Friday, May 8, 2015

Who you gonna call?

Please excuse me for sharing another story about my father. I promise to return to writing about teaching and learning soon. But as I process Dad's passing and what comes next, it's hard to concentrate on anything else. Besides, this story seems appropriate for Teacher Appreciation Week.

Dad and Kathy at the house
The other day I was agonizing about cleaning out the family home. Dad did nearly all of the work last year. I just needed to finish the job. Some of the furniture was coming to live with us, and a few other pieces were going up to our cabin. The rest was either going to charity or to the dump. I had talked to a local charity about stopping by to pick up a few of the gently-used items, but I was struggling with making a decision about how to dispose of the remaining pieces.

There were too many choices. I could try taking it to the dump myself, or hire a dumpster, or call a hauling company to pick it up. Paralysis crept in and nothing was getting done. Then I remembered a receipt in my dad's papers for "Acme" Hauling. He had done some business with them during the initial clean-up - twice. Dad obviously trusted this company, so I decided to call.

It was the right call. The owner answered and he agreed to give me an estimate. As I was getting ready to say good bye, ...

Owner: I was sad to read about your dad's passing.

Me: Thanks. [I was getting good at this - keep it short and end the conversation]

Owner: I went to MSHS. My name is "John Doe" and your dad was one of my math teachers.

Me: Oh, hi "John". [Can I hang up now?]

John: I wasn't the best student in school. I got into a lot of trouble. But I liked your Dad. He always gave me a fair chance. No matter what happened the day before, each class was a fresh start. I never had a teacher like that before. It's probably not surprising that math was my best class in high school.

Me: [silence - I bet you can guess why]

John: Anyways, call me when you want me to stop by and give you an estimate.

Me: Okay. Thanks.

Later, I told Kathy that I had learned a valuable lesson that day: Trust Dad. Who would Dad call? When possible, one of his former students. Someone he had built a positive relationship with and prepared for future success.

Dad and the MSHS Science Olympiad Team
Thanks, Dad, for another life lesson.

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