About a year ago I wrote a piece called “I (Still) Believe in Love” and then I shared it here on my blog on a post called “Be Brave. Still Believe.” At the time I originally wrote that piece I was separated from my husband and we were going through the divorce process. It was tough to think about and at times still is.
However, this past weekend I attended a conference that got me thinking and got me interested in different things. After I got home from the conference Sunday night, I was thinking about what I had heard and learned about. I was also thinking about the writing assignment my students are going to be starting this week. As I began thinking about these things, a new “I Believe” piece began flowing through my brain.
It’s amazing to think about how much our voices can change in just a year:
I believe that each of us has the power to make a difference. I believe that inside each of us there is a voice that will rise up and demand to be listened to when the issues we believe in are strong enough to move us.
I believe that we cannot wait for change to happen, but that we must be willing to take that first step alone if we want to see something change. I believe that we should stand for what we believe in no matter the consequences. I believe that if women were willing to withstand beatings from the police in order to have the right to vote, then I can advocate for one of my students. I believe that if teachers can march in the rain, demanding nurses and librarians and smaller class sizes for their schools – then I can speak up in my community for the needs of my own students.
I believe that the inspiration to guide us can be found anywhere we look. I believe in the power of people coming together to stand together. I believe in the power of the words we write, the power of the words we speak up to say, the power of lifting one another up to see a positive change in our lives. I believe in the words we speak when we speak the truth. I believe in the words we write when we fight for the betterment of society for all.
I believe that if a woman 101-years-old can dedicate her life to seeing change and seeing all people be treated equally, then I can stand up in even the smallest of ways. I believe that if a woman who is 101 can become my hero, then we all have the potential to be heroes in another person’s life. I believe that if a woman, 101-years-old, can spend her life unafraid of the consequences of standing up for her beliefs time and time again, then I too can find the courage to speak up about even one thing I believe in.
I believe that our beliefs are what bring us together – not tear us apart. I believe that our beliefs are what can create common ground if we are willing to explore them. I believe that if we explore others’ points of view, then we become stronger as a society. I believe that if we honor the rights of others, our own rights cannot be threatened.
I believe that we need to stand up ourselves, instead of waiting for someone to stand up for us. I believe that we must take strides forward, and not let ourselves be pushed back.
I believe that it is the voices of the students, of the teachers, of those that support us and not the voices of politicians that will pave the path for the future. I believe that there is more opportunity for growth than we even realize, and it is up to us to embrace the future and up to us to not let anyone take that future from us.