“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”
— John Fitzgerald Kennedy
As the light peeked out upon the final day of school before Thanksgiving, the principal of Conestoga Middle School drove into the school’s parking lot.
Zan rolled down the window of his pickup truck.
“A great many thanks!” he shouted from across the expanse.
“Happy Thanksgiving!” I hollered back.
“And much, much more back to you!” he returned before driving away to start his very busy day and I returned to updating the reader board.
>> Fast forward 6 hours. <<
Several of us stood in the lobby of Whitford Middle School. I had taken vacation time to join the other parent volunteers at the concession stands at the school’s pre-Thanksgiving party.
Lawrence, the vice principal, came up to the group of us, shook my hand and thanked us for coming out to help at the party. We chatted for a few minutes about the state of affairs at the school, until the principal, Aaron, walked in.
Aaron took my hand, “Thanks for stopping by. We appreciate it.”
We chit chatted about a few things, including his alma mater, Notre Dame, and their success on the gridiron this year. Then we all dispersed quite quickly as the students would be arriving soon. Staff to the hallways, volunteers to the soda and candy tables.
As parent volunteers, we come to the school because our children are there. Maybe we want to meet their friends, keep an eye on them, send a message that school is important, or just help out.
But regardless of the reason for volunteering, the experience is just a little sweeter when someone at the school takes a minute of their time to show honest appreciation of our time. From a parent’s perspective, it gives a bit of personality – no humanity – to an institution that can sometimes look foreboding from the outside.
It’s a tiny connection that speaks the unspoken, “You are important. Thanks for being you.”
And that’s thanks worth giving.
Yesterday’s gift of time … Updated the reader board at one daughter’s middle school … Sold sodas with a group of fabulous volunteers at my other daughter’s middle school.