How do I know? I know because I have a Santa suit. I bought it several years ago when I was involved in community theater, and people who know I have the suit frequently ask me either to borrow the suit or to play Santa for them at a party or family event.
Everybody loves to know a DJ.
This I also know from experience. Having DJed for many, many years, I get repeated requests from friends or acquaintances to play at parties they are throwing or to put playlists together for them. I haven’t DJed regularly for more than three years, yet annually I get at least half a dozen requests to help somebody out.
Everybody loves to know someone with a truck.
This I do not know from experience. I know it because I love knowing people with trucks. I don’t want to own a truck, but I am not afraid to ask a friend to borrow a truck if I have firewood to haul or furniture to move, which seems to be at least a few times a year.
While we might grumble a little bit about people looking to get something from us, the truth is we like it. It feels good to be needed, to have a gift that allows us to make others’ lives better.
As educators, our job is to help our students find their Santa suit.
Each of our students comes to us with a gift, a talent, a skill, that is often unknown to them. Helping them find the gift–helping them find a passion for doing something they are good at—is, to me, what education is all about. When kids find something they are good at and love doing, they are set on a path that practically guarantees success.
That is why we need to offer students a variety of course options and other experiences. And that is why we need to constantly support and encourage our students, to let them know they are capable of more than they believe, and that somewhere within them is something special, something they will be happy doing and others will be happy that they do.
Michelangelo said, “Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.”
Educators are sculptors. Every day we have the opportunity to help kids uncover the beautiful statue inside themselves. Our students have gifts that will change the world. Let us do everything we can to help our students discover their talents, talents that are far more valuable than a Santa suit.