My wonderful and insightful service-learning experience continued during this past Monday. It was enthralling for me to work with the children outside playing soccer because I have played the sport since I was 7 years of age. Also deeply fulfilling and engaging for me was continuing to help the students with their homework because I aspire to be a teacher someday. It is strongly imperative for me to try my best to make a difference in the lives of these children because I want them to know that they can achieve anything if they believe in themselves. Creating a positive educational atmosphere with encouragement and support is also a necessary factor to contribute to the future growth and success of each individual student. I hope that from participating in my service program, the kids that I worked with will see me as a great role model and aspire to be like me.
The novel Shane by Jack Schaefer can be associated with my experience because it ties in the idea of aspiring to be like your hero. In this book, a young, naïve child named Bob is deeply affected in a positive way by the protagonist, Shane. This child aspires to be like Shane because he admires the courage, bravery, kindness, and other great attributes that this mystery man has displayed on numerous occasions. While the other farmers of the town cower in fear of Fletcher, a wealthy cattle rancher noted for his desire to drive the farmers from the valley, Bobby’s father stands strong and defies efforts to scare off his family. Fortunately, when Fletcher brings a deadly, hired gunman to town, Shane rises to the occasion on these threats, and he proves that it is possible to have grace under pressure and strength when hardships arise. He is the epitome of a true hero, which is something we should all strive for. Shane teaches Bob about becoming a man, and he encourages him to avoid people trying to torment him into fighting. By not carrying a gun, Shane teaches Bob that strength and power do not come from weapons, but from what is in your heart. The impact Shane has on Bob is evident throughout, and is most likely greater than Shane’s impact on any other character. One of the most valuable lessons that Bob learns from Shane is that being a man is not about intimidating others and asserting dominance over them, but it is about doing the right thing. Even though Shane left at the end of the novel, his memory and heroism will live on in Bob’s heart and mind.
For the children that I work with at Northeast Middle School, I hope I can be someone that they want to aspire to be like by exemplifying my hard work, dedication, and kindness. As these naïve kids grow up and develop into mature adults, I yearn for them to come across people who display heroism, who can inspire these students to want to do positive things for others without being selfish. Through my actions, I will strive to be an optimistic, helpful person that can change the lives of others for the better. Teaching the children how they can become heroes with their good morals and influence is also an imperative aspect of my service. These children need to know that they are a necessary part for the betterment of our country’s future. The presence of gangs and other bad factors can lead the kids astray from wanting to do the right thing, but I need to show them that true strength comes from controlling your emotions and doing the right thing despite what others might say or think about your choice.
After participating in my service this week and then reading Shane, I have reflected on my own true heroes, and how I aspire to be like them by exemplifying their wonderful attributes to the best of my ability. I hope to impact the lives of the children at my service program by proving myself worthy to be called a hero as Shane has effectively done. I strive to always do the right thing and to show strength in my heart and mind, despite the struggles that I will have to face from my daily life.