Wednesday, June 17, 2015

All Are Significant

Elevating Community

Everyone in any given community is important. That might be a neighborhood community, a work community, a school community.  Recognizing custodians in the community has been in the news lately. This post celebrates the often overlooked role of custodians, including the fact that they have private lives with family. In fact, I have a custodian in my immediate family to honor. 

What People Do For Work Matters

School professionals can help remind students and themselves of the importance of everyone in their community of higher learningOne example comes from an exam a professor gave his students. 

John, a conscientious college freshman was taking a pop quiz. He sailed through the questions; then halted at the last one. “What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?” The student thought this a joke question. He had seen the woman many times. She was tall, dark-haired and probably 50ish. How in the world would he know her name though? He handed in his quiz with the last question blank. Just before class ended, one student asked if the last question would be counted toward the grade. “Absolutely,” said the professor. “In your careers, you will meet many people. All are significant. They each deserve your attention and care; even if all you do is smile and say ‘hello’.” John never forgot that lesson. He also learned her name was Dorothy.

Second Graders Line Up For One Man's Signature 

Another example of honoring and respecting everyone in the school comes from an entire second grade lining up to have their school janitor sign their year book! It is each individual within a community that allows for the whole to blossom.

Students line up to have their janitor sign their yearbook!

My Mother-In-Law: Judy Meese

Finally, I would like to honor and respect a custodian who not only was great at her job, but is also a phenominal mother. My mother-in-law, Judy Meese, is one of the best parents that I have ever known. She never read any parenting guides. She and her husband of fifty years (Don), have three daughters that have all chosen education as their career, which in my opinion, is the noblest of occupations. I am very fortunate to have married her youngest daughter, Jen.

parenting, respect, humility
My mother-in law, Judy, and my wife, Jen 

For the majority of Judy's life, she worked as a custodian at Carlton College in Northfield, Minnesota. Her cleaning skills were pristine, her honesty and responsibility impeccable. She had pride in her work and it showed. At home, she read to her children as much as she could. She and Don allowed their daughters to grow up to become themselves, giving them many hours of free playtime outside in the woods on their country property, while continually supporting their choices. Judy and Don were, and continue to be, excellent role models in their family and in their community. And they have always been modest.

 Judy, Jen, mascot, Don, and Papa Green Bean

No community will reach their apex in happiness, truly thriving, without the individuals that comprise the group having a mutual respect for each other. This shared respect evolves with a common humility. I think true modesty needs to have full appreciation of others. Perhaps this is what empathy is all about. My mother-in-law has all these qualities, and she helps to make our family a much better community.

Humbly, Papa Green Bean

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