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Sunday, August 18, 2013

"Just a Thought" Column continues in La Prensa of SA, 8-18

Just a Thought: “Making a Difference”
By Steve Walker

Wallowing in nostalgia for 3 weeks reliving youthful memories from back in the day, let’s move on to a pressing question many of us grapple with on an ongoing basis. The question is “Am I making a difference?”

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.”

In a quick synopsis, a depressed Bailey prepares to jump from a bridge, his guardian angel Clarence intercedes, shows George what life in Bedford Falls would have become for the residents of Bedford Falls if he had never lived.   

Sometimes like many others, I wonder how my life has made an impact or difference on others as well. I do believe most of us have entertained that thought more than once at one time or other.

How many times have you heard a young person say that they wanted to be a doctor, nurse, policeman, or firefighter to be able to literally save lives and “make a difference?” Maybe you at one time said that also.

In my case I wonder if I did a good enough job to affect my students in a positive way. I would like to think so. When I go on Facebook for example, I have been able to connect with a number of my former students who are now parents and even grandparents. What amazes me is how kind most of them are with me when we message back and forth and catch up on our lives.

I get to hear about their families, where they have been, what kind of work they do and on and on. On at least two occasions when one of my former students shared with me what they now do for a living, I remind them I vividly recalled them back in the day telling me their dream was to do exactly what they are doing now and “making a  difference.”

That makes me feel that I did my part and made a positive impact on their lives. A number of them are doing great things and ‘making a difference” in other people’s lives as well. I hope I contributed to their success. One of my former students is a County Judge who I taught when he was 12 and in the 7th grade.

When I was a Justice of the Peace I jokingly reminded him that if someone appealed my decision in my court and appealed to his court, not to overturn me. He laughed and said, “Take it to the Court of Appeals Judge.” Later he told me he received two cases from my court but 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 that verdict.

When my former students ask me questions like, “you remember in class when?’” validates me as a teacher like so many other teachers trying to ‘make a difference” as well.

Hopefully writing a column for La Prensa makes a big difference too. Only you the reader can decide that one.  

Anyway, as always, what I write is “Just a Thought.”

Steve Walker is a Vietnam Veteran and former Justice of the Peace and Journalist.

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