Upon completion of this mission myself, years ago, here's what I realized: "Hi" is empowering. It creates personal confidence, an aura if you will, that others sense and it becomes addictive. Positive breeds positive, as can and does it's evil twin: negative. So why choose the later? My reflection revealed to me that if I could be positive, cheerful and engaging it set the tone for my day. In retrospect as well, odds are, it may have done the same for those I interacted with...
"The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company... a church... a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past... we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude... I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you... we are in charge of our attitudes."
How wrong was I about that lesson. First of all, I was wrong about Charles Swindoll. He did turn out to be a world altering figure. He altered and changed my life completely. I still use the power of "Hi" everyday; I work each and every day on my "attitude." I was also wrong about the lesson. At first I questioned the lesson's validity and importance; it turned out to be the one lesson I would remember the most. Perhaps what I was most wrong about was questioning the teacher's guidance of the topic. This out-of-the-box, non-related text book topic, never to be found on the ACT Test, written by an unknown person taught me perhaps the greatest of lessons in US History, education and in life.
The lesson taught me that the success of the United States is based upon the hard work of its "unknown," run-of-the-mill, average people; that's OUR History. It also taught me that teachers need to teach what will impact young adults' lives; and more times than not it won't be related to a test question on the ACT or any other high stakes test. A Teachers' mission is not just to get students prepared to get test questions correct but more importantly to prepare them to be compassionate, positive young adults that will be assests to society. This lesson was truly a gift; the kind of gift that never stops giving. Not a day goes by in which I don't recall the power of being positive, the power of saying "Hi." And by the way, that "ditto" adorns the front of my classroom still, to this day. It helped to inspire me to enter the field of education. It still inspires me to educate young people and to take pride in it. It also made me realize that "Those that can teach, TEACH; and those that can't teach work for a living!"