The kids are going through the statewide standardized testing at school. It is a time of high-anxiety, uncertainty, and worry (I don’t remember worrying about tests like this but my priorities have never been in proper alignment.)
Amanda was kind enough to volunteer her time to help administer the tests at the school. I listened to her speak of a particular teacher at the school and the level of hospitality she provided to the kids. Amanda said that this particular teacher knew every student, young and old. She said that as each student walked down the hall she would greet them,
“Hey Johnny, I love those shoes. You look like a professional ballplayer. Knock ’em dead today.”
“Angela! I LOVE the unicorn shirt. Only you can wear that shirt so well. You are going to do great today.”
“Look at you, Robert! You look so energized, I can just tell that you are going to perform wonderfully on the tests today.”
“Wow! Suzie, I love your hair in pigtails like that. You always do such a good job of putting your hair in pigtails. You are going to ace these tests.”
With each student, this teacher offered a few words of hospitality along with a hug, a high-five, or a pat on the back. To hear Amanda tell the story, she was basically passing out confidence in the form of compliments and acknowledgment. Amanda told me that you could see the student’s eyes light up as they approached the teacher and you could see their shoulders straighten and their heads raise as they walked away.
Each of those kids gained a little bit more identity, a little touch of confidence, and a slightly larger sense of belonging, only because of the recognition given by another human.
Hospitality cost nothing but many of us are afraid to offer it, mostly because we don’t realize the value in the hospitality we have to give.
This weekend, I had a grown man stop and tell me something that he admired about me. I felt no different than Johnny did about his shoes, Angela did about her shirt, Robert about his energy, or Suzie about her pigtails. At forty-one years old, a compliment and some hospitality are still just as powerful as they were when I was ten.
Tell someone something that they do well today….I bet they will do it even better tomorrow.
Peace, Love, and all things Beef related,