The only quibble I have with Meehan's quote is that it refers only to students; I would humbly change the last word to people.
I can reflect on a number of times in the past several weeks in which people have made a point to come up to me in person and share something that I have done that is meaningful to them. The conversations usually start the same way, "This is just a little thing but..." or "This won't take long..." or "It's not a big deal, I just wanted to tell you..." and yet each time, I left the conversation feeling proud of something that I had done that someone else noticed. I responded in kind - sharing how meaningful it was to me, not only that this person noted what I had done but that they took the time to share it with me as well. I was humbled and touched by the kindness. Not something I will easily forget.
There's a high school student that I've met just this past year that loves blackberries. My typical snack mid-morning is a yogurt, granola and blackberries. There's a small refridgerator in between the Business Office and Support Services Office across the hall from me and one time as I was returning to my office with this snack, and this young woman said as she passed me said, "I really like blackberries." Without thinking, I stopped, turned and opened the container of blackberries and offered her some. She said, "Really?" "Of course," I responded. Since then, I cannot pass her in the hall without her asking if I have any blackberries...
My final example of a "little conversation" came a week ago, as Montpelier was reeling with the shocking death of a man, who has a little boy in our Pre-Kindergarten class. The e-mail came to me pretty late Sunday night:
It is an incredible relief to me at a time like this that our community (i have one kid in the high school and one in the middle school) has such an incredible team running things: you, Mike, Pam, and Chris, and everyone doing the teaching on the ground. Tomorrow will be a hugely sad day, like today was, but it is a great honor to know that our kids will be loved at school as they are at home.
There are a lot of big things happening in our world, in our nation, in our state, and in Montpelier. There are loud voices, there are large problems, and there are great debates that are taking place. But this week, I challenge us all to make it a point to share a "little" something to make someone else's day, to bring a smile to their face, to show someone else how meaningful they are to you. If you can do it in person, that works best. Yet a phone call or e-mail can be just as noteworthy. Simply taking the time to better a relationship with a "little" thing will preserve and grow that relationship.
It still is (and always will be) about relationships.