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The Gift of Caring

August 3, 2014


When I was a senior in high school, I involved myself with a project in response to a comment the principal made in a speech about how disturbed he was growing over what he viewed to be a quickly growing degree of apathy in the student body.

He voiced his concern over how passively destructive not caring could be and how when people become too complacent, no matter what the reason, it will be a true indication of our society’s upcoming downfall.

I know how hard it is to keep caring, time after time, about things that go wrong; especially when it seems as if so few people are even remotely phased by what feels so important and critical.

The High School project consisted of timing how quickly the senior parking lot emptied out after the dismissal bell rang – a graphic example, according to our school principal, of how hurried the upper-classmen were to leave school as opposed to staying to talk with friends, involve themselves in co-curricular activities or seek extra help with their grades and studies.

View of Parking Lot

View of Parking Lot

Our fearless educational leader predicted that the Senior parking lot would clear out entirely in less than 10 minutes after the dismissal bell rang and to my dismay, he was correct.

All week long I personally monitored the exodus from the Senior parking lot, and was ready to admit defeat and report my discouraging findings to the Principal. But just then, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed one of the teachers zipping out from the parking lot adjacent to the student lot; the teachers parking lot.
I was struck with a bolt of genius!

The following week, I performed the same observation, only this time, I situated myself by the teacher’s parking lot. And lo and behold, when I compiled the data and worked out the calculations on a per person ratio, it was no contest. The teacher’s rate of evacuation beat that of the Seniors, hands down!

Consequences of Apathy

Consequences of Apathy

I then spent the next hour accepting ‘bribes’ from our beloved Principal if I were to agree to keep the findings away from any of the school papers and other publications.

The only ‘bribe’ I he and I finally agreed upon was one in which incentives were begun to encourage students and teachers alike, to show that they cared. Awards programs were begun for those individuals who demonstrated behaviors that ‘went the extra mile’ and for volunteering to help others.

The message about people needing to care was delivered loudly and clearly and together, we all began to work on making our High School a better place to be for everybody who walked through those doors.

Gift of Caring

Gift of Caring

Caring is not a curse, although it may feel like it at times. It is a blessing and one that we need to find a way to share with each other so that we can make our own corners of the world better places.

Judy is a licensed clinical social worker and has worked extensively as a counselor with children, adolescents, couples and families. Judy’s professional experience in the mental health field along with her love of writing, provide insight into real-life experiences and relationships. Her fresh voice and down-to-earth approach to living a happier, more meaningful life are easy to understand and just as easy to start implementing right away for positive results!

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