This past week I unexpectedly found a wad of money in by back pocket. I had put it there months ago while attending the National Principal’s Conference in Boston because I didn’t quite know how I wanted to spend it then but knew for sure I didn’t want to lose it. So I stashed it. Then, as I often do, I completely forgot about it.
A few days ago, Mr. Thompson (my boss) helped me find it. He also helped me figure out how to spend it.
“Do you know what the two most powerful words in the English language are?” Mr. Thompson asked. I was standing outside the school, greeting kids and fighting off the cold, “Love you?” I said, wondering where this was going.
“I am,” he said, “because what comes after ‘I am’ will shape your life.”
We then spent the next twenty minutes or so, high-fiving students and discussing the importance of “I am” and other things I don’t really remember because, to be honest, I wasn’t really listening. I was thinking. Unbeknownst to Mr. Thompson, while we were chatting and laughing and greeting the kiddos as they shuffled their way into school, he had metaphorically thrust his hand into my back pocket and pull out the wad of money that had been sitting there since Boston.
And now, unlike then, I couldn’t wait to spend it!
Brian McCann (@casehighprinc) is a principal in Massachussets and it was in his session at the National Principal’s Conference where I first heard of #PositiveSignThursday, a day where he would print out a positive message, take pictures with students throughout the day, then post them on social media. I thought it was a cool idea, but still I stuffed it in my back pocket because I didn’t quite know how I wanted to use it.
Now, inspired by the power of “I am . . .”, I do.
Conflict reveals truth. Or, as Priya Parker states, “conflict unearths purpose.” So when difficulties arise, when true conflict or strife occur in our lives, how one has been completing the “I am . . “ sentence will suddenly have flesh and blood. Suddenly the perception of themselves and why they are here is revealed.
“What comes after ‘I am’ will shape your life” the speaker says, “What you speak after ‘I am’, what you believe after ‘I am’ will control your decisions and shape your life.”
And for many of our kiddos, what they see in the mirror is not what they are. #PositiveSignThursday is one way I can help. For many it may be the first time they see and say, “I am strong”, “I am fearless”, “I am a champion.” It might the first time they say, “I am wanted”, “I am needed”, and “I am someone who can make a difference.” For others, “I am a fighter” or “I am more than my body” might be the reminder they need for that day, that week, that year, or their life.
Either way - and even if some think it cheesy - I’m in. All in. Because they’re worth it.
And so am I.