Do What You Love · 14 March 2008

I love my job. I love to wake up early and go to work in the morning. I love getting ready for the challenges of the day. I love to teach high school students a little about engineering and computer programming and hopefully a bunch about life. I tell my students that if they do something that they love, they will never work a day in their lives. I tell them that there are not very many jobs that pay enough to compensate for the misery of life when you hate your job. And then I tell them my story.

I have been teaching and/or coaching since I was about 16 when I coached soccer for the younger of my two brothers. When I was in college studying engineering and after I graduated and was working as an engineer, I helped lead the high school youth group at our church. During all that time, I never considered that teaching might be my calling. I just enjoyed being with young people and helping them grow to be mature adults. (Some might argue that I tried to help them grow up to be immature adults but that is a different story.)

After being an engineer for a few years, I realized that I was existing for five days a week and really living for the one or two days I would see my kids. I was not enjoying my job but I was enjoying leading and teaching high school youth at church. So I decided that I needed to make a change. I decided that I was being called to become a teacher.

Now, I have been teaching for longer than I was a practicing engineer. I still tell my story to students so that they understand that I follow my own advice. I follow my dreams. And when I read or hear about others who made changes to follow their dreams, I like to share those stories too.

I recently read what Frank McCourt wrote about following his dreams throughout his life. His March 9, 2008 Parade article, called “We All Can Have Second Acts (And Third!),” was all about him following his dreams and passions. First he followed his dream from Ireland to New York. He had a passion for words and became a teacher and then finally, a writer, winning the Pulitzer Prize for Angela’s Ashes. His story is inspiring not because it is what I hope my life will be but because it is what I have been telling my students for years. Follow your dreams! Do what you love!

Some people say that following their passions will not pay the bills. That was another part of Frank McCourt’s story. He taught so that he could pay the bills. But he was successful because he still got to work with the words he loved. He taught English and helped others learn to write well. He was true to his passion even if it seems that he did compromise just a bit. He was able to follow his dreams and pay the bills.

I love reading about somebody else following his dreams. It is one of my big lessons throughout the school year and even beyond. I let my students (and anybody else who will listen) know that they need to be willing to change. If their dreams change, they need to be able to follow that new dream. They need to be willing to learn new things in order to fulfill that passion. We only get one chance to live our lives so we ought to spend our time following our dreams and being true to our passions. We ought to love what we do.

I hope that my students listen to what I have to say about following their dreams and fulfilling their passions. And if my words and my story are not enough, I hope that they can hear Frank McCourt and others talk about how they pursued their dreams. I love to teach and I love to write. And whether or not I ever get paid a dime for my writing, I will continue to do it because it is something I truly love and one of the things I have been called to do. I may not be a Pulitzer Prize winning author but I hope my students hear the message that at least two people preach. Do what you love!

© 2008 Michael T. Miyoshi

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Published 11 September 2008 in The RiverCurrentNews


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