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The word impact has two definitions.

  1. To come into forcible contact with another object.
  2. To have a strong effect on someone or something.

The latter is more applicable to this story.

One night, while planning for our daily life lessons meeting on adapting to change, the green team coaches (myself included) came up with this “bright” idea that we were going to tell the class that the green team would cease to exist and that the kids would be reallocated to the other teams even though it was not true. The goal of the plan was to demonstrate having to adapt to change and would hopefully drive home the point that sometimes change is out your control.

To be blunt, this idea went horribly wrong. It could be likened to Steve Harvey announcing the wrong Miss Universe Pageant winner. To say the least, the class was shook after hearing what we had to say. Some of the students accepted the news, while others struggled to acknowledge it. It was a mixed bag of emotions. What was supposed to be a simple lesson on dealing with change turned into an ordeal in which we (the coaches) attempted to salvage the lesson and calm to students in dismay. After some time, we made amends with our students and all was good. However, it did come at a hefty price of candy and games.

“Impact – To have a strong effect on someone or something.”

We learned a lesson from this experience: you never truly understand the impact you have on people. We went from knowing these kids for less than a week to them being greatly affected by the fake news we shared with them. We had become a constant by which the kids looked forward to on a daily basis. By being together, we offered a chance to be a part of something as small and as simple as “The Green Team.” A group of individuals bound together by a shirt color and a shared classroom.

We thought we were teaching the kids a life lesson, but they ended up teaching us the lesson. Everyone has the potential to impact the lives of others, either positively or negatively. Most the time you might not even realize you are impacting someone’s life. We took a risk with our lesson and it failed, but failure has a funny way of revealing truths to people.

We underestimated the impact we had on our students. We underestimated the bonds we had so quickly formed with our students. And lastly, we underestimated the strength of small acts such as remembering a name or giving a high-five. Never underestimate the impact you have on others. Trust me, you will get burned (speaking from first-hand experience).  I will end with this, always do what you can to be a positive role model. You never know who is watching.

“A life is not important except for in the impact it has on others” – Jackie Robinson

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