My brother, Seamus Kelleher, is a high school drama teacher. He went to university to study theatre and then went to teacher’s college. He writes original plays each year for his students and showcases their amazing talents. Drama and great teachers change lives.
A number of years ago, a father came to my brother’s parent-teacher interview night with his 15-year-old son. He told my brother that although his son was currently taking drama, he thought it was a waste of time. The son wanted to continue taking it the following year but the father disagreed. The father asked my brother to convince him that drama was valuable.
My brother asked what the father did for a living. He said he sold cars. My brother asked if his job included being a good presenter, working as part of a team, using conflict-resolution, being confident, and being able to share a heartfelt story. The man said yes. My brother shared how those skills are taught in drama classes. At the end of the interview the father said he would allow his son to take drama the following year.
The son ended up taking drama for two more years until he graduated high school. He was involved in a drama festival where his play went to the regional finals and he was voted valedictorian by his peers. Then he went off to university to study business, which had always been the plan.
In fourth year university, he contacted my brother and told him that he was currently learning what my brother had taught him in Grade 10 about working with people and giving presentations.
He graduated and took a job in business. But after a few months, he decided that he didn’t want to change opinions, he wanted to change lives. So he went back to school to become a teacher. And he is currently teaching accounting at an elite private school.
I told this story to a group of women recently and one of them said, “That sounds like the background of my son’s favourite teacher.” And it was. The boy who liked drama and was inspired to change careers to become a teacher, was now helping change the lives of his own students.
What a full-circle moment that shares the power of a good teacher and the bliss of following your heart.
Who in your life could use some support or direction? Or what advice do you give to others, but maybe don’t consider for yourself?
As Steve Jobs once said, “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”
If you do what you love, you will love what you do.