I used to aspire to be an influential teacher, but now, after these many decades in the classroom, I see that I have no choice in the matter, that I am always influential – as are all of us, as are all birds and winds and rivers and sunsets and stormy days and all things. The word derives from the Latin for “flow”, and flowing, you might say, is the foundation of everything. Flowing is what makes molecules and atoms the miracles they are as they constantly stream through the universe. All of the limitless cells in our bodies are continuously coursing through us, sometimes crossing out into the widespread universe as we interlace with all things. Flowing is simply what happens – what has to happen, second by second by second. We are all part of the everlasting flow of everything, all as influential as the ever-flowing rivers and the surging stars above us. As I stand in my classroom during class, whatever wisdom has been bestowed on me is, of necessity, endlessly flooding out to the students, and, of course, the students’ high-spirited wisdom is streaming across to me. It’s not our choice. It’s just the way things are.
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