I grew up in a military family where duty and respect were preached daily. I became a teacher focused on shaping the next generation. I was raised to understand that life isn’t about me, yet I still managed to become selfish and egocentric.
From the moment I got my own classroom and had 150 middle school students hanging on my every word for seven hours a day, my pride and arrogance began to swell. It’s embarrassing to admit that the attention I received from twelve-year-olds was enough to change who I was, but it’s true. I took that pride and used it to keep adults at a distance. I used it to try and magnify my own voice, my own prestige, and what I perceived to be my own influence.
I have written books to try and get my message out. Last year I started a podcast to try and get my message out. The problem is, I have spent a year professing just that…my goal was to get MY message out…. Man, I have been so self-absorbed.
This year my goal has changed. My purpose has evolved. This year my focus is on others. My goal is to be an amplifier, not a voice. An amplifier is a circuit that has a power gain greater than one. My goal is to increase the capacity of others by sharing the stories, the strengths, the skills, and the gifts of others. My goal is to make this year about everyone else and to remember that it’s not about me. This year my goal is to use the word “you” more than “me”. This year my goal is to celebrate you and lift you up with no selfish agenda or goal for self-gratification.
For the last twenty years, I have been immature. I have attempted to ease pain. I have attempted to avoid conflict. I have attempted to put forth a facade to avoid discomfort. I have walked with a swagger to distract from the insecurities. This year I am putting my wants on the backburner to focus on your needs. The greatest indicator of maturity is no longer wanting to focus on your needs, but needing to support the wants of others.
Maturity is a choice, not a process. This year I am making a choice. A choice to be a giver, a helper, and an amplifier.
As you look at the end of this school year, I challenge you to do the same.
Yes, life will be stressful. Yes, you will feel overwhelmed. Yes, you will be stretched thin, but…
Instead of focusing on you, focus on them.
Celebrate your students.
Retweet more than you post.
Share more than you write.
Clap more than you cry.
Be an amplifier and stop reaching for the microphone.
Make the stories of others the focus of your conversations.
Learn from the successes of others and let their strengths carry you forward.
This year, my podcast will be about your stories and triumphs. This year my audio blogs will be what you have written. This year my social media will be filled with what you write. This year my celebrations will be filled with successful kids. This year is the start of a new life, a life committed to you. I hope you’ll join me on the ride.
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