What You Do When People Are Watching

Jessica Winkler - Thursday, October 16, 2014

Sitting across the undersized table smelling faintly of pencil lead, I once again engaged one of my son's teachers. My son was challenged by a number of different learning disabilities, requiring certain accommodations by his teachers. Complicating matters further was the fact that this was the fourth time we had moved, and so he had to be retested and reclassified in each state. It usually took a few pointed discussions with his teachers before he received what he needed in order to learn. I felt completely ill equipped to advocate in this way; I didn't even understand all of his needs completely, but my son had no one else. I advocated for him over and over again. I learned from repeated push-back how to make my points clearer. I learned from repeated conflict how to influence someone else to see my goals for my son as their own. "Okay, then we both agree we want my son to be successful..."

My son watched and learned. 


Fast forward to present day. My son now understands how to advocate for himself. He watched, he copied and he learned. Occasionally I noted that my other two children are not nearly as skilled at advocating for themselves. It is in these moments that I am reminded of the importance of modeling skills to others. In the best of times--but especially in busy, uncertain, or difficult times--we are given opportunities to positively influence and teach those who watch us. We leave a legacy in these times whether or not we want to, for good or bad. What kind of legacy are you leaving through your actions to help people make the world a better place?

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