By Steve Walker
Periodically I re-read some of my past “Just a Thought” columns and recall with some delight what I wrote. Now beginning my third year of the column, it is not like they go back years, but months. However it is still like walking down memory lane of sorts.
Many readers might remember that for the two previous years before “Just a Thought” I also wrote a weekly column called, “Ask the Judge.” I informed readers on everything you wanted or needed to know about finding yourself in a Justice of the Peace Court. For me I got to be Judge Judy two days a week among other things! Those are positive memories.
In that August, 2013 column, I grappled with the question, “Am I making a difference?”
I wrote, “For us old timers who grew up with the movie ‘It’s a Wonderful Life,’ with actor Jimmy Stewart, (aka George Bailey) the question is about whether or not we make a difference in people’s lives. Hopefully the answer is ‘yes.’ ”
Sometimes I reflect on how my life as a former Judge has made a positive impact or difference on people’s lives who entered my courtroom. I do believe many people from all walks of life have entertained similar types of thoughts more than once in their lives as well.
Having taught in the public school system for 26 years, my students would share with me that they dreamed of wanting to be a doctor, nurse, policeman, or firefighter to be able to literally save lives and “make a difference.” How many La Prensa readers have at one time had those thoughts and never expressed them to anybody?
In my case I wondered in that column if I did a good enough job to affect my students in a positive way. I would like to think so. Even now I still go on Facebook and am able to connect with a number of my former students who are now parents and even grandparents. You don’t know how old that makes me feel!! Back then there was no such thing as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the like.
It is great however keeping up with them and their lives as they share with me about their families, where they have been, the type of work they now do and on and on. I remind many of them how I vividly recall them back then sharing with me their goals and aspirations to do exactly what they are doing now and “making a difference.” Fortunately my memory is still intact!
It makes me feel that I somehow contributed to their success and not their failure. One of my former students is currently running for the San Antonio City Council and another is a County Judge who I taught when he was 12 and in the 7th grade.
When I was a Justice of the Peace he received two appeals of my cases and happily for me he upheld me both times. Maybe I made a positive difference in his life or I made the right decision that he concurred with on those verdicts. Either way it works for me.
No longer a teacher or Judge, I guess I will move on to the next phase of my life and continue trying to “make a real difference.”
Hopefully writing a weekly column for La Prensa makes a big difference too. Only you the reader can decide that one. Si Se Puede.
And as always, what I write is “Just a Thought.”
Steve Walker is a Vietnam Veteran and former Justice of the Peace and Journalist.