WISDOM
Max and Wing-Tip Shoes

11/04/2011

Hello Mrs. Cousins:

This is Max.  I am a former student of yours.

I do not think I ever had an opportunity to thank you.  You were instrumental in the successes I have enjoyed in my life.  I was a lost kid looking for someone to understand me.  I wore a hearing aide, which was an anomaly back then.  I was also epileptic and wore orthopedic shoes, which back then only came in one style; wing tip.  Needless to say, for a fifth grader with a hearing aide, wing tip orthopedic shoes who occasionally blacked out in class,  I had some self-esteem issues.  Did I mention my mother dressed me funny?

There were many cool classmates in my class.  These guys were cool, and some were extremely smart.  Then, there I was, the funny looking black kid named Max.  However, you always made me feel just as cool and smart as anyone else in the class.  You never made me feel different.  You just made me feel normal.  That was all I ever needed.  Like many others in the class, you encouraged me to open my mind to the unlimited possibilities that life had to offer.  You made me believe that anything was possible if I was willing to work hard, invest time, and give my best.  You also encouraged us to never try to be better than anyone else, but to never cease to be the very best that we could be.  Those were life lessons.

A lot has happened since.  I am now a doctor specializing in pediatric/fetal neurosurgery.  I am happily married to a wonderful woman by the name of Lisa.

I am happy to say that I have out grown epilepsy as well as the need for orthopedic shoes.  I still have hearing lose in my right ear, but I have adjusted to it.  Now as a physician I realize that although my fifth grade problems seemed to be mountains, they were only pebbles–stepping stones for future successes.

I just want to thank you for being a great teacher.

Yours truly,

Max

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