Hope all you moms had fun today! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
If you've spent any time around kids you know how hungry they all are for a pat on the back and words of approval. Go in any classroom and you will hear everything from, "Didn't I do good on this?" to "Hey, look at me!" to the student who doesn't ever ask but simply glows when you give them a compliment. Most of us in the education field have received a lot of training in what is frequently called classroom management. An integral part is often the admonition to " catch children being good". It's one of the most powerful ways a teacher, a mom a dad or a principal can inspire a child. Turns out we can all benefit from similar encouraging words.
Every year there are days set aside for recognizing the hard work of teachers and parents. There's teacher appreciation week and next month there is Mother's Day followed by Father's Day in June. These are great times to acknowledge these different roles but I believe that anyone who teaches, mentors or influences a child needs regular recognition for the important and valuable job they have. Especially in today's society there is often the perception that in order to change the world you have to take on a big issue like world hunger or world peace. You have to be in charge of a big corporation or head up a big movement. In reality, those men and women who everyday interact in a positive way with a child are truly creating a positive world and future for us all.
To find your meaning, your purpose in life doesn't always mean packing up, leaving a job or moving across the world. Sometimes it just means getting down on your knees and teaching a child. I'm not just talking about parents and paid teachers here either. Sometimes it's the custodian at our school who builds student's self-esteem. We have one custodian who regularly after school has a child or two who hangs out with him and helps sweep the floors. Why? Because he knows how to encourage and help them feel important. Sometimes it's an assistant principal who creates a group for students who don't belong to any other group or club and meets regularly with those students giving them meaningful tasks to do around the school and providing positive interaction while they help out. Sometimes it's a teacher who takes the time to understand why a student is always late or doesn't have their homework and then helps them put into place the guidelines they need to succeed.
Any job, any role has the potential in it for us to find the purpose or meaning there and commit to going beyond average to great. Anybody can show up at work and do an average job. Anybody can show up on Monday, complete the bare minimum all week and count the days until Friday. But the individual who goes beyond average, finds the passion in their everyday work and commits to tapping into the energy that the passion provides is living out their purpose. And when teaching or mentoring or encouraging a child is involved, these are truly people who are making a better world for us all. These are ordinary people doing ordinary things in an extraordinary way. Make sure you recognize these people all around you. Make sure you are one of them.