From a Simple Sign Comes a Smile

Massoud Adibpour from Washington DC., took the simple concept of a holding a sign in public and turned into a way of touching the lives of strangers.  I came across the following YouTube video via a Twitter link and was instantly inspired by how such a simple act could have such a powerful impact

 We spend our days dutifully following the directions of signs; the hexagonal red STOP sign, the NO PARKING sign, the ONE WAY sign, the DO NOT ENTER sign and the list goes on and on.

Yet, how many of us would “Honk if you Love Someone”, “Don’t be So Hard on Yourself” or my favourite, “Make Today Count”?

 Massoud shared some of the emails that he received from strangers sharing how seeing his signs made a difference in their lives.  People would purposefully drive along a stretch of the road, knowing that they would pass his sign and begin their day with a smile.

 If a sign from a complete stranger can have such a powerful impact on one’s life, imagine what receiving a sign from someone who knows you and cares about you would mean? We all know the feeling of receiving a positive text message or a #FF from a friend or loved one.  One of the positive aspects of our technologically rich world is the ability to instantly reach out and connect with others. Yet, Adibpour did not go techno with his message, he simply took a marker and a large piece of cardboard. It was not how he shared it, but the fact that he saw a need to bring a smile into the lives of complete strangers.

 Now imagine a school where each day everyone was greeted with a sign that gave them hope and inspiration for a positive day of learning?

 What would that sign say?




When we think of metamorphosis, the most distinctive case is that of the butterfly as it transforms from a caterpillar to a beautiful butterfly. There is a story that is told of a child who, upon seeing a butterfly trying to escape the chrysalis and wanting to be helpful, cuts a hole so that the butterfly can easily emerge. The reality for that butterfly was that once he emerged, his wings were not properly formed and therefore he lived his life stumbling along, not able to fly.

The butterfly is conditioned to struggle as he works his way to escape the chrysalis. The struggle helps him to build strong wings so that he can reach his full potential and soar to great heights.

Although we can’t always see the reason for our struggle and during our times of struggle we just want the pain, the suffering, the hurt to stop, once we survive the struggle, we find ourselves strong and ready to soar.

If we do not provide our students with challenges, with projects and tasks that will give them cause to re-examine what they are doing and to develop better strategies, then we are condemning them to a life of stumbling along. If we want our students to soar to great heights, we need to allow them to work hard, to transform themselves into life-long learners and then celebrate with them once they conquer those challenges.

As an educator, how have you transformed yourself this past school year? What has changed about how you meet the needs of your students, of yourself as a learner and as a colleague. What challenges have you overcome which have allowed you to soar?