I am deeply grateful to be alive and to have fully experienced my life with all the joyful occasions, but especially the challenges and hardships. Why do I celebrate the challenges and hardships? Let me illustrate this with a metaphor. Our lives are like the progression of steps that create various wares of pottery; each of us began as lumps of clay. In the process of becoming a beautiful oeuvre or handiwork of art that lump of clay was pounded, kneaded, spun around, molded, fired, painted and fired again. This process was long and arduous, but each step made the clay stronger and stronger. As with life, every challenge and every hardship makes us stronger and stronger.
I celebrate every aspect of my life as I look back and see how each challenge and hardship I have experienced has made me who I am today! Indeed, I did not enjoy experiencing these trials and tribulations, but I knew I could get through them and be a stronger person because of them. I recall a time in my life when I had to take a profound look at my career as a teacher. I was teaching middle school math at the time. Each day I had planned amazing lessons, which often were not well received by the students who were coming from lower socioeconomic settings and broken home lives. I had to be nurturing first, encourage every positive behavior before I could go on with the math lessons. While working as a full-time teacher, I was also finishing up my doctoral studies.
All that was left to do was edit my doctoral dissertation by adding more current scholarly research to my review of literature on the topic of bullying and cyber-bullying. Or, so I thought. I came to learn from my new dissertation director that I had to redo my study, because it did not meet the perceived criteria. This meant having to rewrite the protocol, the questions and procedures of the study; furthermore, I would have to establish if I still had permission to use human subjects in my study. My new dissertation director advised, “If I were you I would resign my teaching position.”
I was in a quandary. Do I give up my livelihood to finish my dream? After much debate and a heart-to-heart discussion with my principal, I decided to resign my teaching position. Little did I know that soon after I made that decision my dissertation director had decided to resign her position at the university. And, adding insult to injury, all this took place as we entered into a recession. I would not be able to secure another full-time teaching or administrative position as there was a hiring freeze. However, after another couple of bumps in the road including securing another dissertation director, I completed my doctoral program. Triumph, victory, and success! One of the sweetest sounds I have ever heard was when I was first addressed as Dr. Orobko… “Congratulations, Dr. Orobko!” It was music to my soul.
You see, I made the right decision. Today, I am able to do so much more with my freedom to address bullying and inspire others than when I was tied to one school within one school system. Yes, I had taken a mental pounding, as my compressed spirit was kneaded and molded by the challenges. There were times when I felt spun around and under fire; but, I knew that each of these trials were strengthening my resolve and giving me insights to better help others.
Each moment of life we are given is a precious gift, deserving of celebration. We get to choose how to live our lives. We could choose the easier path, the one that is likely to be mediocre and less challenging. Or, we could choose to rise to the challenge of our rivals. I chose the latter in order to seize every moment of my life in order to pursue my dreams. If in this process, I inspire others, then I am twice blessed.
All rights reserved. ©2016 by A.K. Orobko