Posted on February 5, 2017
"We should seize every opportunity to give encouragement. Encouragement is like oxygen to the soul." - George M. Adams
If you have spent any time on social media this week, it is more than likely that you have had a chance to see the video of Barry White Jr., dubbed the "Hand Shake Teacher." His unique style of greeting each one of his students with their own unique handshake has highlighted the importance of making each student feel that they matter.
While this viral sensation is at the height of its popularity and may soon be replaced by the next trend, it does remind educators of a simple yet profound lesson. That is, to make an effort to greet each one of our students as a reminder of how much they matter. Because we are immersed in a wired culture, it is easy for us to become engrossed in our electronic devices.
As I draft this short blog, I am reminded of a simple lesson shared with me by Eddie, a long time friend and dear brother, who is now the pastor of a church in Ethiopia. Within this culture it is highly devaluing to walk past an individual without a greeting or some kind of acknowledgement. He explained that to ignore someone means to deny their existence. As a principal, and taking this to heart, I continue to encourage, honor and acknowledge the humanity of each one of my students. Although they may not always respond, I believe in the importance of making it known to each student that they are invaluable. Imagine a world where we all made it part of our lifestyle to acknowledge every individual we encounter in some way.
Dee Priester and Pastor Eddie Evans