Thank You for Making a Difference

School is back in session this month and the moaning and groaning about not wanting summer to end has begun.

I’m not ready.

It’s too soon.

Summer is too short.

I don’t want to get up so early.

I don’t want to do 
homework everyday.

This is probably similar to what you’re hearing at your house, as well.  All they want is to sleep in, hang out with friends, have sleepovers, and be spontaneous rather than returning to strict schedules.  And who can blame them?  That’s the fun of being a kid and the magic of summertime.

But, don’t forget to share with them your story… you know, the one about that unforgettable person who made all the difference in your life- the one who gave you the confidence to come out of your shell and become the person you are now.

I can vividly remember my special someone.  Her name was Coach Roye.  Fortunately for me, she seemed to cross my path early on and continually throughout elementary, middle and high school.  She coached me in swim team, basketball, and track (along with her wonderful husband).  She taught religion class, PE and science, but most importantly, she was that go-to person that I could confide in when things weren’t going so well or if I just needed someone safe to talk with.  She was the one I went to to share my burdens and get clear perspective.

She listened and helped and coached me in life, not just on the field, court, pool and classroom.  She was that spiritual influence that kept me grounded and walking in my faith.  Coach Roye instilled in me drive and passion to do my best in all that I attempted.  I may not have always been the best athlete, but she made me want to work harder and never, ever give up…through injuries and obstacles.

I recently saw a photo of her- still teaching, coaching and mentoring- still making a difference and impacting young lives.  I thought to myself: What if our paths had never crossed?  Would I have the same passion and zest for life?  Would I have made different choices had she not guided me and given her time so selflessly? Without her inspiration, there is no way of telling which direction life would have taken.  Maybe to a completely different place, one that didn’t include the valuable lessons she taught me…the lessons that made my world make sense.

She taught me that there is great reward when you work hard for something and put all that you have into it.  She taught me that nothing worthwhile is ever easy…that love sometimes hurts, but it’s always worth the risk.  She taught me that friendship is the core of real joy and that keeping God at the center of our lives is essential to living well.

It all comes down to the relationships we form during school, doesn’t it?

So, as I hear back-to-school complaints about having to set alarms early again and watch them reluctantly drag themselves out of bed, I hope and I pray that my kids will find inspiration in an outstanding teacher, coach or mentor this year…someone they can trust that will lead them along the right path now and positively influence their future steps forever!