I made a goal the other day to ‘track down someone who has influenced you,’ and I set to it immediately. Now that I have an email address that might be yours, I’ve halted, lost in thought as to what I would say to you if I actually did track you down. Which I might have.
As I wade around in the memories of your beautiful smile and your understanding eyes, I see you standing in front of our classroom, a gentle but firm guide to our little eight year old flock. You lead by example. You explained yourself once and we got it. We understood, because you did. You were direct but sincere, steady but with a tenderness along with it.
You taught me so much that year. You taught me what a responsible and spirited woman looks like. You taught me that good rules are good to follow and that order creates an easiness to life. You taught me that I can forgive myself when I make mistakes and that it’s okay to feel the feelings that sometimes creep in, even if they’re not always positive. You validated me and the person I was at eight. It’s okay to be me, you taught me.
Maybe some of those things I really learned along the way as I walked my road and paved my own paths. But the passion of your spirit has been with me throughout the journey, even if I haven’t always reflected on it. I have always looked back at that year you were my teacher and remembered your lessons. Lessons in compassion, forgiveness, forward thinking, drive and diligence…and the biggest, the lesson of your passion itself. I will never stop learning and growing. You transferred your passion for that to me.
So as I reach out to you, Mrs. Peel, the one thing I want you to know is that you changed me. Your passion for life, for learning and for sharing stuck with me. Sure I’ve developed further and grown more beyond your little classroom, but it really started there. So thank you. THANK YOU. Your positive and engaging ways are still with me today.
Pictured, the gate to Strawberry Fields, the area where John Lennon spent time as a child.