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Slow Down Or You Might Miss The Best Lessons

I have always found it interesting how certain things seem to happen for a reason. I would like to think I am a thoughtful person, but I also know that I can be very self absorbed. I easily get caught up in what I need to be doing and don't always take time to enjoy the simple things that are going on around me.


Last night I was eating at Wendy's with my 6 year old son and thinking about all the things I needed to be getting done. Coursework for my Principal certification, presentation stuff ready for the board meeting on Monday night, the badge artwork for our Spring challenge course badge, Information sheets for inviting other districts to our Summer Learning Conference, etc, etc.


It was Saturday night and I was with my son, for what should have been some quality one on one time. I had left the house before anyone was awake, and got home in time to let my wife and daughters run errands they needed to get done that evening. I should have been able turn things off and give the little bit of time I had to my son. Sadly, it took something totally unrelated to snap me back to what is truly important.


So Saturday morning, before all this happened, The memory Facebook greeted my feed with was the picture of Blake as a baby on the left. A nice reminder of how fast things change. Then fast forward about 10 hours later and as he and I are eating our dinner, a great human exchange took place right next to our table. Two different tables were leaving at the same time. As one couple got up, a man dropped a cup and a few other items from his tray. Two young men were leaving a table around the corner, and in mid stride, one of the two men stepped to the side, and picked up the cup and the other items as the man who dropped them was trying to set the tray down to get everything. At the same time, the other of the two men, picked the tray off the table and took it to the trash. The man who had dropped it, stood up, and said "Thank You." The two men, went on to the door, and simply said "I hope you have a great rest of your evening." The man who dropped the items, looked at me confused, looked at his wife and simply said "Wow." She smiled back at him, and Blake and I smiled at each other.


There was about a 10 - 15 second pause when they husband and wife stood there caught off guard. They had gone from trying to throw their tray away, to dropping things, having to stop and try to pick it all up, to simply standing there with everything picked up and thrown away for them within seconds. I'm sure if you are still reading you are saying, this isn't that big of a deal, but it was one of those, "you had to be there" types of moments. The man said to his wife as they walked out the door, "Wow (again) we need to be sure come back to this place..." With one simple gesture the two young men, created an impression on everyone in the room.


Blake and I talked about how nice it was for those two boys to pick up the trash for the other man. We talked about how now that couple has a positive thought about everyone in Sulphur Springs and how doing something nice for someone can change their entire thought process for a while. He went from being annoyed that he dropped it, to being dumbfounded that the two men never missed a beat as they helped him get everything cleaned up. I saw my 6 year old son watch the chain of events and he had the biggest smile on his face. He loved that that two people that didn't make the mess picked it up anyway.


The best part of all of it, is that he saw how a simple gesture made such a big difference. I am a firm believer that little details make a big difference in the things we do. As all three of my kids have grown up, we often discuss doing things just because they are the right thing to do. I see my kids model this often. This was just another of those "that is how it should be" type of moments. I got home and later that night I saw the video I shared at the beginning of this story and it again reminded me how awesome people can be.


So what does this have to do with ed tech or anything education related? I always have a way of twisting things so they work for what I am thinking. With all the various things I am working on in my role as an Instructional technology coordinator the common thread is that all of the work is really planting seeds for the future. Just as the random act of kindness in Wendy's planted a seed for me and my son about how to treat others, the fruits of my work will take time to be fully seen. It is easy to get frustrated as we may not see changes taking place as fast as we want, but every conversation, activity, training, etc gives teachers the chance to better understand how technology may fit in their classroom. And while I may work hard to get everyone on board, all too often, it is the simple things I do that make the biggest difference, not the ones that keep me at the office well past closing time.

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