On the day before Valentine's Day, we were supposed to have a staff meeting. I am not a complainer, but it is no secret that meetings are not something that I look forward to. Actually, I am not certain if anyone really can say with COMPLETE honesty that they love meetings. Anyway, I went to the meeting, along with the rest of my staff, only to discover that it was a ruse.
There was no meeting.
Instead, our custodian had hired, at his own expense, a mariachi band to serenade us for an hour.
And I was blown away. All of us teachers were, actually. When asked, the custodian simply said, "Teachers work hard. Someone should do something nice for them."
I have always been a believer that it is often the little things that make our lives better, the small gestures of kindness that we show (or not) towards others that define who we are, that define the way in which we want to shape our world.
But sometimes I forget to consider the big, grand gestures. The impossibly romantic, sometimes futile gestures that are so big, so unpredictable when they touch our souls. These can change lives.
I do not need to tell you that there is a difference between what a teacher gets paid and what a custodian gets paid.
But I do need to tell you that something changed in us all that day, February 13, 2013, in that big, loud, trumpet blaring, violin playing, bass thumping gesture. We felt so valued by the gift, and when you feel valued, you become more valuable. Because someone gave something to us, for no other reason that he thought "someone should do something nice for them", we will all do better at what we do.
That kindness, that over-the-top gesture will live on in what we give to our kids. We have no choice but to pay it forward, because we were so filled up. The joy just overflows.
Thank you, Manny.