I love my kids' school. It's the kind of place that reminds me of everything good about elementary school and it makes me want to stay. I spent last night cutting out pieces of paper with an inspirational saying and attaching starfish pins that I had hot glued earlier that day with the girls. My job is to get more parents to volunteer at the school, and I think it's an easy one.
As I attached the hundredth starfish, I thought about their old school. It had an entirely different philosophy, and assumed the worst about people. If you didn't log in the minimum amount of hours of volunteer time, your family was fined hundreds of dollars at the end of the year (this was a tuition-based school). Our children, and eventually us, had to hand in singed slips of paper from the priest attesting to the fact that we had, indeed, attended church. The consequences were a little more ambiguous with that. Hell, maybe? Anyway, it pissed us off to the point that even when we did go to the school-connected church, we never turned in the signed slips. What were we? Children? Is this how you motivate people?
Happily, we're at a different church and school, and the funny thing is, we're motivated to give even more of our time, even more of ourselves.
People don't like to be forced to do things, do they?
Strolling along the edge of the sea, a man catches sight of a young girl who appears to be engaged in some kind of an artistic dance. She stoops down, then slowly straightens to her full height, and casts her arm outward in a graceful arc.
Drawing closer, however, he sees that the beach around her is littered with little starfish and that she is throwing them gently one by one back into the sea.
He laughs light-heartedly: “There are starfish stranded on the sands as far as the eye can see, for miles up the beach. What difference does it make to save just a few?”
Smiling, she bends down and tosses another starfish out over the water saying serenely,
“It makes a difference to that one.”