Outstanding, Sir!

haulin netWe have a strong Navy Junior ROTC program at West Carteret. Every time I pass Captain Arnold, Master Chief Gower or one of the cadets in the halls, I ask, “How’s it going?”

I thrive on the invariable reply: “Outstanding, Sir!”

The other day I asked Master Chief about this standard reply. He said they teach the reply because it reflects and inspires optimism, confidence and respect.

We have all heard the warnings: “Stay out of the teacher’s lounge. The negativity is crushing.”

This may or may not be true, but suffice it to say negativity breeds upon itself no matter the context.

I saved this practical resource from Christian Working Woman (10/31/07):

When was the last time you complained about something? Last week, yesterday, ten minutes ago? Often we just have no idea how much we complain. Here’s a challenge for you: See if you can make it through one entire day–like today–without complaining about anything. That includes the weather, the job, the company, the boss, the customers, your children, your car–everything.

If you will take that challenge, it will show you just how often you complain and don’t even realize it. Complaining is not something we plan to do, it just happens. But doing everything without complaining or arguing is something we must plan to do. It won’t just happen. If you tend to be a complainer, it’s a bad habit and it won’t break easily. You’ll have to work at it.

Complaining is contagious; if you complain, you cause others to do the same. The cure for this disease is thankfulness. If you’re wearing thankfulness each day, you won’t be a complainer. When you feel like complaining, start reciting what you have to be thankful for. It will cure your complaining spirit quickly.


Before I start sounding too much like Dr. Phil, I want to pull all this together. In either polemic, the constant is the other person. The other person hears the confidence of the cadet and the sun is shining. The other person hears the hopelessness of the complainer and the skies darken.

That is why a school building (and system) focus on relationship-building, both internal and external, is imperative.

Service is one market that is forecast to thrive in the future economy. And education is the ultimate service-sector example. Are we equipping our people with—or even exemplifying at all levels—top-shelf interpersonal acumen representative of successful employees in other service sector industries like tourism, banking, retail, media, health care, and real estate.

This from a recent LeaderTalk entry titled “It’s About the Other Person“:

Teaching concerns human relationships. It is anchored in assisting students to add to their knowledge, seeking ways to scaffold learning to push them into places where they will need to stretch and question, examine, accept or reject and search for more. It is sometimes uncomfortable and challenging, frustrating and rewarding the whole while being centered around relationships.

Relationships – this is what brings and binds us together. Relationships help us connect and develop, grow and learn, keep perspective and remain motivated. Relationships have become a large part of how we are growing and developing our teaching and understanding. These are the relationships that those (education professionals) not engaged DO NOT have.

How are we treating our internal and external stakeholders? Outstanding, Sir?


One Response to Outstanding, Sir!

  1. Sue Morris says:

    I love this- it was meant for me to read. Today I will take the challenge!! Thanks!! I really enjoy reading your blog.

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