Take time today to thank influential people in your life
Stop. Stop what you are doing and, for a moment, think of someone outside of your family who greatly influenced the person you are today. Got a name? Good.
There are few, if any, of us who do not have a special person in our past who has been a mentor, a friend, a teacher of life. In fact, chances are good that you have a person like that in your life right now; that special person who you know will hold you accountable and will encourage you to be better tomorrow than you are today. Chances are also good that you haven’t taken the time to tell that person just how much their mentorship means to you. I know I haven’t, but I’ve vowed to change.
Why? Because in the space of a single weekend I attended two events that really brought home to me the importance of taking time today to recognize the influence these great educators have in our lives.
The first event was a somber one. On Saturday, Oct. 10 I attended the funeral service of beloved Tarpey Elementary teacher Pam Daw. For the past 38 years Pam taught students at Tarpey Elementary School, mentored new teachers, and was the GATE advisor. Her sudden death on October 1 rocked the school community, and left many of her colleagues and former students wishing they had one more opportunity to express just what her teaching meant to them.
At the funeral service countless memories were shared by her colleagues and students about Pam. Each one of these stories represented a piece of her legacy at Tarpey, and in the hundreds of lives she touched. I am sure hearing these memories deeply touched the hearts of Pam’s family, and I’m equally sure that Pam would have been immeasurably moved to hear of the impact she had in the lives of so many people.
The second event was a much happier one; the Oct. 11 retirement party of Dan Kaiser. Dan also worked for Clovis Unified for more than 38 years, and retired as our Deputy Superintendent of School Leadership in October. Again, this event allowed dozens of people to share publicly and privately with Dan their personal memories of his influence as a teacher, site leader and district level administrator.
Just as the stories about Pam ranged from funny to poignant, the stories shared at Dr. Kaiser’s retirement party included much laughter and a few tears. Dan has been a mentor to many of our new, and not so new, leaders over the course of his own Clovis Unified journey. Because of this, many of the stories shared a similar theme: how Dan’s wisdom and coaching made people better leaders today than they were yesterday.
As I listened to the stories shared at both of these events I was struck by a sense of urgency to let the great educators in my life know what they mean to me. We simply do not know what tomorrow will bring. Why, then, should we waste the opportunity we have today to let these people know what their actions mean to us?
So, as I shared earlier, I’m committed to taking time to thank those people of great influence in my life today, instead of waiting for a more convenient time. I’d like to challenge you to do the same.