29 March 2011

One or Two a Day

I used to have about 170 students divided between five classes at school.  If you think that meant that I wasn't able to give the individual attention to each student that I could or should have been giving, well, you’re right.  With that many students I was able to take care of all the basic work such as preparing classes and grading all of their work–if I was lucky.  So I had to make an extra effort to give the extra encouragement that I know most people need.

I made it a point to give extra encouragement to one or two students a day, since I knew I couldn’t make one-on-one contact with them all.  I tried to rotate it, too, so that in the course of a month or so I hit almost everyone.  And then I started again.  The encouragement didn’t always have the results that I wished it would, but I didn’t let my unfulfilled expectations keep me from trying again the next day, and the next.  After all, the encouragement was free for me to give, and the potential benefits from it were amazing.

There are other things that we can do on that sort of level, too.  For example, we can read one or two chapters of a good self-help book each day to bring ourselves up and make ourselves feel better.  We can read one or two pages or chapters of books focused on our professions to help us to function better and make our jobs easier.  We can throw one or two dollars into a big bottle to someday have a very special night out or even a very cool vacation.  We can walk one or two miles a day to improve our health, or we can even run the same distance.

Most things in life don’t take a huge investment in order for us to reach success.  Most things take simply dedication and consistency.  I may not be the best teacher my students ever have had, or the most memorable, but I know for a fact that many students appreciate the encouragement that I give them.  And if I focus on giving it to one or two–or four or five, even–each day, then I will be making a difference in the lives of some students, no matter how slight a difference that may be.  It most certainly is worth the effort to me, and to the other people in my life upon whom I have an effect.

Our workaday lives are filled with opportunities
to bless others.  The power of a single glance or an
encouraging smile must never be underestimated.

G. Richard Rieger

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