How many times have you seen “It’s a Wonderful Life” with Jimmy Stewart? I was thinking about that movie recently, and about the dilemma young George Bailey faces when the local druggist accidently poisons a customer’s medicine. George knows the consequences if he doesn’t speak up, yet when he does, the pharmacist doesn’t listen and responds with a quick smack to the young man’s head (and sore ear). Not sure how to react to the situation, George looks around the drug store and sees a “sign”. Many people might ask for a sign telling them what to do in difficult situations, but George’s sign is an actual sign hanging on the wall; “Ask Dad…he knows”.
I’m rarely faced with life and death decisions regarding poisoned medicine, and when I do ask for help, I’m rarely smacked in the head. But I do have struggles, dilemmas, feelings of defeat, and tough decisions to make, and I am thankful to have my very own Life Advisory Council: those I turn to. The members of my advisory council are administrators, teachers, and counselors but they are also neighbors, church members, family, and long time friends. I think my council can be divided into categories:
Give it to Me Straight: I don’t need you to pick me up, pump me up, or tell me what I want to hear. The members of my Life Advisory Council in the “straight” category push me to do it better, give me honest feedback, and help me grow.
Don’t Let Me Get Too Big for My Britches: (this one is especially for my AEL buddy J. Perez). I need you to remind me where I came from and that I have spent many summers without any new shoes. The members in the “britches” category remind me that there is someone ready and willing to take my place, help keep me humble, give me honest feedback, and help me grow.
Keep Pushing Me: I need you to help me remember that I am always a teacher and always a learner. The pushy members of my council make me sign up for conferences and trainings, show me their shiny new gadget and challenge me to test it out, try something that makes me uncomfortable, give me honest feedback when I try something new, and help me grow.
Tell Me You are Proud of Me: I need you to build me up when I am tired and sad and feeling defeated. Remind me of how much I have accomplished and encourage me to keep my head up. The cheerleaders on my council believe I can do something long before I believe it myself. They give me honest feedback and they help me grow.
If you are on my council, you know who you are. Sometimes you are in the cheerleading category and sometimes you may need to remind me not to get too big for my britches and you sometimes have to give it to me straight. But you are always a part of my Life Advisory Council, giving me honest feedback and helping me to grow.
I hope my teachers and my students find their council in life. We all need a group of people to help us figure out what to do when we know we must act, yet not sure which direction to go.
Thanks to my Life Advisory Council it is indeed a Wonderful Life.