I am no stranger to Chick-Fil-A. Other than eating too many chicken sandwiches to count, I am fortunate enough to have several friends who work at CFA corporate, live close enough to corporate to be a semi-regular lunch visitor, and best of all have a son-in-law who works at CFA corporate who took our daughter off our payroll. Eat Mor Chikin! Our two oldest worked at Winshape Camp and attended Impact 360 (a gap year program), both sponsored by foundations started by the Cathy family, and our youngest experienced the Cathy’s generosity first-hand when she was given scholarships to attend Winshape for several years. You can say Chick-Fil-A, the Cathy family, and their foundations have shaped our lives.
So how does Truett Cathy influence the happenings in Room 128? Three words- second mile service. Each year I adopt a word or phrase reflecting a character trait that I want to grow in as a teacher, and in 2012 I decided my year would be characterized by second mile service. Second mile service is a term Chick-Fil-A adopted a few years ago and which unleashed their employees to go the extra mile for customers. The principle based on Matthew 5:41 became my rally cry. I looked for ways to serve my students and fellow teachers. For me second mile service involved taking someone’s bus duty, covering a class, staying late to help someone with a project, taking ice cream by a student’s house who had wisdom teeth out, making class get well cards to leave with make-up work, and putting brownies in the break room (okay, that was really for me). This has all been my pleasure. Ironically, the year I adopted second mile service was the year my coworkers graciously voted me Teacher of the Year.
All talk in education circles today is to increase rigor and relevance. While I am a firm believer that these are necessary and needed, teachers must also be devoted to character development and personal growth. We cannot lose sight amidst all the standards and testing that we are role models for our students. Character matters in for today’s teachers!
I have a long way to go with second mile service, and for as many times as I see opportunities to serve people, I miss opportunities. I pray that second mile service is part of the culture of Room 128 and my students as they move on into the world. I am thankful for the heart of a man who began a fast food restaurant with a heart to serve and bless others. Who would have thought a chicken sandwich salesman could set the tone for a public school room? Thank you, Truett Cathy, for a life well lived.
What word or phrase will you pursue this year in the area of personal growth? If nothing comes to mind, why not devote this year to second mile service?