Almost everybody likes to play Santa Claus! Bearing gifts to others, doesn’t sound like a bad idea…or does it?

The expression “Be careful Greeks carrying a joyous bounty endowments” from the myth of Laocoön, minister of Troy, who, in Virgil’s Aeneid, did whatever it took not to acknowledge the Trojan horse. This descends from the ages as a consequence of the Trojan Wars when the Greeks deceived the Trojan with the Trojan Horse. 

When a principal is making his way down the hall with a “woot woot cart”, teachers are going to talk. They are going to either assess this as a great morale builder or they are going to want to know why you aren’t “working” like the rest of us! Principal’s with a “woot woot” are rolling the dice with such an act and it’s a 50/50 gamble. Building morale is a tricky thing in a school. If you are not endeared as a genuine and authentic leader, your “woot woot” is going to “poot poot”! 

I saw where a principal had posted a pic of a cart full of boxes of donuts. He stated he felt the stress and anxiety of the staff, so he bought donuts for all. This was powerful to me because his desire to provide for his staff was genuine. It wasn’t pre-planned, he was responding to the “pulse” of his staff. Later in his post he referred to his staff as care takers. On an airplane, an oxygen mask descends in front of you. What do you do? As we all know, the first rule is to put on your own oxygen mask before you assist anyone else. Only when we first help ourselves can we effectively help others. Caring for yourself is one of the most important—and one of the most often forgotten—things you can do as a caregiver. When your needs are taken care of, the person you care for will benefit, too. This principal was caring for his care takers. This is powerful to a teacher.

Do this instead…over the summer line up business and faith based partners that want to be part of the greatness happening at your school. Even if it is in a very small way, teachers appreciate genuine acts of kindness. One church hosted our first day back in August in their fellowship hall with breakfast served by members of the congregation, another local church planned a CHOCOLATE BUFFET in February to celebrate Valentine’s Day. A local bottling company donated bottled waters and our student service club made inspirational stickers to put on them. One principal I know stocked the frig once a month out of her own pocketbook.

These are ways the attention is deflected from one “center of attention” to a community of helpers creating a happy climate for teachers to do what they do best and that, my friends, is teach.