A calling ...

"We are called to be architects of the future, not its victims."

"Make the world work for 100% of humanity in the shortest possible time through spontaneous cooperation without ecological offense or the disadvantage of anyone."

- Buckminster Fuller

Monday, June 4, 2012

Paul McKellips: Speaker at a Middle School

Today, I had the unexpected opportunity to observe Mr. Paul McKellips deliver a life-changing message to a lecture room full of rising 8th grade middle school students along the Rt. 1 corridor of Alexandria. Before Mr. McKellips rose to speak, students appeared to respect neither the man, nor the opportunity to learn valuable information from somebody who possesses great wisdom, from somebody who went from stocking windows at Lowe's at the Rt. 1 in Alexandria to being tasked by General Petraeus to train Afghani soldiers and authoring a few novels in a period of less than a year. When Mr. McPhillips began, he offered, "You may disregard my message, but you do so at your own peril." McKellips used accessible metaphors such as a Slurpee, a GPS, and other familiar things, to communicate a simple but powerful message about the formula for success: if you can dream it, you can achieve it if you are willing to pay the price. He compared the process of achieving dreams to getting a Slurpee, which anybody can buy if they have enough money; he used the GPS device as a metaphor for the ability to arrive at a final destination, where the ability to see the result or progress towards the destination is unclear for 99% of the time.

He shared his life's story with the students, which could have been scripted, just like a Nightingale-Conant production. Having immersed my auditory cortex in success formula recordings from Nightingale-Conant in setting goals and developing master action plans for over twenty years -- a new Nightingale-Conant Napoleon Hill DVD recently arrived in the mail -- I am very familiar with the success formula that Mr. McKellips explained in such an understandable and powerful fashion. Mr. McKellips reminded me of the awesome power of the success formula, which I reflect on daily in an effort to renew and reflect on my commitment to my dreams and aspirations. Today's encounter, while unexpectedly being asked to cover a 6th period class, changed how I approached my rest of the day teaching a class room full of middle school students, who happen to be second language learners, who have already taken their SOL tests, having been left with work sheets, who, like the students in the lecture room, appeared to neither care about nor respect the possibility of learning anything from me. After my encounter with greatness, today I raised my expectations with what I could do with a classroom full of students, who at first appeared to be unresponsive. Although certain aspects of classroom management while substitute teaching today felt like fingernails against a chalkboard, I was able to get past the imperfection and teach students who may have not realized at first that, as a teacher, I had something valuable to offer them.