But here is the movie I saw- Freedom Writers. It’s great. I think at any point in my life I would have enjoyed it, but because I was trying to make a MAJOR decision, it sank deep into my heart.
Friday afternoon after school I went to the theater with April, we had been wanting to see this movie. Knowing how these movies usually go, we had already prepped ourselves- “I won’t hold it against you if you cry, April”, I said jokingly. She replied, “Yeah, right. I’m so sure I’ll be the one who cries, not you.” She knows me- I’m a crier.
And I did cry. Because throughout this movie, I saw myself. No, I don’t teach in an inner city school, nor do I even teach high schoolers. Truthfully, in the beginning of the film, April and I were mocking the main character because she was SUCH a first year teacher. But soon she changed. And she was me. And those students were mine. In fact, in one flashback scene, two small black boys, about the age of my students now, are sitting on a bench together and I remember thinking, “That looks just like Tony and Gregg.” And just as I make this realization, one of the little boys accidentally shoots himself and dies. Tears begin to roll down my cheek one after the other. These were my kids. I hurt when they hurt. I love them. (FYI- this is one of those blogging moments when I’m sitting alone crying in my room. Just so you know.)
Along with the “but you get summers off” comment that I always get, I hear this too- “you have no idea the impact you are making on these kids”. And most of the time it makes me scoff because I want to reply, “And you have no idea what kind of permanent damage they are doing to me, too!”
But, I saw in this movie, there are so many times when she was making life-long impressions on these kids, but she never knew. They made life choices because of what she taught them, but she never saw it. How many times has that happened with my students? And I just don’t know.
Maybe it hasn’t happened at all- but here is the truth- I have the CHANCE to impact them every day. I want to keep teaching because I want to make a difference. (Call me Capt. Cliche) I think so many people will see this movie and walk out wishing they had that opportunity. I would be foolish to waste a chance to live with and love kids in a life changing way. And somehow, by a hug or a talk or just every day life, they will see Jesus in me. I am the most influential adult in their life for 180 days. That is a BLESSING, not a curse.
Of course, there are parts of this movie that are nothing like me, but throughout the film, the Lord kept using different situations or conversations to remind me that He has made me for this. At least for now. Every scene was a billboard sign from God saying “I MADE YOU FOR SUCH A TIME AS THIS!
It doesn’t mean I’m not going to write. I am. And I hope and pray that this is the year that something cool happens with that stuff. And this also doesn’t mean I’m going to teach forever. Because I probably won’t. But for now, I’m a teacher.
So, to the list of different ways that the Lord leads me and speaks in my life, I can add “through movies”. I think that’s the best $9.50 I’ve ever spent.
God has some funny ways of doing things, but that’s one of the reasons I love Him.