Learning from Your Students

Any day with homemade cookies is a good day. Last week a troop of freshmen appeared in our office bearing plates laden with chocolate chocolate chip cookies. Clearly, these freshmen have good taste.

chocolate chocolate chip cookiesWe didn’t know what to make of them at first. I work in an administrative office at a university, and we generally only see students when they are lost or in serious trouble. These young men and women had baked cookies for everyone in the building, all four floors, to show their appreciation “for everything you do for us.” I’m sure most of them have no idea what we do.

Many of us, myself included, tend to dismiss the contribution of those whose jobs we don’t understand. These students took the opposite approach, assuming we were doing something worthwhile on their behalf, a generosity that meets or exceeds that of baking dozens of cookies for people you don’t know.

I think the world would benefit from more random acts of appreciation. They should probably be done regularly, like flossing. They could be simple, like thanking the person who checks my groceries with more than a mumble instead of interacting solely with the credit card machine.

One blogger has taken it a step further in her Year of Kindness campaign. She does things like buy a complete stranger a cup of coffee because he looks sad or give away dozens of roses to whoever will take them. I’m probably not that advanced yet, but I could start by recognizing those people who help me regularly rather than taking them for granted.

When the cookie bearers stepped off the elevator, the atmosphere on our floor suddenly became Disney-worthy — sun shining, birds singing. I found myself asking everyone, “Did the students come to your office?” That kind of good cheer is worth spreading.

7 thoughts on “Learning from Your Students

  1. I was just remembering how awesome the beginning of a Disney movie used to be, with the paintbrush going across the top of the screen and the paint magically dripping down and making a scene. How breathless, joyous and riveting it was. Wow and wow for your students. What fun! Let’s do more!

  2. The first question asked by someone here was, “Did you lace them with something?” It’s sad that some people suspect the worst first. Of course we’re on the first floor. They must have started on the fourth floor and worked their way down. There were only two boys by the time they got to us. I was very impressed that not only did they say thank you, but they also baked them themselves!

  3. That is splendiferous. And how insightful of you to see the inspiration in the fact that they probably had no idea what you all do but assumed you were doing something to help them. I knew a woman who trained beauty queens–and had had contestents who had won the Miss America pageant seven years in a row at the time I knew her. One of the things she had the candidates do for months in advance was write a thank-you note to someone every single day. I may not be into beauty pageants, but I think there is real truth there. I hope those students felt truly beautiful.

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