The kids knew she was a different kind of teacher when they walked in on the first day of school. There were funky tapestries hanging over the windows and pieces of artwork sitting on the windowsill next to potted herbs. There were words scattered across a bulletin board such as C.A.R.E., awareness, explore, and connect. The most peculiar piece in the room was a purple painting of an unfamiliar symbol with the word LIVER written underneath.
As introductions flowed, eventually the questions and stories followed. Miss B, as she called herself, spoke excitedly about her travels across the country and told of her favorite childhood memories. She had been to the Grand Canyon, Yosemite National Park, New York City, Washington D.C., and on and on. She had a small rock stuck in her left hand from a go-cart accident that happened when she was 10 years old. The tales were terrific, but she did not mention anything about the LIVER.
Weeks went by and finally one of the students asked about the painting. It was the first moment of the year where the teacher had everyone’s attention.
“What does it mean?”
“Is it like the thing in your body?”
Miss B smiled and listened to their eager questions. But all she said was, “It’s not time yet.”
Months went by and it was never the time to talk about the LIVER. One student took it upon himself to Google, “liver” to see if he could find anything important. What he found was information about an organ in the body. The liver was the only organ that could regenerate itself if only one fourth of it existed.
“Could this have any meaning?” he asked one afternoon.
Miss B smiled and said, “You’re close. When you believe in yourself you can always bounce back from anything.” But she left it at that and went on with class.
After Spring Break the school year was closing in. There were only a few weeks left and still she would not reveal the secret LIVER. It seemed as though it would never be time.
Finally on the last day of tests she took out a book and said, “It’s time.” The entire class looked up in anticipation. They knew exactly what was about to happen.
It was a small black book and on the cover was the symbol that was drawn on the painting. She opened the mysterious vessel. As she revealed the interior, there was a small mirror on the left side and a quotation on the right.
“What does it say?!” someone blurted loudly.
“Now class listen closely because when you hear it, it could change you forever,” she paused. “Or it could not.”
The class could barely keep still. They had waited for this explanation for nine months.
It states, “When you listen to your heart and do what is right for you, even when no one else understands, you truly live. And when you really LIVE, you become a LIVER.”
A few students seemed mesmerized. A few students seemed confused.
“That’s it? Why couldn’t you have told us that the first time we asked?”
“Well,” she replied, “You only really learn something that you WANT to know. The more you think about the meaning of something, the more possible answers you find. Then you learn the most important LIVER lesson of all: how you THINK about life. Life is not about WHAT you do, but about HOW you do it. You have to learn what you truly enjoy doing most. You have to learn what makes you feel most connected to the world; what makes you feel ALIVE. Then everything else falls into place.
“If I would have told you all of this on the first day you would never have learned the importance of patience. The best lessons take the longest to learn and they often end in the simplest answers.”
“Now what?” a curious 5th grader asked.
Miss B answered, “Now you have to consider the question,
“Are you a LIVER?”