Written by: Jennifer Appel
Based on the stories told by: Paul Dowdy
“Forgiveness is the greatest gift you can give yourself.”
When I was growing up my dad drove a Bronco II, we bought it brand new, so we thought it was the coolest car! It had a wheel on the back that you had to move to open the back door, so cool! We loved that car, BUT it had some bad luck!
One summer day my father was working at school. Everyone else was done for the summer, but he was hard at work getting everything ready for the next school year. He was sitting in the office by himself when he heard someone coming in the building. He looked and a fireman burst into the office area. My dad was the principal of the only school in our small town at the time (we now have 3 elementary schools, and 2 middle schools) and he had a close relationship with all of the officers both fire and police in the area. They were constantly at the school and volunteering with the kids, so he was used to them being in the building or just stopping in. Thus, he didn’t really think much about one of the officers stopping by...
But then the fireman asked whose maroon Ford Bronco II was in the parking lot. My dad nervously answered that it was his, and because it was summer, it was the ONLY car in the parking lot. The fireman said that he had just crashed into the side of the Bronco. My dad laughed thinking that he was getting pranked by the fireman, they were always joking with him and he just thought he was being funny! The fireman then looked him in the eye and stated again that it wasn’t a joke, they had really run into the side of the Bronco that was in the parking lot.
My dad hurried out to the parking lot and sure enough his beloved Bronco was smashed on one side. The crazy part was that you could see that the Bronco had been moved about 4 feet from where he originally parked it. There was a huge dent in the side of the car, approximately the length of the front of a fire engine.
Apparently, the firemen were practicing in the parking lot of the school (there fire station was just down the street from the school) and the fireman had set up the cones around my dad’s Bronco to practice. The officer that was practicing had tried to hit the brakes and then his foot slipped and he hit the gas by accident and rammed into the side of my dad’s car. My dad just stood there in shock listening to the story, he couldn’t believe what had happened.
The fireman was apologizing profusely the entire time he was explaining the situation. He said many times that he would pay for the repairs and his Bronco would be as good as new. Now, in a situation like this most people would fly off the handle or not treat the officer with respect and FORGIVENESS. Obviously, my dad was upset about his car being smashed, but he was also understanding that they were just doing their jobs and practicing to save lives.
My dad was able to handle the situation with FORGIVENESS instead of anger.
Educators with an AWARD WINNING CULTURE mindset handle tough situations with respect and forgiveness instead of anger.
What role does forgiveness play in overcoming adversity?
How does empathy support demonstrating respect?
Will you create an Award Winning Culture that that's capable of forgiving students, staff, and community...even on their worst day?
About the Author
Jennifer Appel is a teacher at Enterprise Middle School. She has been teaching for 20 years. Her passion for education comes from growing up in at education driven family (4th generation) and wanting to help and serve others. She is now driven to create an environment where all students are able to learn and become passionate about serving others. Jennifer can be contacted through email at email@example.com. You can follow her on twitter at @jennifermappel. Follow AWC @awculture on instagram @awardwinningculture. Follow Wildcat Nation on instagram @emsleadership. #WildcatNation #AwardWinningCulture
Paul Dowdy is a retired elementary school teacher and principal. Paul was in education for more than 40 years. Paul created cultures of excellence at every school he taught at or lead. Paul was also an adjunct professor at 3 different universities in the state of Washington and a regional director for Heritage University. Paul has shared his stories all around the state of Washington in the form of presentations. He's passionate about children and that reflected in all of his work as a reading specialist and his study of the brain and how that drives instruction. Paul is not on social media...but can be reached near any body of water that's conducive to shadow casting! #FlyFishing
Award Winning Culture was created by Hans and Jennifer Appel with the sole purpose of creating an educational mindset of Positive INTENTIONALITY and ACTION; with a daily mantra to make our sphere of influence stronger through Character, Excellence, and Community. Part of AWC's mission is to highlight outstanding educators, companies, and resources that support an Award Winning Culture. Both Jennifer and Hans work at Enterprise Middle School aka Wildcat Nation. Wildcat Nation received the 2018 ASCD Whole Child Award in Washington, for its award winning culture and the 2018 Global "Class Act Award" for Kindness.