Rachel’s Challenge

After watching last night’s Modern Family, one moment stood out to me.  The father, Phil, shared a book that he titled Phil’s-osophy, which was full of quotes to his college-bound daughter, Haley, who never pays attention to her father.

This morning we attended Rachel’s Challenge with all of the middle schools in our district.  It was an inspiring program about Rachel Scott, who was the first student killed in the Columbine shooting.

The reason I connected these two experiences was that although we might think that teenagers are like Haley from Modern Family, where important quotes, thoughts, and challenges go in one ear and out the other, there are many students who will let a message hit home with them.  At the end of the episode Haley realizes the importance of the message because of what it means for her.  I had many students do the same.  I watched two classes intently write about specific talking points before class discussions today.  Rachel’s Challenge meant something to them. More than just a sad story that may have drawn tears, it was an opportunity to look inside themselves and decide who they want to be.

Here are some of the quotes or points that stood out to me:

  • Why do we forget that expectations will be risen or fallen to?
  • You can write about athletics, a job, college, but can you dream big?  Will you work towards those goals?
  • Don’t limit yourself!  You are smart enough.  You are talented enough.
  • Write your goals down and be specific.  Who do you want to be?
  • I won’t be labeled as ‘average’
  • We have no idea what a person might be thinking about, going through, or dealing with.  Treat everyone with respect and with the compassion that they deserve.
  • What message do you want to spread?
  • You never know what tomorrow brings, what five minutes brings.  How will you leave a person feeling when you are gone?

The final challenge of the day was to tell someone how important they are to you, that you love them, and what they mean to you.  This doesn’t happen nearly enough.  What will people remember about you?