If opportunity doesn't knock, build a door.I love this quote.  Obviously, it is saying we shouldn’t sit around waiting for life to happen.  We should make opportunities happen for ourselves and others, hopefully good things.  I’m a “doer” who likes to make things happen, so that works for me.  In fact, nothing makes me feel better than knowing I have had a positive impact on someone or something.  Nothing.  That is what drives me.  That is a big part of why I became a teacher.  I love helping other people make sense of mathematics and perhaps develop a love for math.

I like making a difference in other ways as well.  I have volunteered a lot of my time at my kids’ schools in a variety of ways, all of which I do primarily because of how good I feel knowing I helped provide a learning or memorable opportunity for the students or that I helped the teachers in some way.  I have pushed for some changes such as a club that was added at the middle school from which many students will benefit for years to come.  That was time well spent, especially because it’s the only club where there are so many kids interested, it had to be split into multiple sections.  I do a lot of things for my neighborhood, too.  One thing in particular has to do with making the entrance to our neighborhood a whole lot safer to enter and exit.  I feel good knowing it was a result of my efforts and I now have many very appreciative neighbors, some of whom would be happy to help me out in return. In all of these cases and many others, I saw an opportunity to make a positive difference and did.

The thing is, there are so many different kinds of opportunities we can create, big and small … so many opportunities that could make a positive difference.  We just need to look for them and then take the time to make them happen.  There are all kinds of opportunities we can make to be more positive, to be more loving and affectionate, to laugh and smile more, to make others laugh and smile more, to do random acts of kindness, to help those less fortunate than we are, to be more respectful, to be more patient and tolerant, to live a more healthy lifestyle, to do things that make us happy, to set better examples for our kids of what it means to have integrity and character, to teach our kids how to be compassionate and not self-absorbed, and so on.   These are not opportunities we should wait for to come to us. We need to make them happen.

The holiday season is the time of year that we typically think of helping others who are less fortunate than we are, or perhaps we are more inclined to perform a random act of kindness.  These opportunities to make a difference shouldn’t be reserved just for this time of year though.  We should be looking for these and any other opportunities to make a positive difference, no matter how big or small or whether it will impact one person we do know or many people whom we do not know, all year long.

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