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  • Writer's pictureChristina Francine

Trust Others to Decide Responsibility & Influence by Example, Even During a Pandemic

Somewhere along the line of development we discover what we really are, and then we make our real decision for which we are responsible. Make that decision primarily for yourself because you can never really live anyone else's life, not even your own child's. The influence you exert is through your own life and what you become yourself.

---Eleanor Roosevelt

As another college semester ends, I contemplate how well the students did and examine myself. Did I do the best I could have? Did my students learn from my methods? This semester was different though. The world struggled with life and death because of a pandemic. Still, I had a job to do. I've worked hard to have a positive influence on my children and on the students I've taught through the years. There are many times when I've felt my effort hasn't made a difference. A good mother and a good teacher does their best to shine a light on morals and values, to provide lessons with consequences. Again and again I've had to remind myself they are free to make their own decision in the end. Standing back and allowing them to fall isn't helping them in the end. My job isn't to prevent them from consequences or the curve ball that comes out of no where that wasn't deserved. My job is to encourage them to do their best and to expect difficulties, find strength while their down, and to encourage them to stand once more. This is where they discover who and what they really are. The best lessons are the ones we all struggle with alone. Knowing others faith in us remains, expectations we can rise makes a difference though. I have expectations from my children and from my students. My not saving them relates my faith in them, even when they're not always successful and are down in the dirt.

My biggest influence is by example, and it isn't always the easiest. I fumble. I fall. I disappoint. I fail. I'm angry. I'm hurt. My best isn't isn't always great even when life and people are fair. And graceful? Not so much. Through the years I've tried a variety of ways to teach and have learned that no matter how much I "tell" my children and students something, understanding doesn't come until they see an example. I can tell them how to write an essay, for example, but until I give them examples of essays, examples of distinct parts, they don't really get it. And I'm the same way. How I react to difficulties is being watched and is what is being paid the closest attention to.

When I take full responsibility for who I am, who I choose as friends, make plans for personal achievement, make conscious decisions day by day where I want to go with my life, I usher in adventure such as I've never known. Daily recovery offers the opportunity to participate in the adventure of life. It offers opportunity to share talents, special gifts with those who I share moments of time.

There are lessons I could have taught better, assignments I could have elaborated on further, and expectations I could have made higher. In the end, each one of them made a decision. I encouraged, stayed by their side, but couldn't do the work for them. During this crazy learning time with a pandemic going on, a few of them lost family and friends, didn't have the appropriate technology, had to work to help their families, and had to watch siblings while a parent worked. There is no doubt in my mind they learned something besides how to write academic essays. The best I could do was to teach by example and to hold them responsible. I trusted them, their strength, and hope they've developed and discovered who they really are.


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