I texted. A quick response was sent in return.
I texted again, this time, no response. Repeated again, no response. Again I waited.
I could have chosen to get angry and upset. I could have made a fist and dramatically tossed it around lamenting my student’s irresponsibility and my own, for waiting until the last minute to wash the PE clothes my son forgot to take to school and here I am wasting my time instead of being productive and OH MY GAWSH this is horrid….
Instead of fretting, I created a positive, silly story.
I created. I made something – I made the waiting fun instead of annoying.
This is what storytellers do. We don’t wait for “the big thing” to fall into our laps, we walk around scouting stories. We connect with people, ask questions, laugh, and engage. In today’s world, we sometimes use social media to further the process along.
Here, a day in the life – that goes awry when… the forgotten PE clothes faux pas comes to light.
Here it is, briefly, in this short video – my morning, before the clothes were discovered at home. And then, after my exchanges with the folks at school.
Can you relate to these vignettes? Here’s more of the specifics underneath the brief video.
The time came when I had to go into the school office. I stood, waiting to chat with the secretary and noticed it. A proclamation from the Assistant Principal declaring leaving items for students was banned. I held the PE clothes in my hands, carefully hidden contents in a bag that has now been banned from the state of California.
My first hurdle: the discovered proclamation and the secretary.
My strategy: provide a solution, be polite and pleasant so I increase the chances of getting my way.
“Good morning! My son left his PE clothes this morning and I need to get them to him.”
She looked at me blankly, “Unfortunately we have a new policy….” she directed her eyes toward the letter I had noticed from the assistant principal.
“Oh, does that mean I can’t go to the Dean’s office and leave them? I’ve done that before this year…” I attempted to look non-chalant as I lobbed strategy number one her way.
“Go ahead then,” agreed the secretary, sounding perhaps slightly disgruntled.
“I have done it since November, I didn’t know about the policy,” I said, commiserating with her.
“No one does,” she lamented. “No one.”
I signed in, happily. Took my picture to get my badge, happily. I commented how much I liked my photo and joked more with the secretary.
My strategy worked! I was in!
Off to the Dean’s office.
Hurdle: Their allegiance with the administration may cause them to balk at my request.
Strategy: Pull the austism card if necessary. Be extra polite and understanding. Smile.
“Good morning!” (Upbeat voice, smile.) “I’m sorry, I know the policy about not dropping things here for our students but…”
“What policy?” asked the friendly Dean’s Office secretary.
I explained the policy and she, surprisingly, didn’t seem to care much and asked my student’s name. I told her.
“Oh, I know Samuel!” she said happily.
“Yeah, he turns his phone off at school, he follows the rules to a T so I couldn’t even let him know I’m here.”
“You’re fine! I’ll take care of it,” she said. She also told me about a special class they’re starting to help special needs students. She had a connection with me and wanted to share.
“That’s such a great idea,” I continued. “I bet parents will find real value in that.” (Sincere thought.)
I literally skipped back to the office to check out with my new best friend, the secretary.
The end of the story is I made an important connection for my volunteer work and parenting. I plan to go back tomorrow with some materials for my Parent Club AND I imagine myself to be a positive highlight to the ever undervalued secretary’s day.
While I was in process of creating this post I created even more story, shared my #5for5BrainDump on snap chat which I’ll repurpose into other promotions which will help the world get better when people continue to communicate more clearly.
This is SUCH perfection, all in quick, fun, quirky slivers of storytelling. I’ll take it!
I could have chosen to be angry, frustrated, mad at my child and myself and the school and instead, I created a win-win-win-many times over win again – just like you may, too.