I spent some time last semester volunteering at the local high school. I try to do this at the beginning of every year because it allows me to connect with the administration, students, and often meet parents.
This year I sat at a table making copies of utility bills so that the school could verify residency in the district and occasionally made small talk with the student and their parent. It was a fairly uneventful few days but the relationships that are fostered are well worth the time.
Last Spring I was invited to be on a task force to address the issue of bullying in the schools. Really it was to address the issue of character and respect for those around you and a result of that would be that bullying would be less likely to happen.
With that conversation in the back of my mind it really stood out to me when I was sitting at my table and one of the principles brought around cold drinks to all the volunteers and staff working registration. It wasn’t a cart of drinks that had just been sitting out, it was iced down cold cokes and water that someone had taken the time to prepare for a refreshing afternoon thirst quencher. To me that was a pretty big deal. Then another day, I and several others were staying through lunch and another principle came around asking if we wanted pizza and a drink and bringing it out to those of us that never turn down a free meal.
This may not sound like a big deal to you but I believe it is and here’s why. If we as a culture see that students are having difficulty recognizing how to respect those around them and what it means to be a person of character, we have to first look in the mirror and see if we are modeling those traits for them. Whether they realized it or not, that is what these principles were doing, modeling. There were many students there the last day registering and helping out, and for them to see that even the principles (the authority) were willing to serve those around them is a really BIG deal.
Going through this school year my hope is that you will look for ways to serve those around you and realize that a BIG part of what you are doing is modeling what it means to respect others and to have character. In all this you are choosing to Live Life Better and at the same time you are making someone else’s life better as well.