I stopped by a Mary’s classroom the other day just to say hi. It’s one of my favorite places to be, and I can see why students love her to pieces. She’s one of those teachers who understands that education is 90% emotional. Once you take care of people, the real miracles can happen.
I can quite honestly say I don’t really remember what we were talking about – maybe about how things were going at my new school? – but she called me “infectious.”
As in, put yourself in a bubble and stay the heck away from that chick infectious?
As in, wash your hands after coming onto contact with her infectious?
Really, I had to ask. I’ve certainly been the recipient of more than one backhanded compliment. Or insult. Sometimes the two come pretty close together, if you know what I mean.
Fortunately, she meant it in a good way. As in, an infectious smile, or an infectious attitude. And to tell you the truth, that felt pretty great. It totally made my day.
Wouldn’t it be cool if attitudes really were infectious? Imagine all these unsuspecting people left without their kleenex, Vitamin C or hand sanitizer. They get my smiles, my hello’s, my pick-up-the-pencil-you-dropped, my opened doors all over them. If they didn’t stop it right away, all that kindness might invade their system and they’d start infecting other people too. Pretty soon you’d have all of these blissed-out people walking around. It might be a good problem to have.
Sadly, I think we often fight these kinds of infections, and fight them well. How often do we find ourselves rationalizing the compliments we get? “You’re a good teacher.” “Well, the kids are wonderful.” “You look great today.” “Oh, well, I guess that’s because I actually showered this morning.”
What is it about positive interactions that makes us want to immunize ourselves against them? Why is it so difficult for kindness and favors to enter us without a fight? How can we lower our resistance?
Join me in the un-fighting of this disease. Skip your shots. Surround yourself with other infectious people. Get your hands dirty. And, for heaven’s sakes, if you feel yourself coming down with something, spread it my way.