I’ve been thinking about the casts of some of my favorite shows and how they’ve grown up, shown themselves to be talented and hard working, learned by being dragged down in front of the masses, been broken by fast fame or the realization that even talented people have to work hard and hustle. So many of them say or do thoughtless things and its magnified because of “celebrity.” I follow some actors from show to show because I admire the persona they put out or the talent on display or the work ethic that is obvious. It’s inspiring to watch people grow up and grow into themselves.
I’m so lucky that the years between high school and reality—hell, the years I was in high school too—weren’t full of fame or modern technology. My many moments of stupidity only grace memories and journals. That’s not to say I didn’t make mistakes when I was posting in my first fandom (go Sliders).
I make mistakes all the time. I learn from them; I sometimes repeat them and have to learn the same lessons again.
My audiences are limited. I don’t have to worry about people digging up those moments the way my students do when they post mistakes or someone else posts about their mistakes. I don’t have to worry about people labeling me as problematic in a very public sphere since I didn’t come of age while famous.
So, thank you to every person who owns their mistakes and uses them to grow. Thank you to every student who has corrected a thoughtless comment of mine over the years. Thank you to every person who fails at something and tries again with a new approach. Thank you to every person who fights to graduate from high school. Thank you to every person who realizes early that school is not their thing and fights to succeed on their own terms. Thank you to every person who chooses a career in skilled labor, in the hospitality industry, in the service industry, in the entertainment industry. Thank you to every person who works a thankless job to pay their bills and support their family. Thank you to every person who doesn’t choose their job, they just follow their vocation.
Thank you to the teachers and professors who inspired me. Thank you to the parents who made college an expectation not an option (of course, it was affordable and what I needed for my vocation). Thank you to the administrators who taught me how to navigate a classroom and a school (sometimes in the worst possible ways). Thank you to the students who learned what I taught. Thank you to the students who learned the less obvious lessons. Thank you to the parents and guardians who trust that I want to see every kid improve their thinking, comprehension, and communication skills.
Years and decades pass. That we change is inevitable, how we change is not. This year I’m working on remembering that life is a long process and compassion should always be paired with the truths we tell (ourselves and others).