Mr. Showers, my high school biology teacher, was an odd dude. I’ll never forget the time, for example, that he stood on his desk and strummed a guitar while belting out a ditty that started with, “I am a cell, I am only a cell.” I don’t know that I grasped everything he was trying to teach with his unconventional lessons, but there is one thing he taught me that I’ll never forget.
“I know what it’s like being a teenager,” he told my class. “You’re worried about how you look and being cool and popular and you’re comparing yourselves to others and thinking that you just don’t measure up. But I want to tell you that all of you are incredibly lucky just to be alive. Do you know what the chances of you being born are?”
He answered this question with complex statistics that made me grasp that my existence is remarkable. This spoke to me. For a moment I stepped outside of my teenage angst and thought maybe I’m not gorgeous like Kathy Vega or brilliant like my older brother, but I exist and this in and of itself is amazing and something I should be thankful for.
I can’t say that from this moment on I was appreciative of my life and accepted my imperfections. I’m still not there! But I do think of this lesson from time to time and it helps me keep things in perspective.
Photo courtesy of pickthebrain.com.