Copyright © Louis Schmier and Atwood Publishing.

Date: Fri, 08 Jun 2001 07:26:17 -0400 (EDT)
Random Thought: An Hello and Thank you, II

Something marvelously unexpected happened Wednesday, the first day of this summer semester, in one of the hallways. I don't want to go into it. It took me aback and back to Ella.

Both that colleague and Ella reaffirmed for me that something as simple as taking time for a personal hello--and maybe a little more--in the halls really does matter. Students are no different then we are. We all want to be appreciated. We all want to be noticed. We all want to be valued. We all want to be validated. It's nice, not as reward but as a humbling incentive to pursue and be in a right relationship with each other. After all, the bottom line of teaching and learning is about human relationship. That is what should be the true energizing and driving spirit of a learning community, of any community.

I never met a student who didn't want to believe I was sincerely interested in him or her as a person. I never met a faculty or staff member or administrator who didn't feel likewise. You can't fake it. If you mean it, he or she will know. If you pretend, he or she will know that as well.

There is value in being valued. There is importance in being treated as important. Extrinsic awards, however, are no match for genuine appreciation and interest, for authentic caring and compassion, for sincere valuing and validation. I don't think those occasional ceremonies, impersonal rites, award dinners, Honor Day ceremonies, fancy scrolls, or decorative wall plaques--even gold stars or grades--are all that critical. I do think an everyday affirming handshake, an encouraging word, a simple noticing and knowing, a supportive nod, a celebrating "yes," a joyous wink of the eye, a grateful pat on the back, an acknowledging thumbs up, maybe even a sincere hug, and certainly an appreciative "thank you" are.

         Make it a good day.


         Louis Schmier      
         Department of History
         Valdosta State University
         Valdosta, GA  31698                 /~\        /\ /\
         912-333-5947              /^\      /     \    /  /~\  \   /~\__/\
                                 /     \__/         \/  /  /\ /~\/         \
                          /\/\-/ /^\_____\____________/__/_______/^\
                        -_~    /  "If you want to climb mountains,   \ /^\
                         _ _ /      don't practice on mole hills" -    \____

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