Sunday, July 24, 2016

     Yesterday, I was humbled by so many beautiful birthday wishes, I have to repost a few. The beauty of social media is that you can stay connected to people in your life that you don’t have time to reach on a daily basis. For me, this includes former students of a 35-plus-year teaching career.(That’s well over 4000 people from the age of 20-something to 60-something!) I have watched my students on Facebook over the years as they grow from college freshmen to responsible parents. I see their first homes, their first-born, and I celebrate their first jobs. It is so wonderful to see them dodge life’s potholes and endure life’s challenges. I’ve seen them rise and fall, just as I have and will continue to do, and I cheer them on in my heart all the way. Apparently, they know that, as below are the kinds of comments that touched my heart. 

     A month ago, I left my dear friends in North Carolina to move to Florida. I left kicking and screaming, but like my students, I am rising to the challenge. They must be cheering me on in their hearts because I am thriving and embracing a whole new life. Merci, mes petits gosses!

     Some of my dear friends sent cards, others texted, others called. It warms my heart to know that people care enough to take time in this crazy impersonal world to do something that resonates love—isn’t this “what the world needs now?”

     The other night at dinner, I heard a friend say about a political figure, “We hate . . . . !” I must admit that, although I’ve used that term in my head to criticize some of the current characters on the front pages, I shudder when I hear that word. It is the hatred that is dividing us. It is the hatred that mocks the progress we have made in society over the past century. We don’t have to love each other—maybe that’s too tough an order these days, but we can certainly respect one another’s opinions and not reject people based on their political or religious beliefs. This same friend told me that she met a new couple, and the man would only socialize with someone who was of his political philosophy. How sad. If I did that, I wouldn’t have many friends left.

     Many of the birthday wishes came from people whose beliefs are very different than mine. I embrace and respect them all. I don’t have to agree or even discuss the issues which might divide us. To me, they don’t matter. What matters is the kind of person you are and how you treat others. It matters to me whether you can see another point of view, not whether you hold it.

     Who do you hate? What do you hate? Do you hate birthdays? Not me. I love birthdays. Why? Because every day I get out of my bed is another chance to get it right. How about you? 

     

      

Happy Birthday! I am so glad that I am part of the community that is your students. I am a better person for having spent years learning from you, and am still a student of yours, being inspired to get the most out of every day of life. It is a pleasure to still be in touch with you, know that you are adored by many, and I wish you the best birthday possible in every language!
-Jean-Luc "Douxgie" Goss


Happy birthday Fifi! Knowing you, some sort of craziness will ensue! Enjoy your day!


Happy Birthday Super star!! You are a true blessing to everyone you meet.


Hands down, you were my all-time favorite, fun, and influential teacher. And I'm not just saying that. I hope you get to celebrate wonderful YOU, all day long today, with all your family and friends. Je t'aime! -Chou- choux Neige