on our graduation day we have to let go of holding their hands to see if we studied hard enough.
“Little Hands, Big Prayers”
By Kara Engelken
The short plump little girl you felt sorry for because everyone made her push the marry-go-round at recess? That was me. Glasses, speech impediment, and a dyslexic to boot. With tearful whispers, I knelt at my bedside after school one day, “Dear God, if you aren’t going to make me pretty so they will like me at school, please God, make me big enough so that no one can ever hurt me again.” I grew a foot that next summer. I started varsity every game my high school career. Now at six foot three, in my heels, I pound the runway opening shows in OC and LA. It takes great heat and pressure to make a diamond, but when its made it shines! God did not grant my wish that day. He heard my little broken heart and gave me more than I could ever deserve… His grace.