Shine Your Shoes

Recently, while on vacation, I was feeling an impulse to get my shoes shined.  I had not been able  to shine them in a while, so the leather was a little cracked, a few scuff marks on the toe, they were looking pretty worn;  hence, the need to have them shined before the big night out.  I took them over to the shine guy, said he would be done in about twenty minutes.  I was excited, in less than half an hour I would have shiny new dress shoes.

After twenty minutes, I returned to find my shoes looking pretty good.  I had the fee in my hand, with a decent tip (more than twenty percent for those keeping score) when the shine guy proceeded to berate me for my care of my shoes.  I sat there stunned as I got a speech about how I, “need to shine your shoes every couple of weeks and build up a base, that way you can actually get a shine on them.  I did my best, but there is only so much I can do.”  Now, keep in mind, I do shine my shoes, but with the CADA conference to plan, school, grades due, and a pregnant wife to take care of I’m a little strapped for time.  Shining my shoes is not on the top of “to do” list.  However, thinking this shine guy might be venting a little after a long day, I gave him a chance.  So I asked, “What can I do to take are of my shoes?” I already knew the answer, but I was thinking if I appealed to his ego I might get some good advice or turn this situation around a little.  The reply was less than exciting as he said, “Well … huh … I”m not going to tell you cause you won’t do it.  Just take your shoes to someone at the end of the month and have them shine them.”  As he said this, I quietly slid his tip back into my pocket, paid for my shoes, and walked away.

If there is one thing that frustrates me in this world it’s being told I can’t do something.  Now, I’m not talking about when my parents told me to not stick a fork in the electrical socket, or not to jump off the house, that’s just Darwinism.  In this case, telling me that I won’t shine my own shoes was infuriating. Then I started to think, have I ever said anything to a student, a friend, or even a parent to make them think they could not do something?  Have I ever set a student up for failure by purposefully or accidentally making a statement that told a person he or she could not succeed? Now, here was a shoe shine guy setting me up for failure by not even giving me a chance to succeed.

There are a few moments I can recall in my life where I was told I could not, or would not, do something.  Remembering those instances, much like the shoe shine incident I spoke of here, I made a promise I would not be that teacher, mentor or adult who would ever tell a kid they could not do something.  In the mean time, I need to go use  my shoe shine kit.

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~ by cadaleaders on March 10, 2010.

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