Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Sticky Note

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I have decided that vast amounts of power hidden away in the little things which may seem insignificant to many around us. As I ponder over this thought, I find myself taken back nearly ten years to time when I was working in Spokane, Washington at Finch Elementary School.

I had started working at this school my freshman year of college as a way to make a little bit of money to help pay rent and tuition. My employment at this particular school took me to many different classrooms and assignments. It wasn't long before I came to find a favorite classroom to work in...Mrs. Berger's second grade; however, no matter where it was that I liked to be, this was not always the place were I was always assigned. Most often, I would find myself scheduled to work in the learning lab. It was in this place that I would sometimes assist students with learning disabilities, but most times I would spend my time filing papers, grading assessments, organizing and compiling information, as well as a host of other duties which were far less meaningful to me than working with the kids.

In was in this lab that I soon became acquainted with the dreaded "IN" box. Now, to explain why this box was so dreaded, you need to understand that this box of tasks was situated on the filing cabinets right next to the table which I worked...I assume for easy access. I hated this box, simply from the fact that no matter how hard I'd worked the day before, and no matter how empty it was when I left at the end of a shift, the next day would be heaping again and I would feel a veritable weight settle upon me as I looked at the huge pile of daunting things yet waiting to be done...basically, of all of the things the teachers themselves did not want to do.

On this particular day I grabbed the top few items and sat down at the table where I usually worked. I then began the arduous task of completing the various jobs. However, as I took the top page of testing results to condense and edit into goal reports, I noticed a bright orange sticky note attached to the page.

I sat there for very nearly a minute, just reading and rereading over that simple little message that one of the lab teachers had written. There was no name of who had done it, and as I looked around the room, none of the teachers even seemed to be aware that I was there...but someone was aware. I looked back at the note. As I did, something changed inside of longer did that "in" box seem quite so unfriendly, nor did the tasks there seem so mundane. It was all from the simple fact that somebody--I don't know who--noticed a young college student who was there every day, whether or not he liked it, and appreciated what it was he was doing.

It was Margaret Lindsey who so eloquently penned the words:

The little things are most worthwhile--
A quiet word, a look, a smile,
A listening ear that's quick to share
Another's thoughts, another's care...
Though sometimes they may seem quite small,
These little things mean most of all.

There was so much power in that little orange sticky note, a note I put into my planner and have saved for the past ten years. I have come to realize since that time that is really is these little, seemingly insignificant things that we do that can make the biggest difference in the lives of those around us.

1 comment:

Gerb said...

Great post! Thanks for the reminder to show appreciation...and that the little things count.

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