Impact and Influence
I recently spent the weekend with a group of my college girlfriends who I was lucky enough to play basketball with during my time at Duke. This is an amazing group of successful woman who are doctors, international development analysts, business owners, environmentalists, educators, and mothers. Our conversations, as you can imagine from such a diverse group, were rich and thought provoking. What I was taken back by, however, was the person and related experiences who dominated our conversations– our college basketball coach.
Some of the women graduated 15 years ago, but because of the impact and influence this one person had on our lives, we found ourselves up at the wee hours of the night discussing our experiences with her. The stories included the challenges and successes, and had us smiling, laughing, and reliving painful experiences. I was amazed how each one of us could distinctly remember at least one simple act or thing that was said to us that changed us—for better and for worse.
As a coach and educator, I was reminded about the importance of leading and serving our students and athletes in a positive way, and being mindful of the power our words and actions have on these young people who are entrusted to us.
It doesn’t matter if the children are 5 or 18, or if they “like” their teacher; these adults are people they spend a considerable amount of time with and are asked by their parents to listen to and respect. It only makes sense that what these adults say and do will make a significant impact on the lives of the children that interact with them–some for the better and some for the worse.
Our job, as educators, is to work as hard as we possibly can to monitor what we say and do to ensure that years down the road, our students will be telling stories about the positive difference we made in their lives.