Sometimes in life -- especially when you're a youngster -- the path of your ultimate journey isn't exactly crystal clear. Then, someone will come along and shine a light on your destination.
I can't say I was ever overly zealous as a young student about English and writing, but then a kind word or a simple warm gesture can end up shaping your entire future.
Mrs. Borden at Harrison Hill Elementary School assigned her 3rd grade class an assignment to write a fictional story about whatever -- or whomever -- they wished. They could even draw their own illustration to accompany the prose, if they liked.
I made the brave decision to create my own superhero, WeatherMan, who had all the powers of the elements at his command. I spent all night at home, lying on our orange shag carpet in front of our family's black-and-white TV, crafting my composition. With the help of my oversized pencil, and my elementary-ruled notebook paper, I scribbled down a whole 2 pages of clumsily-written text.
I'm sure she'll be impressed, I thought. Just look how long it is! Of course, my confidence was thin, at best. Would it be good enough? Will anyone but me like this crazy tale of a new character?
Then, Mrs. Borden did the most amazing thing in class the next day. She hushed the chatty classroom for a moment; "Students!" she announced, "I'd like to read to you the most outstanding story from your assignment the other day."
She read my story aloud to the whole class. And my classmates actually quieted down and listened to the whole thing.
It was the first time I can recall feeling the power of my written word. I was proud. I was exhilarated. And I wanted to do it more.
Now, even today, when I write anything that elicits emotion and reaction from somebody, I get that same feeling in my gut.
Pride; excitement; accomplishment.
So, thank you, Mrs. Borden. Thank you for instilling in me that love of English, that affection for writing, that desire to connect with people through the written word. Your kind gesture just to read my story aloud made all the difference in who I am today and what I'll spend the rest of my life doing.
From Michael W. Morrissey