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Monday’s “Live Your Story” – Jared Byrne

January 17, 2011

Today is the start of a series I am calling, Live Your Story.  Every Monday I will ask a dynamic person five questions that focus on their journey of pursuing passion and living out a good story.  Each one of us lives a story and it is valuable not only to you but also to us as a whole.  Today being MLK Jr. Day, I can’t help but kick off this series with an amazing idea Dr. King wrote about in a 1963 jail house letter, “We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny.”  He writes about this idea of mutuality in some of his other writings and emphasizes that until you are your very best, others can not be their very best (and vice-versa)  Our personal stories include each other and weave together for an even greater story.  Our stories are to be told.

Jared Byrne

Kansas City, Missouri

Social Studies Teacher

Head Varsity Soccer Coach (Boys and Girls)





Jared is a leader of people.  People flock to him, particularly students.  He compromises no part of his personality, humor, or foundational beliefs in his teaching and way of life.   Instead, he incorporates them all in a way that makes interacting with him extremely personal.  I chose Jared to be a part of Monday’s Live Your Life series because of his intentionality and willingness to engage people and also unknown circumstance.  Enjoy.

1.Name a person, book, and moment that served as a catalyst the pursuit of your passion?

So many people have influenced me, such as Martin Luther King Jr., Brother Lawrence, Mother Theresa, my father and currently I’m fascinated by John Wooden.  I think there are so many people out there who have lived their life in a way that brings love to others, that it’s just a matter of hearing their stories and believing you can do the same.  Books are the same way, but one two that stick out are Waking the Dead by John Eldridge and Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence.  Both of these books are about being in the moment and making simple choices to live  life to the fullest.  I’ve had a multitude of moments in my life that have ignited the pursuit of my passion but i think it has been sticking with the pursuit when it’s not necessarily easy that has been most important.

2. What risks did you have to take along the way and how did they interact with your fears?

I’m extremely cautious, compared to most people, in a lot of areas of my life.  For instance, I do not like heights, roller coasters, and other situations where i don’t physically feel in control.  What makes me different, though, is my willingness to take risks  in putting my self out there socially.  Whereas someone else might have no problem riding to the top of the Eiffel Tower but cringe at the thought of speaking in front of hundreds of people, I’m the opposite.  I took a risk when i chose to be a teacher, because I am being watched every minute by 30 kids.  I took a risk by taking choosing to go on a mission trip to Jamaica my freshman year of college when I didn’t know where the money was going to come from and I knew my family didn’t support me.  I took a risk yesterday by going to an improv class and saying I don’t care if I fail as long as I am putting myself out there and living.  Nothing that’s worth achieving or having comes without the risk, and those risks are what makes it so wonderful.

3. What was the biggest and most unexpected pain (a blind side moment) in your journey?  How has it changed you and your process?

2 moments stick out.  My freshman year of college, I signed up for a mission trip to Jamaica.  I knew very little about the trip and I just decided to go.  Long story short, on Christmas Eve, 3 months before the trip, I was surprised by a confrontation with some of my family that forbade me to go on the trip.  They were trying to protect me, but at the time I just couldn’t understand why God would present such an opportunity for me and then take it away so fast.  It was an extremely difficult time for me and i could have easily just given up on it, but over the next few months things worked out and my family allowed me to go.  That trip never would have meant so much to me, had I not gone through the pain and suffering that I did.
A similar situation happened in my teaching career.  I was accepted into a program to get a teaching job right out of college, and then it suddenly was cancelled leaving me without a job.  At the time, I had just student-taught and really thought that God was showing me a passion for teaching and I embraced it and was eager to begin.  I was getting married the following week and needed to be able to support my wife the following year, as she would still be in school.  That summer into the Fall was really difficult because I just didn’t know what I was suppose to do.  I eventually stuck with education and took a lower level job as a Para Professional, working with Special Education students.  Long story short on this as well, it was exactly what the Lord had in store for so many reasons.  That experience in that setting was important for me to have, I eventually got a teaching job running a resource room, and then moved into a full time Social Studies job that I originally wanted.   Once again, things didn’t work out as I intended, and the end destination was the same.  What was important was the journey that I took and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

4. What is a question that you don’t get asked but wish you would?

Why do you teach and coach?

5. Answer your desired question.

I teach and coach because it allows me to use my passions everyday.  Simply put, I want to love God and love others, and there is  nothing like teaching and coaching to do this.  Other passions I have are teaching, making people laugh and have fun, and soccer.  Everyday is the toughest and most frustrating day of my life while simultaneously being the most exciting, rewarding, and fun day of my life.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Brandi permalink
    January 17, 2011 3:23 pm

    I love how you think Jared….I agree that everyday can be frustrating and complicated but in other ways be the most exciting! It takes moments of reflection to allow yourself to really get that out of each day–and to allow ourself to grow from that. It is great to hear your thoughts, and I commend you for taking risks in your own way! So happy to have you and Megan in our life!!

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