Shani and I have been friends for two years. Now that may not seem like a long time to you, but in this short amount of time I have learned a few things about how important our friendship is (cue sappy friendship spiel). Shani literally keeps my type A personality under control. She is my sounding board, my friend, my voice of reason, the ying to my yang in affairs that pertain to our nonprofit. Ok, that may sound dramatic, but it is true. If you met us, and didn’t know us, you would shake your head a bit. Our backgrounds, personalities, and cultures are very different. Not that any of that matters, and we are a perfect example of that.
One day, when Shani and I were driving back from delivering pajamas to a homeless shelter that serves women and children, she asked me a pretty profound question: “You ever wonder why you and I are in the position in life we are in and those women and children we saw today are in that situation??” WOW. Long pause. Ummm…. All of the time! We chatted about it the rest of the ride home and then we got lost in our “stay-at-home” mom roles. School pick up, laundry, empty the dishwasher, the kids’ activities, dinner, talk with the hubby, bedtime, bills, maybe a tv show. But I’ve been thinking about this question ever since.
My conclusion is it’s all about teachers. Ok, there are many reasons but I believe this is a big one. Teachers! Not just school teachers. Although SHOUT OUT to all the effective school teachers out there. YOU RULE! It’s our everyday life teachers that shape our decisions and therefore our path. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how we’re looking at the “glass”) some of us have teachers that cross our paths that unknowingly steer us in a direction away from the path destructive behavior. Or for some, maybe towards it.
For example, let’s get back to my friendship with Shani. Shani teaches me so much because she had such different teachers and life experiences than me. Even though we met in our 30s (I’m still in my 30s, by the way) I’m learning more and more from her everyday. As I think about Shani, there are also so many other teachers in my life. My mom, who I spent most of my childhood fighting with only to realize that she may have single handedly saved me from a downward spiral. My dad and his peanut butter crackers (if you read my first blog entry, “Charity Starts at Home”, you would know what I mean). My sister who is a good person, accomplished in her career, and a strong woman – her decision to get a tattoo in a conservative Italian family taught me to be a bit less opinionated. My daughter who taught me that life is short, it’s precious and can be taken away from us at any moment – it is because of her that I try to be as happy in my life as much as I can while I can. The list goes on.
Why am I sharing this question with you? Why am I boring you with a list of my teachers? It is simple. Ask yourself that same question Shani asked me. Why? Because it makes us think of those who are less fortunate. It gets us thinking about being thankful, aware of the good people in our lives and the bad. And it makes us think about what we can do to better the lives of others. Who are your teachers? And who will you teach?