April 1, 2008

Three Cups of Tea

I am reading a book called Three Cups of Tea, by David Oliver Relin about a man named Greg Mortenson, who after failing to summit K2 stumbles into a small village in Northern Pakistan called Korphe and promises to build the people of the village a school. Reading this book coupled with my friend Jason’s work with his school the Daraja Academy has got me thinking. What am I doing? What is my purpose?

The last few days have been a series of intensive soul searching journeys for me to find out the answers to these questions. While it may appear that I am being a bit melodramatic about the whole affair, I do take my life goals and plans very seriously. I have never wanted to simply live your average middle class life. Even as a kid, I imagined that I would do bigger things. I imagined that someday, someone would write books about things that I had done, or better yet I would write them myself.

While I am not shy about admitting that I have had my share of self aggrandizing feats, I still feel like my life is building. I haven’t done enough.

That is when it hit me; tonight, here in bed, as my wife lay sleeping reading about how this guy Mortenson had a huge set back in his plan, and his girl friend dumped him I realized just how alone and miserable he must have felt in the Richmond district of San Francisco. I felt sorry for him. He was not some hero out changing the world. He was a mortal who was broken. I felt connected to him.

I guess what I am trying to say is that we needn’t change the world all at once and all alone. We can allow it to change us, back and forth, until we become something we can recognize and live with. I have been racked with guilt that I came to Doha to make money, and that being fired was the price I paid for turning my back on my true nature to work for an oil company school, but my true nature is to simply be the peace that I want to spread. The kids I interacted with here needed education and guidance just as much as the kids in Kenya or Korphe. And I was, until they pulled the plug, getting through to them.

I am a teacher. That is what I was born to do. I was put on this earth to interact with people and try to better understand each other. I prefer working with young adults, because that is the age I felt I needed someone most, eighth grade to be specific. I am realizing that I do not need a classroom to teach. I simply need to be the peace I seek here and now. Where ever I am, interacting with whomever I meet. I am not angry at myself or others for how they perceive my actions. Perhaps there is a hint of hostility in the way I see the world, and that is where I need to start the change.

I may not be building schools in Pakistan or Kenya, but I am on a path that will lead me some place worth being. Actually this very path, my journey is in itself the most amazing thing I will ever experience. And if there is no one there to write the book about it when it is done, you could say you were reading it here all along.

End note: For all the edubloggers out there, here is my question. This was originally written for my personal blog, as a way for me to sort out my thoughts and share my thoughts with the small community of people that I have built there, but I also see the value of posting it here. This is where I am having a hard time separating private from professional. Wouldn't other teachers or perhaps parents who would read a blog post like this not benefit, from seeing this side of a teacher? I guess I will just double post till I figure it out.

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