I love John Grisham books. I just read one I hadn't before called "The Street Lawyer". I am going to buy it I loved it so much. It really spoke to me at a time when I was thinking a lot about the topic of it but was unable to articulate it.
The Street Lawyer (I don't want to spoil it for you but want to give a general idea) is a novel about a young lawyer on a fast track to partnership in a major law firm. He is involved in a hostage situation and his life is forever changed. He quits the big firm, walking away from millions of dollars and all aspects of his old life to become a poverty lawyer, or someone who works as a pro bono (free of charge) lawyer for the homeless. It is an amazing story of someone who realizes that there is more out there than grabbing as much money as you can and thinking that society seems to somehow benefit from you making as much as you can. (These aren't actually my words, they are in the book but it is so fitting and accurate of how we sometimes think!)
I know that us teachers don't go into our profession for money, we all say it and it is very true. After all, us teachers under 40 are never going to make a huge sum and most of us will probably stay under 40,000 a year for the rest of our lives. I know that is a lot or a little depending on who you are but considering that we all have to go to college for at least 4 years to be a teacher as well as every 5 years needing to get licensure renewal and continuing education hours it really isn't like we are raking in the big dough. We aren't engineers or doctors or lawyers and we would never see the 80,000 that they do (or more).
You know, the more I look at my life and the more I think about what I just read in the book, I realize that I don't mind scraping by the rest of my life in some ways. I mean, I wouldn't mind a bit more money. It would be nice to not be in so much debt and to constantly live paycheck to paycheck and not be able to go out with friends as much as I would like. But more important than that is coming home to my apartment each day (and I don't forsee a day in the near future that I am not renting) knowing that I am doing what I can to make society better. To help people and to think of more than how much money I can pull in. I will never be able to afford nice vacations, or a boat, or anything like that but you know what? That is ok. I am serving mankind and I think that is more important than making money.
I can relate to the main character in the story in many ways. In many ways, I want to relate to him even more. He made a difference and he walked away from money but washed his soul clean with every day he went in to work. It must be nice to be so clean.
It would be nice if more people out there considered things like this on a regular basis. Maybe we would have less problems in the world if we did.