At the back of the classroom were photographs of every student in Virginia’s class. They were tacked up in one big circle. In the middle of the pictures was the word BE. Under that BE was what looked to be a poem titled: BELIEVE + BELONG = BEHAVE. Robert read it out loud to himself:
To BE or not to BE depends on what you BElieve. If you BElieve you BElong, then that is how you will BEhave! BE-cause that is what you BE and have. So help others BEhave by helping them to BElieve they BElong. And then, everyone can always say they BE-LIVED!
Of course I immediately thought of the big kid from my workshop who didn’t believe people could change, and how he probably didn’t believe he belonged, and perhaps that was why he behaved the way he did—pushing me away.
I don’t think I’ve ever told Virginia how really proud I was of her. She had a purpose: she wanted to make a difference in younger people’s lives. And look at her now, she was actually doing it! Virginia was doing something very few ever seem to be able to do: she was living her life with a purpose and making a living doing it!