As a teacher of writing, l often ask nine-year-olds, “Who cares?” at the end of their writing pieces. It’s cold, but it’s meant as an entryway for reflection. If someone reads, how will it matter to them? I should ask myself as well. About writing, of course, but also about life. As 2015 draws to a close, I ask myself, “Who cares?”
Teaching is hard. Sometimes it’s very hard. My 2014-15 school year had me wondering if I wanted to continue this line of work. Teaching is a job where you don’t always get out what you put in. Some years just take, and take, and take. Some years I feel empty in the end, like I didn’t give enough. But one joy of teaching is being able to try again. To start anew. To find yourself again, to see the promise in new faces, and give more to the next group. I’ve got more. I know that because I haven’t taught to the point of passing out yet.
As that school year ended, my running life began again. I needed to run away, and I found something to carry me on to the next year with renewed purpose.
I used my end-of-year gift card to buy a new pair of running shoes and some shorts, and I ran. I put in 150 miles over the summer. Those miles helped me focus on something that I’d been missing. Me. I got to know myself again on the road. I found out something. I’ve got more. One more mile. One more lap. One more stride. One more whatever. There’s always something left in the tank. I haven’t passed out running yet.
As a dad and husband, I have to remind myself that I have more for them too. More patience. More time. More love.
After a hard day at school, or many long days at home over a break, there is still more I can give them even if I have to dig deep to find it. Being a family man has yet to cause me to lose conciousness.
“I’ve got more,” is carrying me through my life. If every person in the world weren’t getting tattoos, I might emblazon my body with the phrase. That simple phrase that ran through my head running hard around the corner of Columbia St. leading me to push harder when I so badly wanted to slow down changed the way I look back at my year. It’s changing the way I look at my life.
“Who cares?” Maybe you do. Because I’ll bet you’ve got more too.