Five mornings a week I teach English and settlement skills to refugees and many other newcomers to Canada.
In my role as teacher, I have heard some of the most horrific and heart wrenching stories. On a day-to-day basis I witness the struggle that these newcomers have adjusting to a new life in a new land were almost everything is strange and often incomprehensible.
Despite the hardships they have faced, the separation from family and friends, and the daily struggle to learn a new language, life and culture, the students arrive at school with a smile and an amazingly positive attitude.
I often wonder what it would be like to be torn away from family and friends and then shuffled about from country to country to finally end up in a place where you were to begin again. You are alone with your nuclear family or perhaps not. You no longer have your family support system. Your friends are either dead or in another country.
I cannot even begin to imagine what goes through the minds of my students.
What I do know is what they have taught me.
- To go to work every day with a smile.
To be grateful for everything I have right now.
To trust that everything will work out.
To know that in each of us there is a deep reservoir of strength and resilience.
As human beings we have an enormous capacity to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and keep going.
This is an ability each one of us has. To a greater or lesser degree, each one of us at some point in our life has had to pick ourselves up and keep going.
As you begin your day today smile and spread joy wherever you go. Look around you and be grateful for everything you have in your life at this moment. And know, that you are so much stronger than you think you are.
Those dark clouds that you have in your life will pass and the sun will shine again. You can help those clouds move away more quickly by knowing that no situation is permanent and that a slight change in thinking can make a huge difference in your reality.
Let us all show our greatness today and bring the sunshine back into the world.