07 Jul Slice of Life: People Never Forget How You Made Them Feel
I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. Maya Angelou
A family in my neighborhood is moving. They are dear friends and have been part of our community for twenty years. Over the past few weeks, I have collected memories, stories, and moments from many members of our community to celebrate this friendship by making a book for them.
Through this project, I have had the privilege of reading everyone’s words and have noticed a common theme among the comments and stories. The theme is a common thread woven throughout the actions, words, thoughts and events that were shared: No matter what the circumstance this family always has time for others. Whether through volunteering on committees, hosting neighborhood events, helping in a time of need or simply stopping to say how are you and then truly taking the time to listen; they make time for others.
They are a family of two working parents and four active boys. They clearly have no time to spare, but their friends and neighbors notice that they always have time to give. They always take the time to check in, stop by or pull over. It is interesting to me that the memories many people shared were not linked to one moment in time, but many moments that added up to a feeling. This family made each of us feel important, heard and valued.
I wonder if this theme is a common thread woven throughout the actions, words, thoughts and events in our classrooms and schools. Do we begin our days in classrooms greeting each student and checking in? Do we take the time to listen to what is on each student’s mind? Are we rushing and pacing rather than stopping to say how are you? Are we making our students feel as if we always have time for them? Do we take the time to make our students feel important, heard and valued?
As I process the loss of these dear friends in my day-to-day life, I want to cherish and remember how they made people feel. I can’t help but think about the rushed days in schools, the endless to-do lists and the packed agendas we try to cram into our days. The next time someone pops in to say hello as I am struggling with a technology problem before a presentation, I want to stop what I am doing and take the time to respond. The next time I ask someone how they are doing, I want to pause to truly hear the answer. In the end, it all gets done. Even if it doesn’t, life goes on and it is still waiting for us the next day. Our stress can make us feel like there is never enough time, but my friends have taught me there is always time to stop and take a moment to make someone feel important, heard and valued. If our students and colleagues will never forget how we made them feel it seems like an essential goal to me.