The end of the school year is near and that means that in a few weeks time that I will have plenty of time to do all those things they are linked to a summer! But before I can get all the summer literature , cook books and utensils, sunscreen, flipflops, shorts and the bottle of Pimm's from under the dust I have first to grade exams and make sure that every pupil gets the grades that they deserved.
There are of course some that have not lived up to my expectations. Teenagers that seemed to have tons of other interest and school is not one of them. Me being the teacher means that I have the priveledge to break to their parents the happy or less cheerful news.
If you wonder if I am a very strict teacher? Well, what do you think? I am told by one of the Facebook tests am I mean teacher but I don't totally agree. What I do consider really important is that my pupils use their talents. Each of them has at least one thing he or she is good at. My job it is to point that out to them and make them nurish that talent. 'I try to shake you before usage!', I tell my juniors. Not that they are impressed by these words. Nope!
When I then encounter teenagers that have a talent but don't use it then this teacher becomes a bit crancky! There are many pupils that I can look straigth in the eyes in June when they receive their report cards. Then I also point out to them out what my first impressions where and if they have putten their talents to the test! And because I still believe that words matter more then grades I always add some words of advice.
You might wonder why I am so obsessed with this but I am true believer that if people don't use their talents our blue planet would already been demolished. When I then meet people that seem to do exactly that I have reason enough to smile. And I challenge you but you will find around every corner talented people. But what we once in while forget is to give compliments to all those individuals that put their talents to the test.
The last few weeks I have met small and big talents. I would now be able to give you a very long list of all those big shots that have managed to make it out there because they used their talents the right way. But let me mention just some of the once that have crossed my way the last weeks.
Fifth place goes to Lorenzo Gatto. This modest violinist came in second in most notorious music
competition of the world for young talents. When he was asked what he felt, his words were:'I feel like this is a big responsiblity! It is a only a beginning!' My mother stated last week over the phone after the attending a concert she was touched! She even went over to ask for an autograph! Can't wait to buy a ticket for one of his concerts!
Fourth place goes to Kim Clijsters,who is back on the court. Some people will doubt if she made the right decision. There are critics amongst us who wonder why she is even that crazy for trying. 'For the money she does not need to do this!' Well, perhaps this lady feels that tennis is her best way to give something back to the world. You can be sure that Kim managed to inspire many other teenagers with a tennis racket to push their talent to the next level.
Third place goes to Toots Thielemans! This 86 year old world famous Belgian (!!!!) jazz musician, who seems to live eternal. He feels that playing the harmonica is something he is just good at. Many who had the honor to have worked or still work with him testify that he is still obsessed with music. That it is not the younger generation that wakes him up the morning with a new idea. No, Toots is still the one who is their wake up call to use their talent. When he is asked why he still performs and wants to work he points out that strongly feels that it is something he has to do. If not he would wonder why he is on this globe.
Silver goes to the Swiss super-talented tennisplayer Federer (turns out to be a good month for talented tennisplayers), known as Federer Express! He managed finally to win that one tournament that still not was on his list. By winning Roland Garros he now is the happy owner of a Grand Slam. Many now admit that he is for sure a living sportsmonument. When he is asked how he feels being that talented, he shows that so well known smile and shruggs his shoulders. 'I feel like I am priviledged to be able to do this!' Seems like he followed his heart when he had to make up his mind between the tennis court or the football stadium. Roger was also a gifted football player but he then decided that tennis was the one talent he had to pursue!
The gold medal goes to rather less straight forward persons: the staff of the Exki down in Brussels at Kunst-Wet. Last week A and I had to be around there because I had to pick up a package for work. We arrived there around lunch time by metro. 'Are we going to have lunch at the carrot, mum?' 'The carrot? What do you mean? Oh, Exki! Yeah, why not!' We had done it before but never on a weekday for lunch when half of the office staff was out foodhunting.
The first hurdle I had to take was getting inside to get close to the food. The place was filled up with people but we got in with the help of a friendly staffmember. Once inside A decided that he needed to go. So I had to run after him. We ended up in one of the cleanest restrooms that I have seen in a long time. By the time we came down there was still enough food to choose from. I managed to drag along my food and drinks, A and the buggy to the cashregister where I was friendly asked to pay. Now sweat was running down my back and I had very red cheeks! 'If you can wait one more minute I will help you to get a good place to sit down!' were then very surprising words! So nice and that was then one less risk to loose food on the way to my table!
So there A and I were enjoying a nice lunch in Brussels in a very buzzing place. The longer I was sitting there the more I liked it. I noticed how friendly the staff was and I couldn't find one thing that was not clean. In the open kitchen two staffmembers were busy and A checked out what they were doing. 'Mum, the kitchen is very clean!', he stated very loud! I noticed that the manager was also really involved in keeping this place going strong. She even nodded when we made by accident eyecontact!
When we then headed out I just couldn't help myself to go over to one of the staffmembers. 'Can I make you a compliment with this exceptional nice Ekxi!' She seemed rather surprised with these words! 'Thank you! Feels nice if once in while someone points this out!' 'Please pass the compliment on to your collegues!', I then added. 'I will and have a nice afternoon!', were then her last words.
While we moved on I just hit me that we just take so many people for granted. That many out there do their daily jobs and forget to thank them once in a while for doing a good job. They might not really stand out but they do make the difference. I just found out down at Exki that we might have to express a bit more our gratitude when we encounter talented people. To me keeping a dinner spic and span and running smoothly or creating a new vaccine for the Mexican flu both deserve a meaningful compliment. So all of you that do whatever you do with your talents a meaningful THANK YOU!!! This is also for A who for the moment is playing a rather out of tune piece of music on his Winnie the Pooh keyboard! But I doubt if playing the piano is one of his true talents!