Tell your kids they are important

A colleague sent this to me, and I had to share it:

The below is a totally true story:

Gary was a boy in a elementary school in Pittsburgh who was known throughout
the school as a big behavior problem.

He was disobedient and disrespectful. Gary was the class clown or class
terror, depending on how you wanted to look at it.

One day he was sent down to the principal’s office (for about the 50
billionth time) because of a “disciplinary infraction” on his part.

The principal met with him, spoke to him about proper behavior, values,
goals etcetera. It was pretty much the standard lecture.

The very next day, there was a noticeable change in Gary’s attitude. As the
days, weeks, and months went by he excelled academically and socially. He
became a model student as well as a model citizen. He was studious,
courteous, and served as an asset in class because of his excellent
insightful participation. He got involved in extra curricular school
projects and programs.

What in the world did the principal say to him at that meeting? No one had
the nerve to ask.

At the final staff meeting of the school year, one of the teachers got up
the nerve to ask the principal about Gary. Everyone took notice when that
name was mentioned and a hush came over the room. Everyone wanted to know
the secret of what was said.

The principal shrugged his shoulders and told everyone there that he didn’t
know. “I gave him the same talk I would give to anyone in that situation,
the same talk I had given to Gary countless times over the years. I have no
idea why this time he was suddenly so remarkably affected.”

By this time, everyone’s curiosity was piqued so they decided to go straight
to the horse’s mouth and ask the lad himself. Gary recounted the incident as

“First I was sent to the principal’s office, which was nothing new. I
stepped inside the office, sat down, and the principal started speaking and
lecturing about stuff. To be honest I couldn’t really tell you what he said
because I don’t remember and I wasn’t paying much attention while he was

“Then his intercom buzzed. It was his secretary telling him there was a
phone call for him. He told his secretary that he couldn’t speak now because
he was meeting with someone very important.”

“He kept on going with his lecture but I have no idea what he was saying
because all I could think about was that he said I was someone very
important. I left his office with that one thought spinning through my head
– the principal thinks I’m very important. I went on home but that’s all I
could think about for the rest of the day – I am very important.”

“The next day, I got up, got dressed, ate breakfast, went to school – all
the same things I always did, but it was all different. Now I was someone
important. I went to my first class, sat down feeling great, and I guess
things kind of just took off from there.”

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