Updated: Feb 2, 2020
The man I speak of in this recording (link below) was 18 years old, and serving a life sentence. I did not use his real name, and I won't use the real names of any of my students, who I taught behind Door 7.
The moment that I shared on the recording, was such an eye-opening experience for me. At that very moment in time, I realized how fortunate I was to be alive. That moment, put life into perspective for me. That moment, made me think of my home life and made me wonder why I was one of the lucky ones to be raised in an environment where I really didn’t worry about crime, of any sort. In that small town in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan where I grew up, we never locked our doors. We felt safe, walking on the streets. I never feared for my life. I never thought about the possibility of losing a loved one, at a young age. Why was I so lucky when others were not? So many thoughts ran through my mind as this young man spoke, but one thing I knew for sure - I was going to show this student, and all my other students, that I believed in them and that we would continue to look forward together, and find a purpose in this world.
The reason I got up from my desk and walked away from this student, was due to the tears that were about to fall. I knew I needed to walk away as I could not allow him to see me cry. I did not want to show weakness in front of him. So, I made my way to the back of my classroom and stared at the books on the shelves. I grabbed a book, looking down at it as I spoke to him. I told him I didn't know why we are all dealt a different set of cards in life, but I did know that each of us was put on this earth for a reason. I told him that perhaps he was brought to the school because he was capable of earning his diploma, and he could use this education to help others better themselves. Perhaps when he spoke with his brothers on the phone, he could help them with their studies and keep them on the right path. There was a reason he chose to walk through Door 7. In my book, Seven Doors In, you will learn how Mr. Johnson’s life changed, as he struggled to earn his education.