January 12, 2021
This morning I held an assembly with all of our 7-12 students and delivered the following message. I share this not because I think you all need to know every little thing that happens in our building, but because there may be others that are not students that need to hear this same message. This is what I shared with my students:
I want to talk to you all this morning about something that has been on my heart and rolling around in my brain for a few weeks now.
I want to talk to you about a word that most of you are pretty familiar with. That word is "perspective". What does that word mean to you?
One student offered "Point of view?"
Yes, that's a good way to define it. Point of view. It's how you and I see things in the world around us.
You guys argue about your perspective all the time. "This is the best song I've ever heard!" "That guy is the best football player ever!" "I hated that movie!"
After last night's college football championship game, one of the players from the winning team proclaimed themselves to be the best college football team ever. That is a big statement to make from a kid that young.
But that comment made think about this talk and an important part of this is understanding how we get our perspective. How is your perspective created? It is made up of everything you watch on TV, everything you listen to with those earbuds in your ears and every post on social media that you choose to read. Those are all influences on your perspective that you have some control over. You can choose what you watch, listen to and read in much of your world.
There are some things that you, as young people, have less control over. Who your parents are, where you live, where you go to school ... those are all examples of things that you have little or no control over. But those things all influence your perspective as well.
Why is perspective important?
Your perspective impacts your "state of mind". How you feel about the world around you and life in general is impacted by your perspective. I know with everything going on in our country before and after the election and the Coronavirus pandemic, this is probably the craziest time that I've ever experienced in my life. It feels very stressful. However, I have talked to people that are older than me and some of them talk about the period of time when the war in Vietnam was taking place and how that was worse ... to them. I don't have that perspective because I wasn't around then. My grandfather was alive during the Great Depression, which was a much different kind of challenging time, but a hard time for sure. Most people alive today don't have that perspective because it was a long time ago.
I share this with you because I have seen the data from around the country. Mental health issues are increased, substance abuse issues are up, depression is up and even suicide rate is higher. All of those are related to "state of mind" and are impacted by perspective.
Each one of you knows someone... or maybe you ARE someone... that is struggling with keeping a positive outlook in today's world. The perspective is negative and bleak. And each of you also has the opportunity to influence other people's perspective in a positive way.
My challenge to you this morning is to be a bright spot for someone. Its doesn't have to be a big thing, but do something nice for someone. Do a chore at home that you weren't asked to do and tell a parent it was because you appreciate what they do for you. Give a peer a compliment. Thank a teacher for putting in extra time to help you pass a class. Do something that makes someone else feel good.
And here's the secret. Doing that will make you feel good too. There is something powerful about being a positive influence on others that creates a positive influence on yourself as well.
In a minute I'm going to send you off to your first period class and I know that you are going to focus on your classwork and have a productive morning. However, I don't want this message to get lost. Let this message grow in you and think about this throughout the day. Prepare yourself for the opportunity or plan a way to create the opportunity... and do something to make the world around you a brighter place.