A Passion for What is Possible

A few days ago I was looking at a picture of my nephew when he was three years old. There was a spark in his eyes, a twinkle, an , a light.

Then I looked at a recent picture of him. The light had become an ember, a dull remnant of what used to be. When did the light go out? I wondered.

I had to ask myself, “What happened? What dimmed the light?”

Then I went to teach a class of high students. I greeted them at the door as I always do. This time, however, I stretched the moment long enough to look more deeply into their eyes. And there it was staring back at me… a relic, a remnant, a reminder of what had been or could yet be…

In that moment I felt the meaning of the words, ‘the eyes are the mirrors of the ‘ more poignantly than ever before. I took a deep breath, stilled my heart and deepened my . The light in some eyes seemed to burn a bit more brightly than in others.

That day I shared the story of . Born into a family of six boys, Lovell rose from poverty to become one of the finest counselors in the U.S. Navy. The story of his trials and tribulations his struggles, defeats and attainments along the way held the spellbound.

(Lovell is on my left and Lanson is on my right in the photo.)

At the close of the session as  the students shared their commitment to action, I could see a spark in their eyes again. Most left the class inspired, wanting to achieve more and become better .

Later that night I was reading The Innovation Secrets of by Carmen Gallo. In it she expands on 7 secrets, the first of which is . She quotes Jobs as saying to a 2005 class of Stanford students on being fired from his own company in 1985:

“I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you . And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.”

That paragraph spoke to my . Our job as is to help students find the passion that lights their fire. If Lovell’s story could get students excited then so could stories of other men and women who overcame obstacles to make a contribution to on Earth.

Below is a site that will give you hundreds of of men and women who made a difference to society. Everyone has a story and students are usually fascinated by heroic tales. Many of the stories on this site are teaching stories that will inspire, uplift and give guidance to your students.

Involve students in finding their hero or shero. Then ask them to look up further works on their hero. Have them do a report on how their hero attained success and made a contribution in their chosen field. Ask them to answer the following questions in their report and come in ready to share with the class.

  1. Why did you choose the person that you chose?
  2. What about their lives spoke to you specifically?
  3. What steps did they go through to attain success?
  4. What were some of the setbacks along the way?
  5. What qualities did they develop in the process?

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