Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thank You George

Lawn Mower MotionHere is a simple story, about a simple problem, with a simple solution.

This summer I was mowing my lawn, and the mower stopped working correctly. The engine was still running, but it was just puttering along. Fortunately, there is a man at my church who is retired from a job at a small engine shop. George has fixed my lawn mower before, so I gave him a call and set up a time to bring the lawn mower to him. I put the lawn mower in my car that afternoon and drove over to his house. First, he inspected the air filter. Nothing was wrong there. However, as he had the air filter out, he noticed a small spring that was no longer connected to a metal bracket. He reconnected the spring, started the engine, and that lawn mower purred like it did the day I bought it. He had literally diagnosed the problem and fixed the issue in less than one minute. I could have spent two hours trying to fix the lawn mower with hundreds of parts spread out over my garage, and I would have never been able to fix the problem.

I only had one problem. That problem was that my lawn mower was not running correctly. If I had tried to fix the problem by myself, I would have created a second problem. That second problem would have been lost time and energy due to not seeking help when I needed it. And in the end, I would have been left with two unsolved problems.

By seeking help, I limited myself to just one story, with one problem, that needed only one solution. Problems are going to arise in our classrooms and our schools. Sometimes these issues require immediate action and a quick decision on our own. When that urgency is not needed though, one of the first questions we should ask when attacking the issue is “Who can help me with this problem?” Do not create more problems for yourself by not seeking help when you need it.

1 comment:

  1. It's interesting, I'm also starting to see a little bit, not a lot, but a little bit of backlash with regards to the ease of having an all-knowing network. For example, on several occasions I've seen replies to tweets with comments like, "Did you even try to research that before you asked?" or "Wow, feeling a bit lazy today, huh?"

    Your post got me to thinking about maybe the best thing for us to teach...or learn for that knowing when to ask for help and when to trudge through.

    One of my previous principals was into working on his car, and he quipped about a sign in his mechanics shop. The sign listed all of the prices for service and there in the lower right hand corner was something called a "Box Job" for about $3000. When my principal asked about that service, the mechanic said: "Oh, yeah. That's for those people who think they know how to work on their, but wind up with extra pieces left over after putting everything back together! They bring me the rest of the repair in a box, and then I get to put it back together!"

    How can we best show that we value our connections and relationships to produce the best outcome for everyone involved? Maybe it's by knowing when to ask for help. It sounds like you knew that threshold for yourself. I hope I can be that wise as well.

    Thanks for the thinking this morning!