“Good morning.” Just two words. So simple. And yet so important.
When we are sitting in the office working before school starts, students walk through on their way to class. I try to say, “Good morning,” to each one, domestic and international. Most often the students respond with greetings of their own, and, frankly, it really makes me happy.

Why is this so important? Am I lonely and thirsting for human interaction? No. Are we in Alaska and unsure if it’s day or night? Nope. Am I thankful the students aren’t chanting, “Bones of anger, bones to dust!” and putting a Voodoo curse on the school? No, but that is a scary thought.

It’s important because “good morning,” when uttered kindly or especially with a smile, helps build a sense of community. A considerate welcome goes a long way towards making everyone—not just the school administration—but the youngest kids to the oldest feel as if they are a part of a special school that really does serve as a second family. Some of you are saying, Well, there are a lot of ESL students who don’t know the language so they can’t give a salutation. Not true. Our ESL students know the basics, and they are as likely to say hello as our domestic students.

Does thoughtfulness make a difference in others ways? You bet it does. At staff meetings when teachers are discussing a student and his or her performance, intangibles are often considered. When a student goes out of her way to be kind to others, or simply say “Hello” or “How are you doing?” the staff pays attention. I cannot tell you the number of times we have been talking about a kid struggling in a class and a teacher will say, “Yeah, but he’s a really good kid” or “She’s always so nice” or “He helps everyone.”

When kids go off to university, they should be polite and respectful, if not because it’s right but also because they need to form positive relationships with their professors. These positive relationships can help ensure college success but also might help even later. An excellent recommendation or even a phone call from a respected professor can go a long way towards getting a student into a graduate school of choice.

After the education is complete, one must have manners when going to a job interview and after getting the job there are business lunches and promotion parties and . . .

Alright, I could go on and on, and it’s certainly a stretch to say success in life all starts with an eleven-year-old saying, “Good morning.”

So Guten Morgen will do.


Sean Kelley


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