I recently attended TEDx Mid-Atlantic. One of the speakers, Bob Duggan co-founder of the Tai Sophia Institute, spoke of loosing his mother as a young child. It is hard for me to imagine this moment in a young child’s life, but it is not hard to imagine the response of those surrounding the boy in this death-denying culture in which we find ourselves. The words, though coming from the best of intentions, undoubtedly reinforced his experience of loss. He spoke of a doctor offering a very different view of the experience, one that shifted his relationship to this experience and probably the trajectory of his life. The insightful man said how lucky he was that his mother was now at the hand of GOD, and could protect him where every he was. This little act was profoundly powerful and continues to educate through the ripples it still sends across the Unisphere.
This got me thinking of a sentence that changed my life. I was not the student all of my grade school teachers wanted me to be ~ to say the least. I had the fortunate “accident” of landing for college at the Maryland Institute College of Art which is where TEDx happened to take place exactly 30 years later. My first semester passed with similar pattern of non-performance resulting in a 2.0 GPA. Then, enter Ray Allen, a teacher that lit my imagination and passion for creating like no other since my kindergarten steward Grace Land. I hit each assignment with the delight of a 5-year-old in mud. At one point, mid-second semester he said, “You are responsible, I have a project I would like you to do for me.” I panned the room looking for who he must be talking to. There was no one else there. I had never heard any words resembling those from an authority figure in my life. I realized for the first time that my performance and my capacity were not the same thing, and that it was I who was “responsible” and able to bring them together. From that moment on my engagement in my work and my education lifted. But more powerfully, my image of my self was changed forever.
Many of us have moments like this that have shaped and shifted our lives. If you have such a story you wish to share, post it below and let us know the little acts that changed your life.