My Pesky Friends · 19 February 2011
One of my friends and faithful readers (real, not imaginary) said that he does not get tired of Christmas stories. He was mainly commenting about the piece I wrote in late January about Christmas Mornings. We chatted about it some and then he challenged me. He had that silly grin on his face (the one that says, “I double dog dare you”) when he said I should do one a month. I will probably take him up on the challenge, but this is not the piece for February. This is about him and my other pesky friends who constantly challenge me to be better. With their double dog dares and other underhanded methods.
If you have been following me for very long, you have heard of all three of my pesky friends. I work with two and one is my brother, Russell. There certainly are others, but these three are the peskiest.
My first pesky friend (and perhaps the peskiest) is called R by everybody except maybe me. I only call him R in this blog when I write about him. We used to talk almost every day about school, kids, surgery, and even God. I miss those days of constant contact. But he has been moving on up in more ways than one. His classroom is on the second floor now and he is doing an internship to qualify him for being a principal. Because of his new location and his new responsibilities, we do not get to see each other as often. Or challenge each other as often as we used to either.
Recently though, R got an office, and I get to see him more again. Which means we get to challenge each other more. One of the things R does for me that he does not even realize is that he challenges me to write better. He and his wife are faithful readers and even point others to my websites. So when R says he likes what I put out on the internet over the weekend, I feel like I need to put out something worthwhile. When I really think about it, R and his wife are two of the people I write for since I know they will be reading each week. And giving me feedback on Mondays. In a nutshell, R is pesky not because he challenges me with that “double dog dare you” grin, but simply because he is there. And because he reads.
The second of my pesky friends is Tim. (On considering it further, he might be the peskiest since I do see him every day.) He is the one who challenges me to write and put myself out there for public scrutiny each week. He helped me get my domains. He gives me books to read. He throws me prompts for scripts and tells me to write. We talk about writing and publishing and corporate branding all the time. The funny thing is, unlike R, Tim never reads my stuff. Even though he often gives me ideas by pointing out interesting topics, and just by being himself.
I have written about sayings on Tim’s door and him giving me the impetus to “Just Ship It.” I am sure that I have mentioned him here on my blog more times than anybody outside my family. Still, he does not read much of what I write. Even when it is about him. It does not really matter though. We are great friends and we chat all the time about our respective passions, one of which is teaching. We talk about school and how we can help our students more effectively. Tim is pesky because he loves to give me challenges to be better at what I do. With his words, actions, and sometimes with a silly grin like R’s.
My third pesky friend is my brother, Russell. (Undoubtedly, he is really the peskiest just because he is my brother.) Unlike my other two pesky friends, he does not get that silly grin on his face when he is challenging me. Or if he does, I cannot see it because he is usually a couple thousand miles away. Mostly, he challenges me to be the best person I can be. He still looks up to me after all these years and I do my best not to let him down. As a matter of fact, he called me up the other day just to tell me that he was proud of me for following my dreams and pursuing my passions. He had heard a story at a retreat his company held that reminded him of me.
Russell relayed the story he heard of a songwriter who was told by friends that he should join the real world and forget his big dream. Forget his passion. But instead, the songwriter forgot his friends and went off to Nashville to pursue his dream. He lived in obscurity and had little money (like most people who pursue their dreams wholeheartedly), but he was doing what he loved. He eventually got his financial rewards, but he had always been successful. Just because he had thrown everything he had into his dream.
Russell said that the story reminded him of me because that is what I do too. I love every day in the classroom and I love to write. I may never achieve any notoriety or fame or financial gain from either endeavor, but it has never mattered to me. I love what I do and would do it even without pay (pretty much). My pesky brother reminds me that I need to be the best I can be because people are watching. Or at least he is.
I love my pesky friends – R, Tim, Russell, and those other pesky friends and family members who are not mentioned here. They all challenge me. They make me want to be a better teacher, writer, and friend. Mostly, they make me want to be a better person. I like having pesky friends to help me through life. They are great companions to have along the journey. I give my thanks to all my pesky friends. I hope that everybody has pesky friends like mine.
© 2011 Michael T. Miyoshi
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