Thursday, September 23, 2010

Enough About Me...

Bethany HamiltonImage by Kanaka Menehune via Flickr  While  planning my first guidance lessons this year, I found an inspirational little video put out by called Finish Strong.  In the video several individuals who have overcome great odds are highlighted. One of them is Bethany Hamilton, a young surfer who lost her left arm in a shark attack and despite that tragedy is back surfing and winning competitions.  The students were quite impressed with her story and as part of the lesson, I decided to have each student write a letter to her  which I would then mail.   In the letter, I asked the students to tell her a little about themselves, what they are learning in class and then ask her at least two questions.  The results were sometimes touching and often hilarious.  One of my favorite letters is quoted below:

Dear Bethany,
How can you surf with one arm, but enough about you.  I am Leon and I am 9 years old.  I also go to Sixes Elementary.  At my school we are studying  about you.  I wonder how much the shark bite hurt.  Well do you boogie board as well?  Hope you write back,

While the letter is funny enough in itself, it did get me to thinking about how Leon's approach is not unlike how we as adults approach each other as well.  Maybe we aren't as blatant as he was, but is the bottom line all about us? Where is our focus?  Do we take the time to really listen to each other's story, to each other's concerns?  Or are we too wrapped up in our own lives? This is an important concept to consider not only in our personal lives but our work lives as well.  To sell a product, to serve a customer, to minister to someone, to teach a class of fourth graders in a meaningful way, it really does have to be about YOU not ME.  
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