Sometimes I can see a reflection of myself in my students. I have more compassion on certain types of misbehavior and I realize I can be just as childish, get hurt just as easily, and cry out for justice just as quickly as them.
I love watching those movies where the heroes triumph over every set back and never give up on their mission. Everything that could possibly and impossibly go wrong does and yet they still stand up, fighting despite the insurmountable odds against them. I want to be like those heroes. Even if every odd is stacked against me, I won't give up.
It was a big challenge for my students who had to write a speech for a competition, and not all of them were as confident as the others. One of them wrote about one of those heroes that never gives up.
Later, when things in the class were getting tougher, I knew he was more like me than I realized. When it was time to hear what others thought about his speech, it wan't very positive. I saw a look of defeat on his face and knew what he was thinking.
"I'm not good at this. I can't do it. I give up."
And how ironic is it that his speech was about a hero that never gives up, no matter what the circumstances may be. So I told that student what I would have needed to hear if it was me writing that speech and hearing those strong criticisms against me.
You wrote about a larger than life character who defeats evil and never compromises on his values. You were encouraged and strengthened by him to do the same and you want the world to know it ... to believe it. Now you can do more than just watch it, hear it, or say it. Now you can live it. You can stare back in the face of criticism and set back and choose to stay standing.
Don't you dare move an inch. Don't you dare give up any ground to a negative view of yourself and drop below the standards of your hero. I know you want to be like the good guy and now is your chance. Stand firm and take one step after another towards your goal.
Don't do it to prove someone wrong or to be someone else. Do it to show the world a faith that can change destinies. This is your calling, your mission and you will not fail. You will stand and you will win. The power to change your heart is in your mind.
Now let me hear that speech of yours one more time.
I love to hear stores of others who never gave up, but when things start going wrong, I'm just like that student of mine. I'm too quick to give up on a relationship, change my direction, or just stop moving forward. A set back is a sign I'm not meant to do something rather than an opportunity to grow even stronger. So I have to make the same choice my student had to.
Do the right thing even if it tears at my pride and humiliates me. It hurts, but what's so important as finishing your race. Those moments of standing your ground and fulfilling your calling in the face of extreme opposition are the exact ones that change the world because they change people's hearts, starting with your own.
Every time it gets tough, I have to choose again. I won't give up. I'm still standing and nothing can knock me down because someone stronger than anything in this world is holding my feet in place.