A Penny For Your Thoughts

by Roy Dimond & Jeff Leitch

“What a wonderful life I’ve had! I only wish I’d realized it sooner.”
~ Colette

Ever wonder why another seems happy and content while you struggle? Do you find yourself so heavy with dread that at the end of the day you are exhausted and frustrated? Perhaps you feel you should be happier than you are, but lack the energy to become the person you want to be.

Then curl up in your favorite reading spot and take a trip of magical realism. Travel through the eyes of a teacher who is searching for possibly the very thing that you are missing. This is the journey to happiness that every man and woman deserves. A hero’s journey from shadow to substance; a quest to find your spirit.

Meander with the unique characters, the inspirational dog, Lab, the patient Ferryman, the surprising Mentor, the all-knowing Gate Keeper, and of course the wise, Spirit Guide. Take this voyage to, in essence, find yourself.


Chapter One


There are no special doors for calamity and happiness; they come as men themselves call them. Their recompenses follow good and evil as the shadow follows the substance.

~ The Thai-Shang

In classrooms everywhere, there is a sacred moment that society does not know. Students and parents are also unaware. Only teachers understand. It does not matter if you have taught for twenty years, or it is your very first day on the job. It does not matter if you teach in an American inner city or a grass hut in Africa. All teachers experience it.

Upon walking into class at the beginning of each year, before anyone else arrives, you are intensely aware of it. Sitting in each desk, thunderous in the quiet, pulsating with excitement, waiting for its child, is a power called potential!

I relish the pure simplicity of that moment. With desks in straight rows, books all in their place, my teacher’s desk uncluttered, there is hope.

So here I sit, looking out over the rows of apparently empty desks expecting another year like any other.

I became a teacher to help others fulfill their potential—but, ironically, I never visualize my own. My life has become all about what others might accomplish. This time, however, something is struggling within and in the silence, it whispers: “Not this year.”

Still, the reaffirming smiles from administrators and colleagues feel good. While walking through empty halls, the walls shudder with the forgotten energy of ghost children. I am blissfully unaware that calamity and happiness bring forth change. Little do I know that this is the year I will discover in me that which is most human.

Relaxing, I feel a sense of control knowing that I am prepared for the upcoming year. Unacknowledged, however, is that each year my energy level for the job seems subtly less. How am I to last in a profession for thirty years, when it already feels like I have worked that long? It’s only my third year!

While organizing and preparing my classroom, I contemplate how every objective criterion reinforces that I am a good teacher. Administrators have requested me for their schools, colleagues occasionally search out advice, and parents regularly praise me. Even some of the children like me.

While I walk to the bookroom, ghost children continue their conversations. I can almost hear their bellowing. Every greeting mixes with nervous laughter and false bravado. These halls have vibrated with such sounds for generations. Tomorrow, real students will replace these memories.

By the end of the day I am prepared and look forward to the coming year. Still, there is something niggling at me.

After carrying boxes out to my jeep, I slide in behind the steering wheel and look forward to the drive home. I follow the same route as I have for three years—when suddenly irritation crushes down upon me. Anxiety grips the steering wheel, and I watch my knuckles turn white. I had left work prepared and relaxed, and yet—as so often before—I’m returning home frustrated and tense. I blame the other drivers, but do I actually grant strangers ownership of my emotions? Since I have so much going for me, I have to stop allowing others’ unconsciousness to upset me. If I’m having such a great life, then I must not allow someone who isn’t to affect me. When a driver cuts me off and gives me the obligatory finger, it’s embarrassing how quickly I stoop to their level. I should be above this, but I cannot seem to rise from the muck. Why do I live a life of reaction? Adding to my anxiety is the knowledge that a day beginning so full of promise should end that way.

Even during summer vacation these unidentified feelings filter through. I’ve always used summer for quality family time, and to recharge. At the beginning of holidays, not having my life ruled by schedules, bells and meetings is almost unfathomable. While enjoying this golden time, I often think about my accomplishments. As Socrates once said, “An unexamined life is a wasted life.” None of this, however, helps me comprehend what these feelings are, or from where they come.


A Penny For Your Thoughts by Roy Dimond & Jeff Leitch



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Magical Realism

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