I’m currently reading “The Power of Moments” by Chip and Dan Heath. According to the Heath brothers, when remembering experiences, people mostly recall the high (or low) points and the endings. For an experience to become a “memorable moment,” it must involve either “elevation” (going beyond expectations), “insight” (learning something new about oneself), “pride” (feeling personal fulfillment), or “connection” (sharing the moment with another person). The book has helped me personally focus on the power of small great things and how the words we speak to kids matter a great deal now and into their future.
Last Monday night I was at our Board of Education meeting but my family attended our Drug Safe Worthington presentation at Thomas Worthington High School. When my daughter came home from the Drug Safe Worthington event I casually asked her how the night was, and with a big smile on her face she said: “Dad, Bromo said I was athletic!” (Bromo is Kilbourne Middle School teacher and coach, Caitie Christel whose maiden name was Caitie Bromagen and thus, “Bromo”). I was like, um, duh… Like this was news to her? Like her dad hadn’t been encouraging her for 12 years, etc..? But as I reflected on her clear excitement and joy Tuesday morning I thought…here is a classic example of how a two-second interaction makes a huge difference for a child.
My daughter woke up Tuesday believing she was more athletic than she did Monday. Why? Because Bromo told her she was and Bromo coaches high school field hockey. It mattered to her. Bromo’s small and seemingly insignificant comment created for her insight about herself, a level of pride and a personal connection. It fits three of the Heath brothers’ criteria for a moment to become memorable. As educators and as parents, the small (and seemingly insignificant) interactions we have with our kids on a daily basis shape a significant portion of how they view themselves, thus, it’s critical that we choose our words wisely.
My hope, and my expectation is that throughout Worthington Schools we’re creating positive memorable moments for our students that let them know that we care about them and that we believe in them. Last week in a small way Bromo did just that!
-Trent Bowers, Superintendent