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Is Your Perspective a Prison or Passport?

While attending an Elite Speaker’s Mastermind Conference, one of the featured guest shared a powerful story. It began with a Father rushing out of his house late to work, and highly irritated that his six year old daughter was slowing him down. You see, a part of his morning routine involved dropping off his daughter Aubrey to school before having to jump on the crowded expressway. The Father, Keith, was late as the result of staying up late watching television and not remembering to plug in his phone that served as his alarm clock. Because it was not plugged in to charge, the battery died, obviously allowing him to oversleep. Dad also failed to properly prepare for the morning because he was so mesmerized “binge'-watching” the new season of his show!

      As Keith sprinted out the door to his SUV, he glanced back only to see Aubrey casually skipping behind him. He yelled for Aubrey to hurry up because he had a full schedule that morning and he just knew traffic would be bad due to the morning rain. Once settle inside the SUV, Keith started the engine and raced down the street. A few minutes into the drive, the infamous yellow empty fuel indicator lit up on the dash. Now Keith is really irritated, and became even more so when he overheard Aubrey humming the theme song to her favorite cartoon from the back seat. Keith begins to fill with anger with each key change in her hum and quickly turns around snapping at her. Aubrey instantly fell silent, lost her big smile, and began gazing out the window.

     Keith and Aubrey make their last turn, before reaching the school, and are now on the final three-mile stretch. Aubrey’s face lights up, she breaks her silence, and she shout’s “Daddy look at all the pretty flowers!” Keith looks in his rearview and saw his six year old daughter point out the passenger-side of the window. In that very moment the two of them saw an identical image, however, they had a very distinct view. As the SUV coasted down the street, Aubrey cherished all the “beautiful flowers'‘ littering the landscape, but her Father Keith saw death because he knew that it was a cemetery!

     In a moment of transparency, as Educators, can you admit that you may have had a bad day? Is anyone brave enough to say that at least once in their career, that you saw death in a situation and not the “beautiful flowers?” Maybe the role has been reversed and we mostly see the “beautiful flowers” that we are accustomed to, while our students see the death in their dreams, hopes, or ambitions. It is moments like Keith and Aubrey in the SUV driving by the cemetery, that we can learn from. Educators are called, and sometimes slightly crazy, to serve a pivotal role in the life of our students. As the professionals, we are to identify the distinct perspectives, in relation to ourselves and students, and initiate the strategies, methods, and communication style needed for their overall success.

- Ryan Manning

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