I am a servant. I serve my students the best way I know how every day. I bring energy, love and knowledge. I offer these things freely, without condition or expectation of much in return. Sometimes, it’s a challenging role because all of my students aren’t open to these things, all the time.

Being rebuffed can hurt and is an uncomfortable feeling, but with my kids, that feeling never lasts long. I don’t hold grudges because I get that adolescents are moody, hormonal, and (unfortunately) have many of the same stressors we adults deal with. So, I roll with the punches, taking it all on the chin.

However, I get paid for those daily chin checks. Servant ≠ slave or idiot. I’m a professional, a salaried employee. Any other case of me giving my all (or even my “some”) and it not being respected or valued will not be tolerated. For too long, I’ve allowed people to undervalue or overlook the “gems” I’ve contributed to their lives.

For a long time, anytime someone close to me would say or do something out of line, I’d make the excuse for them that “no one is perfect,” “we’re all human,” or “he/she didn’t mean it.” While all of those things may be true, human nature doesn’t negate thoughtfulness or care.

Since I know people aren’t perfect, I am constantly work on becoming a better person. One of the reasons I even bother is so that I can treat others better and continue to be of service in any way I can — especially to those closest to me.

While I don’t require people in my life to go tic-for-tac with me in overall goodness or to hold the exact values I do, I expect The Golden Rule to be in their ‘Top 10.’ What I give is what I expect. I no longer feel awkward saying nothing less will be accepted. I’m worth it — and so are you!