This past weekend, I met a fantastic educator. He had just won an award as “teacher of the year,” and he made his way toward me in the morning to thank me for my talk. We sat and chatted for a bit, and it was a true pleasure to talk to him. As we sat there, his three sons came and sat down with us, and I started to ask them about what they loved in school. The one son told me that what he appreciated about his teacher was that “she loves us.” It was a beautiful answer and one that reminded me that every student that walks into our schools needs to feel valued and that if they weren’t there, they would be missed.
As I talked to his sons, the dad beamed with pride, as he should. I then had to speak to the large group again and asked his son to share his thoughts with the group, to which the father was still beaming. I thanked him and his family for coming and appreciated that moment.
When I finished speaking, the teacher’s father, who had been in attendance to celebrate his son’s recognition, came out of his way to thank me for my kindness towards his son and grandchildren. I had no idea he was there, and it was a sweet moment to see three generations of a family there to celebrate the day.
It was a beautiful reminder that at no matter what age, we are somebody’s everything. I love this quote from Tom Murray:
I wrote about this idea years ago, and told the story about dealing with some disgruntled fans in a game I was reffing:
I distinctly remember reffing a basketball game and having some fans yell some really nasty things while in the game. At the break, I walked over to the fans, and introduced them to my mom and dad who were sitting in the stands. They didn’t yell anymore. Our parents always care about us, even when we are adults.
My dad is no longer with us, and I miss him daily, and to see that father beaming over his son reminded me of how much I missed my dad, and how much my mom still makes sure that I know how much she loves me every time we talk. My friend, Jimmy Casas, called my mom to tell her how much he appreciated me, even though they have never met. It meant a lot to my mom, and I know it said a lot to the parents of Jimmy’s teachers that he would call with kind words as a principal.
These things matter and they are always a good reminder to do our best to be kind to each other.
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