I’m glad you are here to celebrate!
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Sometimes it takes longer to wrangle words than I expect. This celebration is an important one to document, but it feels so big that I keep sidestepping the time it takes to put corral some words on the page. I don’t have time to write, but I’m going to do it anyway.
Last week I went to a conference with central office administrators, principals, coaches and teacher leaders from our school district. We were a big group and the conference was a long, three day conference. I was torn between being grateful for the new learning alongside school leadership and missing summer alongside my kids.
I was eating breakfast on the last day of the conference, and one of the principals said, “Oh, Ruth, I bought you something.”
She sat a brown shopping bag on the table in front of me. I was surprised. Inside the bag was a white tea towel with stamped black words:
Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.
— Benjamin Franklin
I was so taken back by this random act of kindness that I didn’t know what to say. I blinked too fast so that the tears pricking the back of my eyes wouldn’t escape.
Cindy, the principal, said, “I saw that and thought of you. I decided you just needed to have it.”
I composed myself enough to say, “Thank you. It’s a favorite writing quote of mine.”
Cindy and I have crossed professional paths for nearly 15 years. I admire her from a distance, never getting to know her well. She became a principal before it was common for women to be in leadership roles. She navigates the needs of a k-8 building and sticks to her core beliefs. She was Kim’s best friend.
When Cindy handed me a bag with a gift simply because she thought of me, it meant more to me than an absent-minded gesture. It was Kim in action.
It was a small act of kindness that reminded me it’s all good.
My towel hangs on the handle of my oven, in an old-fashioned tribute to my mom who loves to showcase favorite dishtowels. More importantly, I am reminded of the power of small acts of kindness in making people feel loved in big ways.