Years ago we refinanced our home mortgage to take advantage of low rates. The gentleman who served us was super friendly and helpful.
I saw Hanniff early this morning in a Lowe's parking lot. It was the first time since I signed those mortgage papers. He was beaming as always, eager to engage. Dressed in shorts and a tee shirt, as was I, there was no talk of interest rates or home equity loans. No, Hanniff left banking to pursue his dream. He teaches sixth grade now, Math, Science and Social Studies, in a local school. And he loves it. He is living his dream. He is in love with his life.
As we were catching up, it slowly came back to me. Conversations during our dealings at the bank about his passion for kids and teaching. Courses he was taking on his own, at his expense, to prepare himself. Enthusiasm at the prospect of doing his student teaching. He filled in the gaps from the last time we spoke. Mortgage lending was great, helping people realize their dream of homeownership, but his calling was elsewhere. And he was intent on answering that call to truly be himself.
His coworkers couldn't understand. "Why would you do this?" "All that coursework!" "You won't get a job teaching when you finish." "They don't pay you to student teach!" On and on. But Hanniff was undeterred. He continued to prepare as if it were inevitable. And so it was.
Before we left that lot and parted ways, three people greeted Hanniff. People obviously touched by the positive influence he has had on their children and families through his teaching. One was a father and son, a student who will be entering 8th grade in the fall. A full year beyond Hanniff's tutelage, this young man beamed when he saw his former teacher. And this teacher, a full year later, remembered, still, significant details of this lad's life. Details retained by a spirit of caring and care for a life's work that blossomed at midlife. Details held now in a Be Yourself story that wouldn't be denied.