Cameroon 2009

Cameroon 2009

Monday, October 14, 2013

Don't sweat the small stuff??

"Don't sweat the small stuff - and it's all small stuff."

Certainly catchy, and more than just an element of truth to it.  I could get into a discussion of the stuff I consider anything but small; another post, perhaps.

No, this is about my belief that a lot of small things matter, and are worth "sweating".
  • A smile is a small thing.  But a person's face is transformed by a smile.  Smiles invite people in, foster the development of relationships and bonds.  Last spring I asked a teacher to smile more, and her "vibe" is entirely different when she does.  I'm so grateful that she's taken this to heart.
  • Graffiti and other small forms of damage are small things in public spaces.  Yet, left in place, they're open invitations to add more.  They signal a mood of lawlessness, and a lack of caring by school staff.  In the mid 90s, Rudy Giuliani announced an anti-graffiti task force; together with other initiatives, it dramatically lowered the crime rate in New York City.  It's worth reading about.
  • Spelling mistakes, poor font selection; bad posture, weak grammar.  How many job applicants have failed to get an interview, or to be considered for a position, because of one of these "small" things?
  • Please and thank you.  Will anyone seriously suggest these little words don't matter?
  • Being in the room to welcome students to class.  No direct link to the learning to follow, but it can be a powerful opportunity to get to know kids, and form relationships with them.  A few minutes that can matter hugely.
A touch (school-appropriate, of course), an open door, cleaning up after yourself, pretending not to see or hear something (once in a while).  There are so many little things that, ultimately, add up in ways we might not appreciate in the moment.

What do you think are the small things worth sweating?

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