The price of gas is high, but so are the snacks…

price_gauge_arm_leg_bothThe other day I stopped by a tote’sem (that’s what we called them growing up… gas station/convenience store) to get a snack. While waiting in line at the counter getting my Dr. Pepper and spicy peanuts, someone in front of me was complaining about gas prices. I agree; I also complain about gas prices, but what I noticed was that they were buying four sodas, four candy bars, and two bags of chips… their total was $21.76. Do you want to guess how much gas they bought? $5 worth. The guy told the clerk, “Can’t afford to buy much gas; it’s just too expensive.” I’m not sure what type of vehicle they were driving, but I thought they would need to buy gas again in about 30 miles or so. Now, I have no idea what the guy’s story is/was, but several thoughts ran through my mind. Should the guy have spent more on gas and less on snacks? He could have gone through a drive-through and possibly eaten for less. What was more important to him, and what was he focused on? Like I said, I’m not sure what the story is/was.

Never to miss an opportunity for a connection to educational leadership, I thought about how one’s actions tell a story; they always do. When it comes to being an educator, what do our actions say about us? When others watch us, what do they think our story as an educator is? Do they know, or do they make assumptions? Our students, do they see consistency in us as we teach and interact? Where do they see us placing our value; the snacks or the gas?

As I look back on this past year, I would hope that my students see consistency in me as an educator. I would hope that they know the value I place on education and the future it can afford them. I hope they know that I value them as a person more than a student. When our focus is on the “right thing,” and the student knows this, it seems to transcend over into other areas of their lives. Obviously, we can see some students who do not focus on the “right thing” and maybe a few teachers as well. But, nonetheless, our focus says much about who we are.

Given the option of spending money on snacks or gas seems rather trivial. I know what I would choose. My choice doesn’t make me more or less of a person, but I believe it shows many things. Let’s hope what others see is true for us and why we are in education to begin with.

Go be a great educator and leader today… Our future needs it…

Remember… Think Leadership and Be For Others…

©2022 J Clay Norton

Want more Leadership Thoughts? Follow me on… Twitter @thebookchamber or follow the blog directly.

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Happy Mother’s Day…

If you would like to download a printer friendly copy of this, click here: A Mother’s Love

…A Mother’s Love…

Often times we lose sight of what love is...
But a mother’s love always helps us remember.

The unconditional love given by a mother to her children,
Transcends all our troubles and worries.

The gentle touch of feeling “I love you”
Settles our hearts to comfort.

A mother’s love, forever in and on our hearts,
Watching us grow with smiling eyes.

Knowing we have a voice…
of support, encouragement – affirmation and acceptance.

One who builds up…
Our lives as we live.

A mother’s love passed down into our lives,
To teach us to love our own children.

Sharing her life into eternity,
With memories to help us reflect.

Thankful for the lessons learned,
Helping us to be who we are.

A mother’s love, never unfelt.




© J Clay Norton, 2022

A Tribute for Teacher Appreciation… Mina Darnell

Many times in life, you can tell someone specifically how you feel. But to allow others to see and read your feelings, maybe not so much. So, for Teacher Appreciation Week, a tribute…

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I’m writing today, possibly for many of us, in our different ways, to say goodbye to Mina Darnell, who is retiring after 33.5 years of teaching, all at Clinton. I’m not here to talk about her as a leader, or a math teacher, or a long-time coach, or the sponsor of National Honor Society, or the many other things she did or does presently. Today, I’m talking about Mina Darnell as an educator. On this front, I can say, without a doubt, that she is one of the best I have ever seen. In and outside of the classroom, she treated everyone with the same high expectations and value. As an educator, her place was to educate, and she did just that, evident that you knew exactly where you stood. Affording everyone she interacted with, with honesty, respect, and fairness; precious and rare characteristics. As educators, as those who teach the future, it’s something that we need to remember to value. Education needs more educators like Mina Darnell because people like Mina Darnell are extraordinary educators. So, it can be sad that we are losing someone we adore, admire, respect, appreciate, etc. However, we can also be glad that she starts a new chapter and enjoys retirement. Personally, I will miss Mina’s subtle wit and common thinking ground across the hallway. Many a talk we have had and solved most of life’s problems. I am also grateful for the time I have had being an educator with her, as I am sure many of you are as well, and for the impact she has had on students’ lives and on all our lives, for that matter. A legacy she leaves. Mina Darnell is my teaching colleague, in many ways a mentor and a confidant. Most importantly, Mina Darnell is my friend, and I will miss her.

Go be a great educator and leader today… Our future needs it…

Remember… Think Leadership and Be For Others…

©2022 J Clay Norton

Want more Leadership Thoughts? Follow me on… Twitter @thebookchamber or follow the blog directly.

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The Value of Tears…

caring-quote_a-trear-is-made-of-1-water-99-feelings-560d3I saw this quote the other day for the first time ever, “The most expensive liquid in the world is a tear, made up of 1% water & 99% feelings.” I’m not sure if you have ever seen or heard it, but… it got me thinking.

First, let me say that there are some who “cry” at the drop of a handkerchief and those who fake their tears to manipulate… I’m not here to discuss them. They do not deserve the thoughts…

My initial thought was that when we shed tears, we let go of a value for someone or something we have inside ourselves. I have cried for and cried at others, and I am sure others have done the same for and at me. Contrary to popular belief, I have an emotional, sensitive side. Just ask those closest to me. As I thought about the quote above, I realized how true it is. There are happy tears, sad tears, and angry tears, and all tears exhibit personal feelings that are ours alone.

One of the hardest things to do is fight back the tears. You might hear someone say, “This is not the time nor the place.” Well, I believe tears show our humanness and trust. Being able to shed tears allows others to see the courage we have and the passion we are comfortable admitting. When something or someone is really important to us, with emotions attached, our authenticity can be seen, and the value of what we hold dear comes out as tears.

Showing emotion is not a weakness. Tears equate to a conviction. Tears sometimes are the words that cannot be said. Yes, there might be some vulnerability to shedding tears. Still, it can show others that we are in touch with reality and provide “relateableness” (yes, I made that word up).

And as for leadership, I much rather be around those who can express and exhibit emotions. There’s a HUGE difference between that and a person who is just emotional. When it comes to that, those who can express themselves are usually those who respond, whereas the “emotional leader” will only react.

So… let yourself be who you are. If you shed tears, then go ahead. If you don’t, ok… But what not to do, is stereotype. Because the tears that belong to others, those tears are theirs, and only they can determine their value.

I end the blog with this quote… “There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power.” – Washington Irving

Go be a great educator and leader today… Our future needs it…

Remember… Think Leadership and Be For Others…

©2022 J Clay Norton

Want more Leadership Thoughts? Follow me on… Twitter @thebookchamber or follow the blog directly.

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