Wednesday, November 26

Inspiration

Yesterday-

Another quiet day at the lodge with a few travelers finding their way home through the mountains of Idaho. As the man in the suit sat down a wonderfully rich conversation filled the room. The two of us started to talk like old friends.

Mike has always been involved with the education system, as well as serving some time in the military. Now, he holds the superintendent position in the area. He told me his story: It was the late 70's somewhere in Oklahoma.

Putting on his tight red shorts (Ohhhh no!) and striped tube socks was the way he started every school day, as a gym teacher in a small town.

Within every school there are the jocks, the smarty pants, the socially challenged, the trouble makers and the kids that fell between the cracks. Toby was sitting in the office possibly for the last time. The principal was getting ready to kick him out of school just four weeks before graduation for fighting. Mike made a deal and Toby was able to stay in school under his supervision. Mike knew Toby had potential, but school wasn't his thing. The kids inspired Mike to coach and teach, Toby was no exception. After four difficult weeks, as Toby crossed the stage, Mike knew that one positive pat on Toby's back might have made a difference in his life. He was right.

Toby Covel was always talking about this one teacher who changed his life. He wished he could tell him how much he appreciated what he did. After years of searching for Mike and finally finding him, Toby's wife and manager planned a special reunion. Less than a month ago, on election night, Toby was receiving the Will Rogers Spirit Award in Tulsa. Mike and his wife were invited to attend. It was a special reunion. A memory Mike will talk about for the rest of his life. Ultimately, this relationship will positively affect many kids. Mike is back in the school system for the same reasons as many years earlier.

Some years after school Toby started to go by the name of Toby Keith and made his way into the country music world. Today, he is still that tough and still a little naughty, hard headed kid from Oklahoma that Mike inspired to stay in school.

As Mike finished his omelet, our conversation came to an end I felt equally inspired to be a better person. There are a lot of Toby's out there never getting that chance in life. There are kids that grow up to be adults, never getting that encouragement, love or support that is needed. I have met a lot of people lately that could have used a "Mike" in their life. I can see them struggling and still looking, maybe even hoping that he/she is still out there. I hope I'm a "Mike" to someone in my lifetime. Don't you?

6 comments:

Tina said...

This is a great story. Adults that take the time to be involved in youngsters lives will always make a difference. Some will get feedback as to how they helped change a life and some will not..but it is important to know that staying in touch with the youth is important for all generations! I'm sure you already have touched many in a positive way as an English teacher...and mother.
Continue to be inspired...:) thanks for stopping by my blog:)

Stacey Moore said...

what a great story! thanks so much for sharing!! being in a school that has little parental support i come in contact with lots of tobys! i will pass it on to the teachers at my school :)

SarahHub said...

I love stories like this! It makes you realize how much you can impact another person...

Jill said...

It's both frightening and inspiring to me to think how many people are teetering on the edge like this. I definitely hope I'm like Mike!

Jen said...

that's a cool story. :) are you in "middle" idaho by any chance? the salmon river area, maybe? i'm from eastern idaho (idaho falls) and its so idahoan to get to meet someone random and have some awesome conversation. alaska seems to be the place to do that, too, but it hasn't happened yet...

michelle said...

What a wonderful story!

I want to be like Mike!