Be The Help

“You is kind. You is smart. You is important.”

Sweet moment.

I don’t think this line will ever leave my mind. Whenever I learn how to needlepoint, I will place this in a pillow, or a potholder, or smock it into my daughter’s Easter dress. Too much? Does anyone actually think I will learn how to needlepoint? Raise your hand. Ok, I will now come to you with all of my bewildering hopes and dreams. Well done.

This line comes from my new favorite book and new favorite movie, The Help. Aibileen recites it to Mae Mobley throughout the day to remind the sweet girl how wonderful she is and to be confident even in her 2-year-old spirit despite the disconnected upbringing of her mother. It’s amazing to watch this sweet little girl come to Aibileen knowing that she will hear those words and knowing that she will feel better about herself and her situation after those words are recited.

My mom’s cousin, Wanda, commented on my Facebook status after I posted this quote. She said that my job would be a whole lot easier if parents would say this to their children everyday. I’m not sure I would really have a job anymore if parents AND teachers said this to their children every day. And I’d be just fine with that. If I could put these words in every classroom in America, I would. How do I start this initiative?


“You is kind.”

We are called to be kind – to be kind and compassionate actually, forgiving those around us just as Christ forgives each of us every day, hour, and minute. We are to treat those around us just as we would hope they would treat us. Work’s a bit stressful right now. Busiest time of year – it’s a good/bad problem to have. I’ve realized though, that people calling with everyday questions that they deserve the right to ask, are getting a bit of my shortness, as far as attitude, lately. Yes, some of these contacts are asking questions that deserve quite a bit more effort on their part before they dial my direct line. They may even want to ask themselves a few questions (example: Am I a grown adult?) before they think about asking me, but that’s neither here-nor-there at the moment. Either way, I’ve turned into a customer service representative and need to treat the customers with the same kindness that so many reps (banks, cell phone, unemployment agency, Nordstrom) have treated me with in my desperate (ha!) time of need over the years.

“You is smart.”

Who doesn’t want to hear this?!? No one. Everyone needs to hear when they have a breakthrough idea or contribute to a conversation or do well on a test or in a presentation. I’m not big on receiving accolades in front of people. I’m not sure who really is. But my boss is really good about sending a Chat message or coming into my office to let me know how pleased he is about how I did with a project or metrics of some sort. I appreciate that. I love that my mom and dad still tell me how smart I am even though I’ve been pretty dumb for the past 8 years or so. Students need to know when they’ve done well and when their teachers know they are smart and see potential. They need to hear the words, no matter how grammatically incorrect, you is smart.

“You is important.”

If there are ever moments where you feel that you are replaceable, remember these words. Remember to tell people that they are appreciated. Remember to share with the students being ignored in the hallway and at lunchtime that you believe in them. That they are special. My mom found a note written to me by my 7th grade science teacher after we moved from Garland to Amarillo. I read it a couple of weeks ago. You better believe it made my day 16 years later. Words stay with those that you share them with.

One of my favorites.

However you need to recite these words – write them on your mirror or your roommate’s mirror, put a sticky note on the dashboard of your car (not as a distraction, of course), write it on the wall of your classroom, on a napkin in your child’s lunch, or a note in your husband’s messenger bag. Use them as the home screen of your iPhone, Droid or whatever phone you use. Is Nokia still an option? Anywho, make it a part of your daily word usage. I can only imagine what an impact this phrase will have on those that hear it, read it, and get it throughout their day. Let those around you know you want to be around them.


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