What Makes You Come Alive?


“Howard Thurman said, ‘Don’t ask yourself what the world needs, ask yourself – What makes you come alive? And go do it because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

– Sean Aiken
TEDx Vancouver, What Makes You Come Alive

Several weeks ago, I had the chance to see my former students. Though I felt like I was mobbed like a teenybopper star, I realized how much I missed them. In the middle of keeping my balance, pulling my sleeve and avoiding deafness from their squeals and shouts of, “Ms., what’s my name?!” – I was overwhelmed with their affection.

Later that afternoon, I fondly recounted the details of my visit to a friend. I told him in amazement how much my kids have grown and how delighted they were when I would be able to say their names. I candidly said, “Siguro hindi nila alam kung gaano ko sila kamahal, ano?” (I guess they don’t know how much I love them.) His reply was, “Yup, they don’t know how you always watch their videos and look at their pictures.”

And it was in that brief moment that I realized how much I really do care for those girls. Yes, it’s true – I would watch their videos and photos in the same way some parents would repeatedly watch home movies of their children. (Oops. :p)

What Makes Me Come Alive

“The people who are the most passionate about their work are the ones connected to the meaning behind it. The actual job isn’t nearly as important as their relationship with it. They need to show up to work every day because they contribute their gifts and the world is made better because of it.”

Sean Aiken’s TED talk entitled What Makes You Come Alive reflects how I feel about my work as a teacher. I strongly believe that a school’s most important role is to let individuals discover who they truly are so they can love themselves fully and honestly.

I loved being a homeroom adviser because it gave me a lot of opportunities to get to know my children. I liked to hear them talk about themselves – what makes them happy, sad, angry, what activities they like to do, what games they like to play,  what makes them laugh and the list goes on. I witnessed all these firsthand and I was humbled with the amount of trust they had given me. It was precisely because of this trust that I was moved to help them explore their dreams and desires.

In a few months, after two years of being behind the scenes and watching schools from the outside, I will (hopefully) have the chance to do that again. 😛

It’s now March and this means that most teachers (in the Philippines, at least) are nearly at the “finish line” of the academic year. I’m sure at this point, every teacher I know is slowly willing himself or herself to take the last few strides of the school year. For all the teachers taking their final leap to the finish line, I leave you with a little something from John Lennon:

“There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, acceptance and excitement. We need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others or our potential to create. Evolution and all hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and vision of people who embrace life.”

This is for all teachers who have helped their students love themselves, stay in love, embrace life and become fully alive. 😀



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