Saturday, August 24, 2013

A little pride goes a long way...

It's funny how some conversations stick with you.  I remember working in the bagroom at the local Country Club as a teenager.  I was in my first year and being low on the totem pole meant I had range duty.  The range was no fun.  In fact it was dreadful.  People would intentionally hit golf balls at your cage and others would hit until dark.  One evening I was agitated and I came in off the range to get a drink and vent.  I walked in to the bagroom and began to vent my frustration.  Within seconds one of my bosses came out of the pro shop.  I was not a big fan of him.  He used his size to intimidate and he talked down to most of us.  On this night he was being very sarcastic.  He began to give me a hard time for not being finished.  I then spouted back, "I would be done if the range ever closed."  Big mistake, I should have just kept my mouth shut.  He then proceeded to give me lip service, I stared him straight in the eye and just wished for the night to end.  He did say something that stuck with me.  He said, "Ben, take a little pride in your work!"

I grew up loving my hometown.  I always envisioned myself getting married and raising a family in Jackson.  I grew up with a lot of pride in my community.  I learned the history, the legends and the significant events.  I loved to listen to my grandfather share stories about Jackson.

Then I went through a phase, or I guess you could say, I fell into a rut.  While in this rut I wanted nothing more than to get away and get out of Jackson.  I chose to go away to college and for some time I believed I would never return.  As I got away I started to appreciate some of the things that I took for granted.  I appreciated the lakes, the activities available, the little diners, but most of all I missed the individuals.  I missed the characters that I thought for a stretch of time bothered me, yet in reality they made my experience special.  I began to realize that the connections are what make all the difference.  I began to take more pride in how I interacted and connected with people.

I have learned throughout time that pride is a vital trait.  As I reflect back on my tongue lashing as a teenager to now, I truly believe pride can make a huge difference.

It's human nature to remember the painful memories before the positive ones.  To this day I can remember the one negative comment better than the nine positive ones. As I reflect I think about why these people have been so negative.  In most cases I believe something is lacking.

How do you get someone to take pride?

1st) Individuals that take pride connect in some way

2nd) It becomes personal to the individual

3rd) Individuals need a level of unselfishness.  Believing that the good of all is more important.

Several events have recently occurred that have brought pride to the forefront.  Last week I attended our Jackson Ed Tech Kickoff.  The Jackson ISD did a tremendous job putting this together.  I had a moment at the Kickoff that stuck with me.  As I walked into the commons I saw more than 200 educators.  The room was buzzing!  You could feel the positive energy and enthusiasm.  I leaned over to @shannondegan and told him, "This is what is great about education! How could anyone say a negative word about educators if they walked in this room?"

The very next day I had the privilege to judge the Outstanding Teen Jackson.  What an amazing experience.  Nineteen talented young ladies!  Several moments stand out, but I was awed by the talent and the level of unselfishness.  Two moments hit me. The first was by a young lady named Ashley. She spoke about closing the Generation Gap.  I listened to her for several minutes and her story about going to retirement homes and playing dominoes, checkers and cards, plus listening to stories and taking the time to invest in individuals was powerful.  I looked at Ashley and I smiled. I said, "No matter the outcome I truly believe you will continue to do this."  She smiled and said, "Yes. Yes, I definitely will!"  The second moment was one of pure joy!  A young lady named Alyssa was asked how she handles stress. Alyssa confidently stated, "I exercise to relieve stress, I spend time with loved ones, but most of all I enjoy desserts!  You're supposed to enjoy desserts when you're stressed because desserts is stressed backwards."  I laughed out loud and applauded!  

I also participated in and attended other functions recently.  My wife Amy and I competed in the 2nd Annual Jackson Amazing Race.  I had a blast doing the challenges and teaming up with my wife!  We are sure to compete again next year.  

Last night, I attended the Thought 1 scholarship dinner.  What a great cause!  Noah Nagy has created a scholarship for local teens that have had a loved one taken by cancer.  I had the privilege to listen to three powerful stories.  Noah has pride in Jackson and he's doing something that helps give back.  

Finally, I walked through our building the other day.  I'm so proud to be at Warner.  Our entire staff has gone the extra mile.  I don't believe I've ever seen the building look better.  As I walked a young second grader through the halls the other day, I counted 6 "wows" and 1 never ending smile!  The pride that everyone has in Warner is inspiring.

I reflect on all of these events and think back to my boss's comment.  The truth is, I have a lot of pride. In that moment as a teenager picking range balls I simply wanted to be done.  I was tired and ornery. After participating in these recent events I feel a strong sense of pride in my community!  Sometimes the one negative comment we hear sits with us the longest, but trust me, so many amazing things are happening all around us!  I believe pride is a crucial trait.  You can't fake pride, it shows up in your work ethic, your drive and most importantly, your attitude.

This week's big questions:  Do you have pride in your school?  Do you have pride in your community? How will you inspire your students to have pride in their classroom?

Next Week At A Glance:

Sunday, August 25th:  Our Local Police Dept. will be conducting safety trainings for police officers at Warner El. from 2pm - 4:30pm.  The building will be closed during this time.

Monday, August 26th:  8-9am Staff Breakfast
Monday, August 26th:  9-10:30am Staff Meeting in the Library
Monday, August 26th:  11-11:40am CCSS Writing
Monday, August 26th:  12-1pm Lunch (Provided by our PTO)
Monday, August 26th:  1-3pm Inter-Grade Level meetings
Tuesday, August 27th:  District Breakfast 7:30-8:30 in MS
Tuesday, August 27th:  Welcome Back message and speaker 8:30-11am
Tuesday, August 27th:  Air Server/Doceri training with Mike MacGuinness 1pm at Warner
Tuesday, August 27th:  5-7pm Open House
Wednesday, August 28th:  RTI/Assessment discussions (attendance optional) 9am
Thursday, August 29th:  Technology questions, App support (attendance optional) 9am

Articles Worth Reading:

Making a Positive 1st Impression with Parents  by +Joan Young @flourishingkids

Cult of Personality  by +David Culberhouse  @DCulberhouse

Are you Ready to Stand Behind Your Words?  by +Pernille Ripp @pernilleripp

Waiting on Amazing  by +Daisy Duerr @DaisyDyerDuerr

Learning Experience  by +George Couros @gcouros

9 Tips for Teachers That Just Got iPads  shared by +Amber Teamann @8Amber8

Recess & Brain Breaks are Needs not Rewards  by +Chris Wejr @ChrisWejr

What Teachers Eat For Lunch Matters  shared by +TeachThought  @TeachThought

Ode To Paul  by +Tony Sinanis @Cantiague_Lead

On Being Perfect...or Not  by @ShutUpRun

10 Ways Happy People Prioritize Their To-Do Lists  by +Marc Chernoff @marcandangel

Who Comes First  by +Tom Whitford @twhitford

Why I Lead  by +Jimmy Casas @casas_jimmy

A Digital Footprint For a Beast  by +Amber Teamann @8Amber8

Designing Your Classroom Space  by +Erin Klein @KleinErin

5 Ways To Use Technology To Engage Parents  shared by @Seguin_B

Videos Worth Watching:

I have a new appreciation for Ashton Kutcher.  Powerful message! (5 min)

The Value of a Teacher.  Will you make the difference? (3 min)

WOW! Wonderful Ted Talk on the importance of being happy! (11 min) Worth your time!

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