M. Richard Horrell-Schmitz
Do I matter? Do I make a difference? Who will remember me? Haunting questions we sometimes, some more often than others, ask ourselves.
To be honest, one of my biggest fears in life is that when its all over I will not have done anything “real.” That I will have used my life as some kind of waiting-room where I have sat around and breathed up oxygen, eaten up resources, taken up space and then just left…
A couple of years ago I taught a three-week mini-course on Star Wars–stop laughing… really, I am serious. At the high school at which I used to work, I taught Star Wars: A Look Inward where I helped students examine the historicity of the original trilogy. We studied the hero’s journey and compared it with that of Hercules and others. We talked about the idea of forgiveness, or atonement, of damnation. We even compared the Empire to the British Empire and their uniforms to Nazi Uniforms. Basically we went wherever the students took the class.
One student, discovered the important idea that Obi Wan had to leave so that Luke could become the hero. It is a well worn literary device to write a young orphan (insert Clark Kent, Peter Parker, Hercules, and, in this case Luke Skywalker, etc) istaken under wing by a wise older mentor (Jor El’s teachings in the crystal fortress, Uncle Ben, the Centaur, Chiron, and Obi Wan Kenobi) who later dies, leaves, becomes one with the force. (George Lucas has atested to this writing strategy, however, this student discovered it on her own.)
What does this have to do with anything? Well, the student who figured this out, Janessa, wrote a blog about me entitled, “Mr. H: My Obi Wan Kenobi,” in which she makes the comparison between my teachings and Ben Kenobi’s.
Luke was a young kid when he was suddenly thrust into a world he didn’t know. Janessa, my former student, was hearing until she became Deaf at age twelve and suddenly in a world she didn’t understand.
Luke needed to confront his own demons before he could face his destiny. Janessa needed to face the reality that her hearing past was not a part of her future and get past that to face her destiny.
Luke met Ben Kenobi–a mentor who helped Luke to discover his inner strength and then died leaving him to mold himself into the hero. Janessa met her first Deaf teacher who helped her discover her inner strength and then moved on so that she could use that discovery to mold herself into her own hero. And that was me.
I want you to read it on her page. Not because it is about me. Only partly because its about Star Wars, which makes it SO much cooler… Read it because it reaffirms that we DO matter. The little things we do CAN and DO have an impact on others, even if we are only in their lives for as little as a semester, as in this case.
When you read this, remember that you do matter, that you can make a difference and that you will be remembered by someone.
CLICK HERE to read Janessa’s Blog