Life…Amazing and unpredictable…

“The Summer sun was not meant for boys like me  Boys like me belonged to the rain.”  – page 294 from Aristotle and Dante Discover Secrets from the Universe. 

Sometimes you come across things that awake a need to express something else.  Sometimes you hear things that do the same.  Then you sit back, and are just amazed at the beauty, richness, and luck of these very things you often take for granted.  Taking things for granted I found is a common theme among American, I noticed this as I grew up among people, well, two types of people, as I well, grew up.  Kind of. (The growing up part). People that change your mind about people that take things for granted, and people that fit into that stereotype of taking things for granted.

I received the amazing comment last night –

“Hey Mr.Brake!

So I was filling out information about my graduation and I was struggling a lot with the “capping” teacher question. I was very, very close to writing your name down, but then I realized you’re way more than a teacher to me. You’re a friend, a business partner, a father and my favorite person at ASF. I decided not to write your name, and let a strictly teacher-figure cap me, but you ought to know I am planning a special graduation gift for you. If graduation was like a wedding, you’d totally be walking me to the altar and I want to show you how meaningful your presence in my life has been, but a school ceremony just won’t do it. 
Get excited, I promise you you’ll like it :)”

I immediately thought of the notes I keep deep in the console of my Mercury Mountaineer as well, notes of memos written from exchange students, notes written not recorded from students exchanged via email,then just the experiences and looks we have had – after needing to just post this comment to validate how lucky I felt in being surrounded with people who felt they benefitted from something I could offer, I looked down at the comments that trickled in…I realized a few more things…

Screen Shot 2013-01-19 at 8.10.25 AMSomeone made a comment to me last night (HE will remain nameless) – that they thought it was okay I missed something they went to, (I had felt bad I did not attend because a student of mine was there, my friends were there.  I often suggest events yet know I can only make one – I HAVE learned that since my past years too!) – and he said, “You need to start doing things for HARRY, too!”.  People have told me that forever, and I have listened, it is just hard advice to follow.  WHY?  I’ll tell you why the people, so many people are out there that need a little encouragement, need a friend, simply need more people thinking of others than of themselves.  I just need to be a person that is someone that pushes the buttons to make sure others feel better, I dunno, that is the way I am wired.  I did pick that up from my parents, My Dad, gosh, a wall of silence yet an army of giving to make other’s feel better and be better.  My Mom, always worried I did too much and would wear myself out. Yet, somehow, going into education became the eduction itself for me. My amazing students kept me recharged, invigorated, and made me always feel as if I could provide them something that could make the pick themselves up, dust themselves off, and keep on going.  In themselves being able to, so could I.

I know at some point, if I felt I was not being dealt with honestly, or being given a fair shake, I could walk away from a job, from people, from situation, that did not treat people fairly, because somewhere in thee, those categories represented me, my family, my friends.  I have never regretted that trait, and my students silently support me in their success, and I have grown to love them, even as they grow up before my eyes.  They go on to be married, be teachers, go to the Naval Academy, they get accepted into colleges where they thought they might never go to college, they study science, yet despite the worldly evidence of their success, I continue to become stronger, and richer, as I see they become stronger.  It makes me sad to see them move on yet I am lucky that I never truly lose them.  They became a part of me along the way, and if I am super lucky, hopefully something of my craziness rubbed off on them.  Because…that means part of my family still lives.  That is important to me.

I see this reflected back at me in many ways.  Certainly the comments like las night shock me and make me stop in my tracks and question, “I made an effect like that?”, and I realize I am lucky to have had a chance to try and make their life a little better, it makes me feel selfish and egotistical, and I worry I let it go to my head, so I head back and try to do a few more things for others so people know, just to be safe, I am not in this for fame or glory, but to make sure they can achieve a sense of security they deserve, as they have given me.

I am lucky, maybe sometimes stretching the dollar from paycheck to paycheck, but in the reality of things, that is so secondary and minute compared to living a successful and happy life.  It took me awhile to realize that.  Actually, it took some awesome people that have become my family aside from my current family to realize that.

It gets easier to reveal secrets and regrets to these close units of individuals, and I have noticed, easier to give back to more and more people, when you carve out a place for yourself.  I see it in my amazing students, friends, family, the endearing eyes of a dog or cat, or any animal when you see you are providing a home, they are o grateful for just being safe and taken care of, people are not that far off from pets that love you, just without the words I have noticed.  Yet, you now the obstacles and people that are so into themselves,their money, their power, their own success as the risk of other’s – and the people that complain.  OHMYGOSH.  I realize I can’t stand to be around complainers, egotistical people, people so into themselves, they fail to see despite the bad things, they need to share a portion of happiness with someone else, I don’t have time for people that can’t realize this.  Mainly, because I respect the people that have made me fell so good, and I am not willing to let those people down – I have come too far and so have the people that have done good.

I also feel sometimes I have seen so much, students hungry, physically, academically, socially, and yet, so excited when they find their way.  They just need a helping hand, not a complaining or into themselves friend.

I find myself seeing this sometimes is all so emotional, all so powerful, I need my own space to absorb it and take it all in, just to learn how to make things work for others, as well as myself.  But in the process, I always am able to realize the impact others have had on me, and lucky to have been able to give something back to them, this makes me feel good and worthy.

Out of this, and reading the text I read above, I found so many cool quotes in Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, by Benjamin Alire Saenz, and it brought me all these thoughts, and yet I did not see may of these event coming either.  At the end, I realize, the one boy , who definitely likes others boys, yet the other character, who definitely likes girls realizes, he likes the other boy, which is a source of his anger throughout the book.  This shocked me.  I did not see it coming at all.  I never truly read a book that dealt  or discussed the issue of a man to man relationship.  Yet, I realized this, I have met and had many friends that are gay, and wouldn’t it make sense that there would be books on the topic?  Duh….yet, whether you agree or disagree with this issue, I could be too thickheaded to not see the amazing plot that was in this book with some amazing quotes about life, and just be disturbed with one aspect of this book.  I was not, I love this book, yes, I love women, yes, I know many people that are gay, and yes, I want to have a classic truck with surfboards on the side as my main vehicle, I love pizza, I love chocolate, I love the sound of the beach in the mornings, I love reading meeting people, writing now that I have time, I love my friends.  It is so important to look past little things that might bother you, and be grateful for the things that make us better people.

I am lucky for so much, and am lucky to have had so much great family, students, and friends that push me to be a better person every day.  All this from one quote from a student, that well, to be honest, I love the idea of a capping ceremony, where a student picks, a teacher that has influenced them so much they ask the teacher to do the the honor of placing the graduation cap on them as they graduate, SUCH a cool honor.  But, I am not sure what I would do if I was asked that, I mean, I already have felt so much emotion seeing my past students graduate, I love them for it.  In this case, being told I was even thought of for such an event, and then the words that spilled out I shared with you, wow, that was a much larger honor and I did not know how to possibly say, how much those words meant, so it was better to be told those words than the idea of the ceremony itself.  Amazing, life, but even better to have those around you that help you realize it.  😉

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About Harry Brake

Employee of ASF in Mexico City, Librarian, Media crazy! :)
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One Response to Life…Amazing and unpredictable…

  1. Harry Brake says:

    From another student who is well, quite an inspiration for others and is way too sweet…:)

    Reading your blogs made me think of this. There’s an old Vietnamese saying that says, a teacher not any more different than a parent. They teach you, care for you, watch you grow, and help you become a good person. You are the perfect example of this. While I have had teachers that really do not care about their students, you are are the example of a teacher who also plays the role of a parent. You do so much to help your students, working countless hours to help each and every one of us accomplish our goals. We never really did help you as much as you helped us because everything that we did to help you was also a learning experience for us students. Planning, organizing, and volunteering at an event with you gave us a learning experience and skill that will help us in the future. So thanks for everything that YOU did for us.

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