This past year, I held a workshop in my hometown of Douglas, GA. It was a blast from the past, driving through town and seeing old friends. Jennifer, on the right (below), was in my Valdosta State Teacher Prep program FOREVER ago. Meaning, we had to take a million education classes…some slightly better than others. Katrice, on the left (below), went to highschool with me and we lived in the same neighborhood. We even rode the same cheesewagon sometimes. Side note: they really should pay those bus drivers more…lol. The cool thing is, both of these gals are currently teaching and daily making a difference in students’ lives.
But, to really make this feel like a genuine blast from the past, Buff throwback edition, you folks need to know some of my favorite memories about my old stompin’ grounds in Coffee County:
- Douglas is where I learned to hustle, screen-printing t-shirts while I was in high school (and after).
- I met a girl named Brooke while I was ordering a club sandwich in the Zaxby’s drive-thru in Douglas. I married that girl.
- My local church instilled some pretty significant confidence in me, providing me with the opportunity to lead with music and missions.
- Most of my Summers were spent riding bikes and swimming in the lake at the Baymeadows subdivision. Ahhh, life with no cell phones.
- My Granddaddy and Grandmomma lived in Coffee County. With them, I shelled lots of peas, caught lots of fish, and later cried lots of tears when they passed.
- Middle school was amazingly awkward, yet memorable. I broke a stink bomb in my 8th grade gifted class and earned my first (and only, haha) corporal punishment.
- My friends and I would take late night trips to see the mysterious Axson Light in neighboring Atkinson County (before I even knew my future wife lived there).
- I found a passion for writing songs. I wrote the epic, crowd favorite, “Cheese” when I was in 9th grade.
There’s just something beautifully nostalgic about seeing friends from earlier in life. They remind me of where it all began, who I was, who I am, and where I’m going.
Teachers, as we continue to pursue inspiring our students and living our best lives, let’s not forget where we came from. Let’s be purposeful and take a moment to notice our students, right where they are. Let’s encourage them, and maybe even squint our eyes a bit to help them envision the beautiful futures their lives could hold.