I remember it was on a day like this one – dreary, bleak, and wonderful. The rain started and stopped, but mostly fell steadily just past my fingertips against the front window. The kids were at school and I was supposed to be grading papers, but I couldn’t. My mind was stayed on one student – one Mr. E. Caro. Something was amiss with this young man. He was brighter than the rest – young, but an old soul. Always late to my class. Pretended to be in that group of guys in the back who didn’t care about anything but passing. But I saw something greater.
I was in graduate school and a Teaching Fellow position was offered me. I taught two different courses: Developmental Writing and Technical Writing. I took the position to help pay tuition. Caro was in my Technical Writing class.
It was about the 2nd or 3rd week of classes when I found myself, fingertips to rain-speckled glass, thinking about Caro and remembering those who had cheered me on when I’d lost my way. There was my editing professor at UNT who suggested I apply for graduate school to be a Technical Writer when it wasn’t even on my radar.
There was my friend Merelee who faithfully picked me up for youth group when I was a stubborn 14 year old with a chip on my shoulder.
There was Mrs. B from my 7th grade English class (who lives just down the street now) who urged me to keep writing, even though I made an 18% in her class for the semester because I kept throwing away my perfectly done English assignments to impress a boy. She got my work out of the trash, uncrumpled it, and admired my writing skills anyway.
Something about Caro reminded me of myself. The next time I saw him we had a memorable chat in the hall. I’ll keep that conversation private. Bottom line – he was already bright and capable, but no one bothered to tell him so before. He was never late to class again, passed brilliantly, invited me to his graduation, and we still keep in touch. I cried when he crossed the stage to receive his diploma. He’s an up-and-coming music artist now – rap, hip-hop, R&B. Brilliant musician. He shows up in life ahead of schedule. Always. He is a great dad. I’m so impressed, Caro. I love your passion to succeed.
People can inspire you, but you have to want to succeed. You have to put in the work. You have to do the dang thing every single day and get up every morning and do it again.
Every one of us has a Caro in our lives to inspire, to push a bit, to encourage to do more.
- Who is it for you? Who is your Caro? Do them and yourself a favor and speak up and speak into their lives.
- Who inspired you to be better? Thank the people who encouraged you, no matter how long it’s been. Your thanks may catch them at a time when they need it most.