January 23, 2008

Just One Step

tanya1.jpgOkay, I know it sounds like I watch a lot of tv.  Maybe I do.  (I love that about me!)
But who else saw Oprah’s Martin Luther King special this week? 
They interviewed Los Angeles school bus driver, Tanya, who covered a rough part of town.  She talked about how she could see these inner city kids struggling, getting suspended and kicked out of school.  Her heart went out to them. 
And she started talking to them.  She smiled at them; learned their names, gave them hugs when needed.  Just little things to give them encouragement. 
As her relationship with these kids grew, she asked to see their report cards.  Tanya said she was shocked to see that most of them were failing.  She asked how it was they could be failing when she drove them to school every day! 
With a little encouragement, and I’m sure having someone who genuinely cared and expected something new from them, 54 of her students’ grades improved within five weeks. 
As a reward, she drove them on a field trip to a marine biology cruise just outside the city.  They LOVED it!  She said some of the students pulled her aside and said they didn’t realize this world existed outside of their lives.  That’s when she was inspired to take yet another step.
Tanya plunked down every dime of credit she had to buy her own bus to take even more teens outside their crime-ridden neighborhoods.  Just to encourage them to learn and dream more than their current lives allowed.  This little step here, another step there, eventually turned into a big thing, where other bus driver volunteers joined her to start an organization that does this all over America.
I retell this story here because I love how it started.  Small. 
She took a step here, a step there, in the direction her heart led her.  She didn’t just sit on her bus fuming about how something more needed to be done for these kids, or dreaming about how if only she had a big foundation she could somehow help them.  She asked how they were doing.  She learned their names.  She gave them hugs.  She cared.  They responded.  It grew. 
I love this story because of how simple she made it look.  How simple IT IS.  And how the Universe helps us get where we want by just taking a little step in the direction that feels good.
What step are you taking today?

  • It IS amazing what incredible differences we can make in the world by just taking one small simple step, like calling someone by name, or offering a smile, or sharing kind thoughts on a blog post. : )
    Thank you, Zannie, for reading and for posting! I’m looking forward to hearing more from you!

  • zannie rose says:

    I used to work in a centre for homeless people.
    One day a young man came in to see me for advice, I took his case, filled in a form to get the ball rolling for a new home. He was using crack too, and seemed v depressed. he came back to the centre a few days later and I happened to be at reception, I said ‘hello colin, how are you today’ I dont usually say people’s names ..but that day I did. He seemed amazed that I remembered him, and remembered his name. I can well see why the simple act of taking time to learn the childrens names would be the first seed of light. I am so glad to read this post. It touched my heart
    zannie rose

  • Wow, Holly! Sounds like you’ve got an Oprah story of your own in the works! I suspect you don’t have to stretch your imagination too far to feel the gratification Tanya’s feeling.
    Nice to be doing what you love in the world, huh? Good for you!
    I admire those whose calling is with children.
    Thanks for posting here, Holly! I’m glad to know someone else who Tanya made an impression on. 🙂

  • Holly says:

    I saw this show! I’ve been thinking and talking about Tanya ever since. Talk about inspiring – and I had just started an after-school club at the school on my street a week before this show for the sole purpose of needing to feel more joyful through doing what I love – working with kids. I can only imagine how gratified Tanya feels by doing the work she started.

  • You know what I realized, Flavia? We already ARE taking those steps – in some way. I mean, when Tanya started hugging kids, she probably had no idea what that would grow into. And here we are hugging something in OUR lives, that I’m sure we have no idea what IT will lead do.
    Or maybe we do!

  • Flavia says:

    I’m with y’all. I had inspirational tears as well. Thank you for sharing this story. I abslutely LOVE it!

  • Well said, Nicholas!! Yeah, it certainly wasn’t making the news when Tanya was just smiling at her kids and learning their names. One simple step! Amazing where it leads us when we continue to follow what feels good, huh?
    Thanks for letting me know I’m not the only one who cries at stories like this, Nicholas. lol Your post is much appreciated!!

  • Nicholas says:

    Stories like these always bring me nearly to tears. I know, I’m a big sap and all, but I dearly love to see people doing the little things that make such a difference! It’s absolutely inspiring.
    As for me, thus inspired by stories like that popping up all over, I’m finding little things to do to improve my world, and learning to manifest good things as I go. What I’m finding to do so far has been nothing to write home (or you) about, but that’s probably an indication of a good place to begin.

  • Susie, I’m not surprised to hear that you and I were watching the same show and had the same response to it! Chalk it up to another one of many things we have in common!! lol
    Thanks for posting, girlfriend. Looking forward to seeing photos of you in your new place!

  • Susie Beifuss says:

    I saw this show and it was powerful!!!! Way to go Oprah!!!!!! The true meaning of the holiday!

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