I am forever grateful to you as IAPSS members for permitting me to serve you this year as President. It has been a very rewarding experience and one I have cherished. I hope that I have made a positive difference in our organization during the past year and plan to continue to be actively engaged in the IAPSS in whatever role I am able. Thank you!!
In my May message, I spoke if the importance of reading. And, as educators, we emphasize that importance of reading with our students daily. Over time, we often find a particular author or authors that become our favorites. For me, it’s Andy Andrews. I have read six of his books. The first, and still my favorite, is “The Traveler’s Gift”.
With the help of Keith Laskey and RIS Media, I’d like to share why. “The Traveler’s Gift” is a story about an executive, David Ponder, who, after a hostile takeover of his company, loses his job. For the first time in his life he finds himself out of money and unable to care for his wife, and daughter. Ponder is now forced to take a part-time job he hates working for a grumpy old man. Meanwhile his wife, a former stay at home mom, must start working to help make ends meet.
One day while at the store Ponder gets a phone call from his wife. Their daughter is sick and will need to have her tonsils removed. With no more insurance, no money, and no way of borrowing, Ponder finds himself in a seemingly hopeless position. He hangs up the phone and turns to see the agitated owner of the store. The owner ridicules David Ponder for taking a personal call at work and fires him on the spot. Hopeless, broke, and out of ideas. Ponder is left to wonder, “Why me?
Andy Andrews believes that each one of us has the ability to change the world. He’s learned every choice you make matters, even when you have nothing. Even more important, every choice you do not make matters just as much. Even the smallest things we do can have a tremendous impact on the world.
In “The Traveler’s Gift”, Andrews navigates us through seven points, seven decisions really. And even Andrews points out that the seven principles, at first blush, don’t seem very profound. I encourage you to think about Andy Andrews’ seven decisions that lead to personal success and how you can use them in your future.
The first decision for success: The Buck Stops Here
President Harry Truman had that famous sign on his desk “The Buck Stops Here”. He signed his name on a single sheet of paper that authorized the decision to drop the atomic bomb on two cities in order to end World War.
The second decision for success is to seek wisdom – Listen to the guidance that is offered from people you can trust.
Napoleon lost at Waterloo because he failed to listen to his troops who said that you can’t send them into battle without a bucket of nails, which were used to plug the torch holes of the cannons that were seized and render them useless. Without the nails, the British were able to get their cannons back and fire them at Napoleon’s forces, and win the battle for Waterloo.
The third decision for success is to be a person of action – Seize the moment.
Bill Gates decided to drop out of school at Harvard University to build a computer system that would one day become Microsoft.
Joshua Lawrence Chamberlin, a school teacher, out of ammunition against overwhelming odds, led a bayonet charge against fully armed Confederate troops, and won the battle of Gettysburg.
The fourth decision for success is to have a decided heart- Ignore rejection, let your passion be your guide.
Mark Victor Hansen and Jack Canfield’s book was rejected by over fifty publishers before Peter Vegso at Health Communications decided to take a chance on them. The Chicken Soup for the Soul book series has now sold over 100 million copies.
Thomas Edison tried and failed over 1,000 times, before creating the incandescent light bulb.
Joan of Arc was only seventeen years old when she led the armies of France against the English. The military leaders cringed at the thought of a peasant girl leading the men of France. “If you go in, not a man will follow you,” they told her. “I won’t be looking back,” she replied.
The fifth decision for success is choose to be happy – Put a smile on your face or you won’t be the one chosen.
Consider what employers do. If you have two prospective employees with the same educational background, and equal experience, who are about the same age, and even look and dress very similar. One of them gripes and complains, and the other one smiles and is happy. Which one would you hire and want to be around?
The sixth decision for success is to greet this day with a forgiving spirit. Forget Anger Management – Use Anger Resolution
Joshua Chamberlin, who led that famous charge at Gettysburg, was chosen by President Abraham Lincoln to accept the Confederate surrender at Appomattox. There, Chamberlin stunned the world with a show of forgiveness and respect: He ordered his troops to attention, saluting General Robert E. Lee and the defeated South. With that bold stroke, the President of the once again United States of America began the healing of a nation and its people.
And the seventh decision for success is to persist without exception.
Nelson Mandela sought to transform a country filled with racial divisions and oppression into an open democracy. He served a twenty-seven year sentence for leading a non-violent strike against the National Party’s apartheid policy. His real qualities of forgiveness, patience and persistence were revealed to the world only after he was released from prison.
What is it that Andy Andrews is trying to prove? That everything you do matters, not just for you, your family, your business, and our country today, but for generations to come.
When you begin to use these seven decisions, you stop blindly following the pack and gain the opportunity to develop the habits and practices that lead to success in whatever you do, so you can have fun, invest meaningful time with the people you are with, and give generously to others.
So how does David Ponder’s story conclude in “The Traveler’s Gift”? Well, you’ll have to buy the book and read the story to find out. However, what I will tell you is your success is up to you.
Thank you for all you do for your own communities and the service you provide to your district as their Superintendent. Thank you, as well, for allowing me the opportunity to serve in the role of IAPSS President this past year. I hope you enjoy the summer months as you prepare to welcome back students and staff to the 2018-19 school year. Finally, I ask that you join me in supporting Dr. Tom Edington as he takes the gavel and begins his service as our next President.