This week I received a very troubling email from our son’s teacher.
It was addressed to all parents of boys in the classroom.
Apparently someone had pulled one of the many handmade paper snowflakes hanging from the ceiling and stuck it in the toilet of the boys bathroom.
This was brought to our teacher’s attention by another teacher, and now the boys were in trouble as a group, not able to go to recess, or continue with class, until someone either came forward to fess up or go fetch the paper snowflake from the toilet.
Let me first say a little about this teacher. She may very well be, of the amazing teachers we have had at this school, the most beyond wonderful teacher in the overall lives of our children of any we’ve ever seen. She found out our son liked basketball, next thing we know she came to his game – on the other side of the city – on a Saturday! She is supportive, loving, creative, goes far beyond the call of duty, and has been the best thing to happen to our family for the child who has her now.
In the email message to the parents she said that a boy came forward and asked for gloves, even though she knew he hadn’t been the culprit, and generously did what had to be done by sticking his hand in the toilet and grabbing the snowflake in order to continue class.
As I thought about her email I felt the challenge teachers go through on a daily basis, and how she is very much like a manager in the workplace trying to get people of different backgrounds, ideas, futures, to work together for the common good. She truly is a wonderful leader.
And then my thoughts went to the little boy, a 4th grader, who was willing to voluntarily stick his hand in the toilet, picking up the mess someone else had created, even when he wasn’t the one responsible.
This is the ultimate example of keeping The Promise to The Family: The Family at School in this case.
I wondered, would I have been that person? Could I do something that was so gross? I imagine, given my natural inclination to serve others, I would have been The One to do it.
How about you? Are you The One in this type of situation?
Of course, as any dad would, I hoped my son would be the type that would step up, but at the same time, I wouldn’t expect that of him, I would just hope he would be that kind of kid.
And then the second email came.
The teacher addressed it:
To The Parents of Our Hero, Your Son to The Rescue!
She told how our boy had been the one who stepped forward, did what had to be done, helped them move on with their class, and retrieved the snowflake from the toilet.
Tears streamed down my face as I read the email in the Chicago O’Hare Airport awaiting my flight home, having just delivered a message on The Promise to an intimate group reconsidering their gifts in the world.
To think our son, 10 years old, is already internalizing the message of The Promise that is needed, not only in the classroom, but in the workplace, in the home, in life itself, is one of the most gratifying instances of our lives as parents.
We all have a promise to each other to do what needs to be done, even if it means sticking our hand in the toilet to retrieve a mess someone else caused.
Would you be that person? Do you pick up the pieces at work, at home, for others even when it’s not your job?
This story reminded me of the one we read often in our home, and you probably have in your school, or office, and if you haven’t it’s time to get it.
It was written by my friend, Kirk Weisler, called “The Dog Poop Initiative”. A modern day classic on being the one who takes one for the team. A message that has stuck and made a difference in our home and lives.
I’m proud of my boy, and grateful he would be The One to stick his hand in the toilet.
Jason Hewlett, CSP (Certified Speaking Professional), CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame, Keynote Speaker for the largest corporate events in the world. His primary message, The Promise, is essential for Leadership, Management, Sales, Marketing, Direct-Sales Companies, and is a combination of engagement and entertainment meets inspiration. Jason has even received standing ovations from IT guys. He has been acknowledged as life-changing by Conference Attendees, C-Level Executives and Hollywood Elite. jasonhewlett.com
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