Reflecting on “The Work”

“…we are all in a kind of relay race. We carry the baton as far as we can, then we pass it on.” – Wes Moore “The Work” p. 95

I just finished Wes Moore’s new book, “The Work: My Search for a Life that Matters” earlier this week, and I can’t stop thinking about it. I’m normally not one for self-help books, so when this was handed to me I didn’t really think much of it. But, as I dove deeper into the text, I found myself becoming more appreciative of life and thinking about the importance of the connections we make with others.That doesn’t always happen in every book, so I thought that I should write down some notes and share along.The book is filled with great examples of how many amazing people found their calling.

Wes Moore is a pretty amazing person. Once a young student with behavioral struggles, he found his way to earning a bachelor’s degree from Johns Hopkins University, becoming a Rhodes Scholar, and serving two tours in Afghanistan. These feats could not have been done had it not been for the many mentors he had along the way. Through his journey, he has been able to discover his true passions.

My biggest take aways from the text are the following:

  • We MUST give back to our community.
  • We MUST recognize that we wouldn’t be where we are without the mentors who have guided us along the way.
  • Share your education with others.

As I read through these pages, I think of all of the people in my life who have allowed me to become the individual, the family man, and the professional I am today. We are mentored by those who see things in us that we might never see, and they allow us to overcome the fear of trying something new all because they have given us the courage to believe.

The book also gave me time to think more about the importance of education. As a high school teacher, I feel like I have spent so much time talking about the monetary value that college can provide for students (ha!), and I tend to skip over the experience as a whole. Moore writes, “School isn’t just a place to learn; it’s a place to meet really smart people who can help you in ways you can’t even predict” (39). Whatever time in life do you get to try out as many experiences as possible and discover who you are, or who you would like to become along the way?

Overall, I’m thankful to have read “The Work”. It gave me time to take a step back and think about my passions, my relationships, and who I’d like to become. Am I honoring the people I’ve always looked up to? Having a job isn’t “the work”, it’s earning a paycheck. Giving back, applying your passions and strengths, that’s all part of “the work” and working towards a life that truly matters.

A challenge that I am going to make to myself this year is that I want to get involved in one of the non-profits mentioned in the reference guide. The reason I became a teacher is because I love mentoring youth, and there are so many great programs out there to be able to connect with kids who need it more than ever. Since I wrote this down, I HAVE to do it.


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