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My son's story

My son's story

In the course of our travels through life it's a commonly accepted fact that the things that bring us the greatest joy can often bring us the most troublesome worries as well. My son, Aria, was born about two months ago, and the great joy my wife and I experienced was matched only by the anxiety we felt when he came down with a strong fever. After a call to the doctor and a recommendation to check into the hospital and some x-rays, we found our son was stricken with a bout of pneumonia. Being only six weeks old at the time, we were terribly frightened about his prospects.

But after some time in the hospital, the doctor explained that we could take him home as long as we take a specific antibiotic to administer to him because he needed it right away. So, we rushed down to the pharmacy to pick up the prescription and be on our way, but as it turned out, they were all out of what we needed. Not one to be deterred, I decided to set out onto the next pharmacy and perhaps they would be able to fill the prescription.

As I was getting ready to leave, however, I notice behind the counter a young woman, perhaps 25 years old. I'll never forget that her name tag said, "Sarah," and before I had a chance to turn around and leave, she asks me, "are you Fariborz?"

Being preoccupied with my son's health, I had no time to discern how she knew this, and at my first impulse replied, "yes."

She then told me that when she was 10, she took karate lessons from me, 14 years ago. After our pasts had connected and my thoughts went back to my son, she asked me what I was there for. I explained the situation and she affirmed that, yes, they were out of that particular medicine, but she offered to call around to other pharmacies to see if they had it in stock.

After a round of phone calls that lasted half an hour, it turned out that every pharmacy in the valley was out of the same medicine, and in my head were echoing the doctor's admonition, "get this medicine to the baby within a couple of hours." Buther meticulous assumption of the task at hand translated into ease for me and my family. It seemed that Sarah had made acquiring the medicine that would save my son her own business and I was thoroughly impressed.

But through her resilience, she paged, and found our doctor and when briefed on the situation at hand, he revised the prescription and gave us a substitute.

We sometimes don't know how effective we're being as martial arts teachers. Perhaps the students learn well, and accomplish their goals, but we are not really aware of the full impact we've had on them. A black belt earned is no indication of how the student will remember his teacher.

But this was one of those moments that I realized how important it is to make sure that each student is given something, some kind of connection with their teacher that they will carry with them and remember for the rest of their lives. If I hadn't made the impression I had on Sarah, I don't know how I would have found the correct medicine for my ailing son in time. But through touching someone 14 years ago in their heart, I ensured that my memory would be recalled with fondness. And even though it took over a decade for that to come back around to me, it did, and it couldn't have been in a more timely manner.

Making a student feel special, and creating a connection is how we, as teachers, create the kind of teaching environment that becomes mutually beneficial. When every student is treated as an individual, learning becomes more than a task, it becomes a symbiosis and a joy for both teacher and student to carry out. So, as each student walks into the school, remember that no other student is like he is, and he will remember that no other teacher is like you.

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