Language is powerful. Let that be the first thing said.
How powerful? A puff of air expelled from the mouth has the potential to change hearts, and minds. That same puff of air can send messages called words that convey meaning, ideas. So powerful are these puffs of air that when charged with emotive force this air can travel to another person and change them instantaneously.
Think of how a simple: “You look as if you’ve had a rough day.” changes a service workers attitude the next time they serve you.
For more than 20 years at Hamilton high school history teacher, Alan Kaplan, used his puffs of air, his breath, to inspire his students to think and also change the way they did it as well. I was one of his students and I was personally affected by his breath.
Sadly, on August 29, 2015, literally, Mr. Kaplan took his last breath and succumbed to ARDS (acute respiratory distress syndrome). I couldn’t be more proud to have been his student. His example of what one can do with one’s breath is remarkable. His affect on my life as well as the thousands of his other students is still evident today.
All in all, the brazen manner in which this CSUN graduate wielded his power of breath to intrigue, perplex, and inspire the thoughts of his students is why I believe he had balls the size of watermelons.
The late Maya Angelou once said “Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage.”
The thousands of students he affected are proof of his consistent courage. Here’s to Kaplan, courage, and the teaching profession!