"For a few brief days the orchards are white with blossoms. They soon turn to fruit, or else float away, useless and wasted, upon the gentle breeze. So will it be with present feelings. They must be deepened into decision, or be entirely dissapated by delay." Theodore Cuyler
It is Saturday. I just ate my lunch at school halfway through grading the end of term websites, blog posts, and NetGenEd video projects. Yes. I am at school.
There is only one chance to finish well.
When I run, I've learned to sprint the last lap and all-out run the last 100 meters. It is proven to make you faster and stronger. It also feels great to know that I gave EVERYTHING I had to that one run. I can go home, relax, enjoy myself and know that I left it all and gave it all in a pure, beautiful moment of physical activity.
This is Your Beautiful Moment
This is your moment, my friends. In the northern hemisphere we are finishing school.
"The deepest principle of human nature is the desire to be appreciated." William James
As you finish, please consider some things that will make the lives of others better.
- Help People Retire with Dignity and Memories. If someone is retiring, consider making a voicethread and inviting everyone to leave comments and texts about the person. Or make a DVD with the faces and voices of people they've touched. Give them something to remember and cherish like a photo album. They've worked hard and deserve it. Give people the dignity of retiring well.
- Leave comments on every students' report card. It is a lot. It takes a lot and you don't have much to give. This is the one gift you can give that will give to your students for the rest of their lives. Find one thing each of them did well each year that is honest and sincere.
- Say Thank You. Dash off a note, an ecard, send a text message. Thank those who help you.
- Remember the janitors. If I have T-shirts from events, they love them. Take a $5 or $10 bill and roll it up in your hand and give them a small thank you that no one knows about. Look them in the EYE and say a genuine thank you for what they do for you by cleaning your room. They clean up vomit and every indescribable, horrible thing found on the school campus. They deserve to feel a thank you from you. Everyone wants to make a difference and some of our truest servant leaders are our janitors.
- Remember the lunchroom staff and others. Say thank you. Many of the staff are hourly and may have a tough, tight summer until they come back. Know what they like - whether it is an inexpensive flat of flowers to plant in their yard, or just a look in the eye saying thank you. TELL THEM THANK YOU.
- Plan Your Last Day Well So Students Know You Care. Students need to hear speeches because you can't say things enough. They may groan when you talk about being safe over the summer. They may roll your eyes when you tell them you love them and encourage them to make wise choices. Who cares what they think -- If they KNOW you love them and you say what they need to hear. You have one more chance. Let the students leave your room knowing that you LOVE them and with the words echoing in their ears that they need to live a good life. (I love the "paper plate" awards that Chris Lehman's staff does where every student has something genuine that they do well that is written on a paper plate and given out in an assembly.)
- Leave Well. If this is your last time at this school. Leave well. Your room should look better than when you found it. Say thank you. Be careful to never burn bridges.
Sure. But this is about making your school better one person at a time. When people feel appreciated there is no limit to what can be done. A principal cannot hold back the greatness of a staff that genuinely appreciates one another and treats one another with respect.
Respect starts with you.
You, the person reading this. You probably read my blog for the technology part but hopefully you also read it because you want to be an amazingly good educator that leaves a lifetime legacy. (Or to understand the thinking of such truly great teachers.) You know that whatever you think is what you become.
You reap what you sow.
Sow goodness, appreciation, and a job well done. SPRINT, baby, SPRINT! You're almost done! FINISH WELL!
Leave it all there.
Oh, and by the way, it isn't the end of the world, it is just a Saturday. Live it well. Be noble.
Thank you for being here.