Recently, I was speaking in a temporary field house made of metal sheeting with no air conditioning. The day had been the hottest day of the year, and the building had been heating up throughout the day. As you entered the building, you could feel the heat and humidity hit you and you were instantly covered in sweat. Outside the temperature was over 90 degrees, and inside it was easily over 100!
On stage, I needed paper towel next to my bottles of water – just to wipe off the sweat from my face and to avoid dripping sweat down onto the stage.
As each show went on (3 shows in 3 hours = 5pm, 6:15pm, and 7:30pm), the room got muggier and hotter. By the 3rd show, we were noticing a few students leaving as soon as they walked in (maybe 20 or 30 total students). At that point, it could have been easy to become frustrated that these students were exiting before even giving the program a chance.
I could be grateful. The reality is that 3,000 students STAYED over the course of 3 presentations. They stayed, they sweated throughout, and they showed a passion for one other, for the topic, and for wanting to make a positive impact.
In their comments afterward students told us, “The heat was worth this experience” and other similar statements. They were not fixated on who left or who didn’t show up. They were focused on making a positive difference upon leaving the field house.
Our job as educators is to BE PRESENT regardless of the learning environment we are given to teach in. In fact the tougher the learning environment, the more we need to increase our focus and level of excellence.
What task will you take on today where you say, “Now is the test of my skills. Now is my chance to help others thrive”?