What's going on here?

I've made a commitment: to do one good deed per day. Large or small, it doesn't matter. Self-sacrificing or not, extraordinary or mundane, it doesn't matter. Just one thing every day, that's all.

The more I do good, the better I feel about myself. Truly, to benefit others is to benefit yourself. I hope this journal may inspire others who also yearn to do good. So join me on this journey, if you will, and think about the difference you can make in your own life.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Graduation rice cakes

Today's graduation ceremony at junior high school was especially moving. I'd taught these students since they were in fifth grade elementary. What's more, since I will be leaving come next July, it felt a little like my own graduation. Memories arose not only of students but also of everybody in the town that I will have to say goodbye to. I was more tear-eyed than usual. Meanwhile, the students were bawling.

I never felt much for graduation ceremonies before Japan. I hated my hometown school and felt no connection to anybody but my small circle of outcast friends. And my university was so gigantic and anonymous that a graduation ceremony felt thoroughly, thoroughly meaningless. When I look back at my whole school career, it's amazing that I can only think of teachers who were jaded, insensitive, neglectful, or mean. Most people I know have at least a few memories of teachers who touched them. Somehow I just don't.

But here in Japan I feel different. Working as a teacher, I have much more emotional investment. I love my students, even when they are naughty or unresponsive. So graduation ceremonies are meaningful for me now. I can't remember one where I didn't tear up at least a little.

I hope my students will remember me better than I remember my teachers.

In any case, everyone got to take home some mochi (rice cakes filled with sweet red bean paste). Back at the office, I took them out and was about to bite into them when I had a better idea.

ONE GOOD DEED: Give away my graduation rice cakes to a coworker.

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