I love reality television singing shows. Partly because I can not sing. At all. In fact, singing “Happy Birthday” is a serious struggle for me every. single. time. I’ve always thought it would be amazing to belt out beautiful tunes on key. But it’s more than that. Even though I can’t sing a tune, I feel a connection to the journey these contestants are on. I can relate to their passion, their dreams, their drive. They touch my heart with their stories. It’s a beautiful thing to watch them take huge leaps of courage in spite of incredible and sometimes heart wrenching obstacles.
This season as I’ve watched American Idol, one contestant in particular has captivated me from the moment that he auditioned. When a humble Alejandro Aranda walked into the room it was obvious he was lacking self confidence. However, when he opened his mouth to sing and began strumming his guitar, it was absolutely captivating. In fact, I had to replay the performance multiple times because I loved it so much. The judges watched him in awe and when the song was finished Luke Bryan said, “I feel like I’m in the presence of greatness”. Katy Perry told him, “I think you’re really special. I think you’re an absolute genius.” The look on Alejandro's face when he heard these words of affirmation was a mixture of shock and awkward disbelief. As he walked out of the auditions without a soul other than Ryan Seacrest to greet him, his face reflected pure joy. Immediately my mind flashed back to the hundreds upon thousands of students that have entered my classroom over the years with similar looks of doubt and disbelief. To see splashes of joy as they begin believing in themselves and what they are capable of is indescribable. That’s the magic moment as teachers that we live for. As I watched Alejandro walk away from the judging panel tonight after finding out he was moving to the Top 20, you could almost feel his increased confidence and joy. He turned around and said, “Thanks for believing in me.” Wow! What powerful words.
As I reflect on my own transformative journey, I realize how vital it has been to have people along the way that have believed in me. The truth is when you are chasing your dreams, it can be lonely. Not everyone is rooting for you. Not everyone is excited for you when you win. Those “believers” mean the world to me. They pick me up when I encounter self doubt. They challenge me when I feel like the next leap is too high. They celebrate my victories. They hug (sometimes virtually) and reassure me when I fail and help me to get back up again. They remind me how far I’ve come, and what I’m still capable of. They see me for who I truly am and who I was meant to be. They help me believe in myself.
We all need people in our life that believe in us. Find those beautiful souls; they are special. Be that person to someone else, because there are a lot of precious gems out there that don’t know how brightly they can shine and we have the incredible honor of helping them see their true beauty.
Tech Integration Specialist in Southern Oregon and author of Make Learning Magical. I'm passionate about finding innovative ways to transform teaching and create unforgettable experiences in the classroom.