Got Thanks?


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.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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About celestedimilla

Hey there. I’m Celeste, California girl, writer, psychotherapist and burgeoning plant-based foodie.
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47 Responses to Got Thanks?

  1. What a wonderful lesson! I can see why it would stick with you all of these years. It is amazing the impact that teachers, young and old, schooled and not schooled, traditional and non-traditional, expected and unexpected, can have on our lives. One more thing to be thankful for!

    • Thanks Cowgirl! And thanks also for the lessons you’ve taught me girlfriend. I’ve learned much from you chica. I hope you have a very Happy Thanksgiving and that maybe, just maybe, some of your family members will be moved to consider veganism from the yummy food you bring to the celebration. I know this won’t be easy since you won’t be in your own kitchen, but I’m sure you’ll manage to whip up some delicious dishes. 🙂

  2. I love amazing teachers. A few years back, I found out my favorite from middle school was still teaching and he impacted my life the most. I ended up e-mailing him and thanking him for all he did. I was glad I was able to brighten up his day because I know he was the reason I looked forward to going to school each day!

  3. Ah the teachers:)…. People who help us through in so many ways that you loose the counting :). I appreciate the teachers I had in my school years for looking into me for not how I look but for who I was and what I needed. I am thankful for that…

  4. Fig & Quince says:

    Interesting moment of reflection and such an interesting story to share! Here’s to the wisdom of Mr. Showers! (That was really his name??)

    Happy Thanksgiving!!!

    • Yes, his name was really Mr. Showers – hehe. And I remember that he drove an ugly Gremlin and we all made fun of him about it. Thanks so much for your comment – I appreciate it! 🙂

  5. Some teachers are simply unforgettable! Thankfully, most of these in a good way 😉

  6. I feel funny little things in common with you! I am the younger sister of a VERY smart older brother. I heard from many teachers how smart. Blah. Blah. Blah. Smart. OK, I get it! Anyway, one of my favorite memories is from my Physics teacher (who was new and didn’t even KNOW my brother). He used to talk about how atoms are made up of “tiny, tiny, tiny, tiny, tiny particles called molecules.” He couldn’t say “tiny” enough times. Therefore, his name, which was Mr. Brennaman, became “Mr. Brenna Menna Menna Menna Menna Man.” He had a very kind sense of humor. I wonder if he knows how much we liked him…

    • Wasn’t it horrible to follow after a super smartie pants! Oh well, I guess we turned out okay none the less. And yea, we do seem to have a lot in common chica. I’m sure we’d be great friends if we lived close to each other. Then again, who says we can’t be great friends anyway! It sounds like you and your girlfriends had a lot of fun making fun of Mr. Brenna Menna – haha! Memories are the best. 🙂

  7. Mr. Showers sounds like a great teacher – to be able to connect with young people like that. It’s difficult to make teens listen and he found a way. There were a few teachers like that in my life and I’m grateful that they took extra time for the shy, brace-faced, and awkward kid that was me!

  8. Sofia says:

    I think teachers that make a difference are the ones we remember a life advice by them.. (not the ones the only are text book geeks and we can’t remember a thing). Way to go!

    • I agree! I was more touched by the teachers I connected with emotionally than the ones I simply gained knowledge from (I’ve forgotten most of that knowledge now anyway!). I didn’t have a lot of teachers that really touched me like that, but I’m thankful for the few that I had. Thanks for chiming in here Sofia! 🙂

  9. Laura says:

    Love this lesson too. I wish every middle school girl could hear it!

  10. It’s so important to try and remind ourselves of this every day. I know I don’t do it all the time, but I have been trying more and more.

  11. ahardrain says:

    You don’t have imperfections rather unique qualities. Your teacher did a great job seeing that years later he is still making you think and to be thankful. Happiest of Thanksgiving to you and yours 🙂

  12. bikerchick57 says:

    What a cool teacher. Even as adults, we worry about how we look and other things that wouldn’t matter had we not been a twinkle in our parents’ eyes. Once in awhile we need a reminder of how blessed we are to be alive.

  13. mlipko says:

    I wanna hear Mr. Shower’s lesson!

  14. Mr. Showers sounds like an awesome dude. Happy Thanksgiving Celeste!

  15. sean conley says:

    Great story. I was hooked from the visual of a guy standing on a desk playing guitar singing.
    It says a lot though. I always love when I look back on my school years and remember certain things my teachers said. It is cool to see what stuck. And being a teacher now I hope I can impart some wisdom on my students as well.

  16. sophiazerg says:

    Seems like a rad teacher! I had a crush on my biology teacher, Mr. Vamvrakis. Maybe it was the Greek thing. 😉
    Happy Thanksgiving, to an awesome you!
    Sophia 🙂

  17. Ralph says:

    Thank you for blogging Celeste 😀 xox

  18. Mary Frances says:

    That is a great lesson. It’s funny exactly what sticks with you over the years, but so often it’s from the more non-traditional teachers. Happy Thanksgiving!

  19. It is so funny what sticks with you! Sometimes I wonder why certain things have such staying power in my brain while other stuff just fades away. Who knows! 🙂

  20. Becky says:

    Aw I love this story. What an amazing teacher!

  21. Tammi says:

    Beautiful story Celeste! Thanks for sharing. It truly keeps things in perspective on this special day of giving thanks. Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving! xoxo, Tammi

  22. Namrata says:

    I love what you write Celeste. Happy Thanksgiving!

  23. naturalannie says:

    I love the unconventional teachers, they are creative and you remember them! They give me permission to be a little wild, too. (smile). Happy Thanksgiving!

  24. Absolutely loved the lesson that you learnt Celeste. And thanks for sharing it with us, its so easy to lose perspective and complain about so many things we do not have. rather than be grateful and count our blessings for what we DO have!!!

  25. Lorrie Wenzler says:

    What a great story. I’m happy that you got so much from Mr. showers lesson. You are special and unique and there is no one like you. It make me think of the awesomeness of God’s creativeness. With billions of people in the world we’re all different yet incredible the same. God loves the person we are even if at times we find it hard to love who we are. Glad we sent you to Moreau High School.

  26. Reblogged this on By the Mighty Mumford and commented:

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