Sometimes in life a bonus comes our way—and I’m not referring to the monetary kind. It doesn’t come often, but when it does, it seems to come at just the right time. We can’t lay claim to it. There is no legal right to ownership, no entitlement. But it comes our way anyway, as an unexpected blessing. And this virtual trinket cannot then be stolen, squandered, or lost. Once we receive it, it is ours to keep, savor, perhaps even embellish, for years to come.
My wife, Debbie, was the recipient of one of these delightful surprises recently. She is being recognized as THE 2013 You Are Special award recipient from McCarthy Elementary School. She will be honored at a dinner next week, along with other award-winning teachers at other area schools.
“You are special” has a rather appropriate ring to it, but, of course, I’m biased. This is an award selected by the leadership of the school for which she works. When one is singled out by the brass in charge of many staff, it communicates appreciation and respect, and it acknowledges excellence and outstanding service. When peers and former supervisors chime in with accolades, they have just added a healthy dose of frosting to the already delectable treat.
As one who sees another side of Debbie’s commitment to her vocation—the underwater portion of the iceberg, if you will—I can only assure the school’s leadership that their selection is “spot on.” Debbie immerses herself into that which fuels her flame. Children, reading, and learning are a “high-octane” combination destined to intensify her already committed approach. I’m sure many of the school staff are dedicated warriors on the front lines of education, and this is not to take anything away from others who are deserving, but I’ve seen someone who has brought a level of personal ownership to her work and to her school that defies customary work practices. I saw tears shed for disadvantaged children, long days on short rest, and a constitution that accepted responsibility for a volume of work beyond what one could reasonably expect to achieve.
This evidence speaks to a high level of dedication–dedication grounded in a concern for the kids, a desire to maintain high standards for their performance, and a heart willing to sacrifice on behalf of the team. So, my hat, as well, goes off to my wife. Super job, Deb! I’m proud of you. And you will always be special in my book! Know that you are loved and respected by many—including countless students whose days your dimples have delighted. You tutor, support, and coach with all you have to give, which counts for much. But your most lasting legacy is pouring your heart and soul into what you do and who you touch. And that is an everlasting bonus–for you and them!