"Don't sweat the small stuff - and it's all small stuff."
Certainly catchy, and more than just an element of truth to it. I could get into a discussion of the stuff I consider anything but small; another post, perhaps.
No, this is about my belief that a lot of small things matter, and are worth "sweating".
- A smile is a small thing. But a person's face is transformed by a smile. Smiles invite people in, foster the development of relationships and bonds. Last spring I asked a teacher to smile more, and her "vibe" is entirely different when she does. I'm so grateful that she's taken this to heart.
- Graffiti and other small forms of damage are small things in public spaces. Yet, left in place, they're open invitations to add more. They signal a mood of lawlessness, and a lack of caring by school staff. In the mid 90s, Rudy Giuliani announced an anti-graffiti task force; together with other initiatives, it dramatically lowered the crime rate in New York City. It's worth reading about.
- Spelling mistakes, poor font selection; bad posture, weak grammar. How many job applicants have failed to get an interview, or to be considered for a position, because of one of these "small" things?
- Please and thank you. Will anyone seriously suggest these little words don't matter?
- Being in the room to welcome students to class. No direct link to the learning to follow, but it can be a powerful opportunity to get to know kids, and form relationships with them. A few minutes that can matter hugely.
A touch (school-appropriate, of course), an open door, cleaning up after yourself, pretending not to see or hear something (once in a while). There are so many little things that, ultimately, add up in ways we might not appreciate in the moment.
What do you think are the small things worth sweating?