As the big 60 rushes up toward me this weekend I found myself reflecting repeatedly about all the people who have and continue to impact my life.
The last couple of days I read a book by Dr. Rob Bell entitled, “No One Get’s There Alone.” I really enjoyed the ideas Bell outlined, a series of short messages emphasizing the importance of drawing others into your circle of support and looking for ways to help all in your circle of influence. We rarely know the full measure of our influence on lives around us. A simple smile in the hallway at school – as a student, a teacher, an administrator, a caretaker, education assistant, coach…you just never really know, likewise a glare, a frown. Naturally those are just passing moments but as Chip and Dan Heath write in their excellent book, “The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact” it’s moments, often small ones like a popsicle at the pool, that make a lasting impression or change the trajectory of a life or relationship.
For Bell, he suggests that relationships are like hinges, where in as we interact it provides a turn, a swing, in the direction of our lives hopefully for the good. In leadership literature generally speaking a transformational leader is seen as more positive than a leader who operates in a transactional manner. That said Bell suggests that transactions (interactions perhaps) can transform. I think ever transaction/interaction has the chance to be transformational, we don’t always know which acts or gestures will be the hinge positively (or possibly negatively) impacting the trajectory of those with whom we interact.
Consider for example the hinges, and there are a couple, in the conversation Will Smith’s character has with his son in, “The Pursuit of Happiness”. As you watch you’ll see a point where the father recognizes the impact his words have had. I’ve definitely had moments like this…though usually I’m much slower in the realization and the efforts to correct take longer, but Smith works to immediately fire the retro rockets and correct the course he recognizes he’s negatively impacted. Our words, our actions make a difference.
There’s much more to think about after reading this book, but for today, closing this post, I want to say thank you. Thank you to those who were key hinges at stages in my life Bob Patterson, who thought I should go into Education, Brian Anderson, who thought I should come coach football at Harry Ainlay while I was earning my education degree. My parents, my wife Chauna, Chauna, Chauna – what’s the sign for infinity…Chauna and our fascinatingly amazing challenging intriguing kids.
There are so many others, staff I worked with at Montrose, GPCHS, the staff at central office in GP and Westwind, and my current staff at SAPDC.
The coaches I’ve worked with over the years, the players I’ve been lucky enough to coach in basketball, volleyball, and of course football. The lessons continue to be learned every day.
Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself”.
And so here I am this morning a couple of days from 60 and I know better than ever that: a) I’m a work in progress and hope there are still several years ahead to continue the learning and b) I’m blessed to have had so many people help me throughout my life. Quite simply it’s true, “No one gets there alone.”
PS – Cheers to my own little “Christmas” birthday crew: Sheila G, Heather S, Sharon B, and Heather P.