“With Each New Life, I Was Learning a New Lesson…

Wow.  Sometimes, you just have something, a click occurs, your brain’s neurons just race to a point and you just – it just, it is important to be said, but also lived.

When a former student shared a video trailer, due in January, titled, A Dog’s Purpose,           ( side note – released on Friday which was National Dog Day of course has me celebrating every day I am surrounded by some pretty amazing canines.) –   Take in the fact that this student, a smile that could change anyone, every morning studying and taking advantage of everything that came their way – (I am leaving the fact whether he or she, was male or female, does it matter?)  – The personality this individual contained was something we all wished would remain in so many at our school. It is fitting they picked this movie that would move them.

One main theme stands out, The Ones We Rescue, Rescue Us.  Lately, I have felt this so incredibly much, for so many reasons and I think everyone SHOULD feel this every day, the world would change. Amid so many films that serve to destroy, break others done, and out pit good versus evil, I love the fact that a film is coming that helps us dig deep and contemplate how we can make ourselves better, as those around us.

September 11, 2016.  I remember the exact day I was in the classroom and a student ran in and told me what was on thew television.  I stood in disbelief at the replay, and remember a sense of panic, then anger, then revenge, then knowledge and remorse. Stages I realized had surrounded me so much before, and would after but things we have a choice to pick.

Years laters, working at US Investigations, we had a morning where we had a moment of silence, and that event lingered and hurt in my heart as much as the day I remembered this occurred, we all had out own story of where we were (similar to other past events individuals can point to where they were).  I also recalled the moments we trekked to new York City, the very first time we could go to the 911 site and we could still smell the concrete – it I can’t describe it.  I appreciated it even more, this moment, when I travelled and had so many amazing students with me year after year, they helped me reason this out on each visit.  I was lucky and wealthy in the moments they accompanied me. 

Here, in Mexico, as 911 occurred, I was lucky to have all these moments flash back through my day, and I also remembered the moment where my cousin in Takoma Park, MD, pointed out the house of the neighbor that lost his wife in that fateful day, as well as another house down the block, and the same sense of chills, silence, meditation took over as I just wanted to think about all the implications about this.

A few days later, yesterday in fact, we celebrated El Grito, and the sad fact is I NEVER KNEW this existed, while in the states, EVER.  Which is a shame, because would I regret not knowing about it now?  100% – which taught me another mini-lesson, be more aware of the events and individuals around me, and not just contained to one country.  it will brighten my horizons.Because it is not just about the events in other countries we do not know about sometimes, it is the people that will change our lives forever.

I sometimes look back and wonder where I would have been had I never took a simple decision to check out Mexico, a chance to get a fresh start.  AT that time, I needed a fresh start, I was frustrated with the education system and how it missed and passed over so many individuals in need of other aspects, when policies, standards, etc seemed to be more important.  Years later, the individuals that WERE passed over I see being arrested and worse, there is a direct link.

The projects we get involved in, the time we take to invest in individuals that rely ion something more than what is just expected from an assignment, it changes so many individuals, and changes do many aspects of life.  Education, the field, while it can be frustrating, has changed my life for the better.  I am able to see what I value in the world, put it into a project that I enjoy, and can cater it to what others can enjoy, are interested in, and can learn something about the world, as well as about themselves.  There is no greater opportunity that exists.  

I have been surrounded by beautiful images of how to make a situation better ever since the day occurred I decided to pursue education, from the moment I stepped into that professor’s classroom, to today where I decide how I can play teacher. librarian, advisor, and more day to day.  What I did not see back then was how much the students play teacher to me, and how much I grow because of them every single day.  I could spend many days investing in partying here, there, everywhere, living it up for me, and forgetting the majority of time is possible to see and learn a new aspect of myself every day.  I guess that can also happen while partying, (lol) and yet, I can’t get enough of the students that go on to become teachers (more than they are already doing now as students) and seeing where their lives go, what their lives have to teach them, take them, and give back to so many.

All of these images and thoughts hit me from September 11, 2016 to celebrating a Mexican event, Viva Mexico! – El Grito and approaching Independence Day in Mexico.  I am crazy lucky to have the most amazing individuals that were colleagues, friends, students, family, and just so many more that I ever saw coming, and being able to have the sense to open my mind to what will come, even if it meant being afraid, I always have had so many amazing individual supporting me, and those moments stick with you forever if you are with the right people.  With the wrong people sometimes bitter sweet, but you still learn, as if you have a new life. From a shocking and somber event, to a Mexican heartfelt celebration, I had found a tie.

I love when former students post images and events we took in together say, from 2010 and even before that – it makes me feel as if there is an investment that individuals remember, hold onto, and help shape them as they deal with what seems to be insurmountable roadblocks now and int he future.  I had so many roadblocks I never saw coming, ones that broke me down personally, socially, financially, and more.  Yet, students that are now adults, always helped me push through.  Friends I had not talked to for years came through for me, redefining friendship to me.  Grudges I had over family for odd reasons were emphasized as not important, to reestablish those ties because my family was beginning to expand from blood to those who had shared something amazing alongside me.

Independence is so important as a country, and as a young kid growing up, I relished the fireworks, picnics, days of football, or baseball, and just being outdoors, a U.S. Independence was all I ever knew.  And I loved it.  When I became exposed to Mexico’s Independence, and combined with the values I brought and appreciated from the United Stated Fourth of July celebrations, something powerful was created.  I realized the history Mexico had outdated the U.S. by SO LONG, and yet, the two together game me the freedom to realize, how much I had grown, thanks to the amazing students, that have become leaders in their own communities due to some event that resonated with them.  I realized the heroes that died on September 11, 2011 and the heroes of Mexican history had a tie as well, they established some key aspects that went way beyond their own lives, how can we do that?

To see this process of giving your all, then students moving on, into adulthood, and those moments that slipped away too quickly, it is sad, you have to learn to let go, and some students disappeared way before should have disappeared, which taught me even more to appreciate the time we have, and make the most of it, 100%.  I love Mexico so so much for the experiences that have been given me in a moment that I thought I could not go on anymore, I was pretty close to a breakdown as I take what I do in education, and how others perceive it seriously, sometimes yes, too seriously.  However, the values I was brought into, in Mexico, combined with the amazing positives I received from becoming a permanent resident in Mexico – all I can do it point individuals to what made the change, but words often do not do it justice.

Today, a film, No Manches Frida, comes out.  Hysterical and profiling the adventures, and misadventures of someone stumbling into the educational field.  A former student, Pamela, (sorry Pamela, had to do it) is in this film and again, past incidents of her as a Repentino. staff and the struggles she had to work through, and that smile, why do students always have that smile that leads to the next memory? – but proud is an understatement.  Each one of us wants to see then students became later successes. Pamela is one of MANY, but just another point of evidence to show, whether you are in education, science, engineering, architecture, or any field, there are individuals, countries’ beliefs, and moments unknown to you, that will change your life forever, if you let yourself jump out of the same routine, and recognize what is truly around you.

It is more than possible to lead a new life, with each new lesson, no matter if you are 15 or 85, I have learned that already in my forties, my FORTIES?  Where did time go?  But luckily, I have an amazing group of individuals around me, past and present, who remind me of that, and it is always a positive that keeps me moving forward.  As we celebrate Mexican Independence on October 16th, remember the amazing aspects that come with Independence, and remember how lucky we are, no matter WHERE we are.

P.S.  Just in case, the film I referenced of course IS dog related, however, there is one that still teaches us to learn, but for cats  :)


About Harry Brake

Employee of Woodbridge High School, Library Media Specialist, Media crazy! :)
This entry was posted in Film, Movies, Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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