Just out of college, I was at a turning point in my life, making some big career changes. A wealthy woman, who befriended me, looked me right in the eyes and said, “I believe in you.” Those words were powerful. They stuck in my heart. Today I can still see her looking down at me from her front door and leaving me with that parting comment. As an educator, I tried to instill that truth into all of my students. I had a professor at college who taught all of her future teachers that all people have gifts. Sometimes it may be difficult to see it, but they all do. I had many students who were not academic geniuses, but they were great at other things like P.E. and helping. I rewarded and encouraged those students. It was their gift. Not everyone is going to college, or should they. It disheartens me to see that extracurricular programs at schools have disappeared. The middle school that I taught at had a wonderful electronics program, wood shop, sewing class, great art instruction, and cooking course. Those students got a diverse education. My high school’s auto shop program has disappeared into a nature center. While working out in the general public, I have encountered very successful people who didn’t go to college, but were hard-working and gifted in other areas. I have seen small businesses prosper like paving companies, deluxe pool builders, and marketing inventions. Academic genius or not, my hope for all students is that their gifts may be used to become producers to help others.
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