Lollipop Moments

Hey Blog Reader!  I haven’t asked much of you.  I’m usually just happy someone has read what I have to say.  And I’m honored and humbled that you have taken the time to see what’s happening over here at “Stealing Second!”  But today is a little different.  I’m asking you to do a little more than just read the blog.  There’s an assignment at the end of this post, and I hope you’ll participate!

Lollipop Moments

Every summer, I share this video with our teen leadership groups.  It’s an inspiring video by the founder of Nuance Leadership Development Services, Drew Dudley.  It’s just over six minutes long, and well worth the investment!

What are Lollipop Moments?

To me, lollipop moments have these characteristics:

  • They are “Life Changing”
  • They are typically inconsequential to the giver of the lollipop moment (they rarely remember sharing them)
  • They can have a positive or a negative effect
  • They are incredibly powerful

My Lollipop Moment

After watching Drew’s video for the first time, I immediately knew what my Lollipop Moment was. I bet you did, too!

During my senior year of high school (twenty-five years ago, but I remember it like it was yesterday), I was visiting with my English teacher about a research project.  At the end of our discussion, she asked me, “What are you going to do with your life?”

I had thought about several possibilities, but not the one she suggested:

“You should consider becoming a teacher.  The great thing about teaching is…you’ll never stop learning.”

I don’t know what she saw in me, but there was something that made her think I would be good at it.  And that was it…that single moment changed my life, and changed the lives of the students I’ve influenced over the last twenty years!

The Power of Lollipop Moments

Ironically, “Lollipop Moments” was a topic on the agenda at our assistant principal meeting this week.  Our Directors of Leadership showed Drew’s video, then talked about their experience with lollipop moments.  I was inspired by the story that our leadership director, Dustin Blank, shared with us.  He graciously gave me permission to share it here:

At one time Mr. Blank was a soccer coach.  As with most sports, only a certain number of players could be on the team.  And so, after several days of observing the work of his players, he cut the team from 21 players, to 18.

Of the three players cut, two seemed to be content with having had the experience of trying out, realized they didn’t really work hard enough to make the team, and went on their way.  The third girl, however, was a hard worker.  She was always early to practices, did everything that was asked of her, and never complained.  Regardless of her work ethic, though, Dustin felt she wasn’t talented enough to make the “top eighteen,” and was cut.

After the announcement was made, the young girl came to Dustin and said:

“I knew I wasn’t the best player.  I knew I wasn’t the worst either.  But I knew there was a chance I wouldn’t make the cut.  I just want you to know, that the reason I even tried out, was because I knew you would be a good coach.  And I knew I would learn a lot from you.”

Dustin went on to tell us that, those words, on that day, made a huge impact on the rest of his life.  They changed the way he approached coaching.

Here’s my takeaway

Teachers don’t always realize how powerful their words are!  And we don’t know when one word, one sentence, one interaction with a child, will change their lives forever.  So choose your words carefully, everyday.  And intentionally create lollipop moments for your kids.

Your Assignment

Please share your lollipop moment with us!  Either in the comments section below, or on Twitter (use the hashtag #lpopmoments), or both!  Not only would we like to hear your experience, but the person who gave the lollipop moment would like to know, too!  Why not do the “AP Assignment,” and give that person a call!



2 thoughts on “Lollipop Moments

  1. I, too, had an outstanding educator who changed my life in a very positive way.
    Ninth grade was my first year to take algebra. My teacher, Mr. Sanchez, was much less than helpful. He and I did not hit it off from the word go. He didn’t care if I learned, would not offer to help me, and wouldn’t even notice or care if I came to class or not. The class was not interesting, and all I did the entire year was occupy a seat. I ended up with an F on my report card, just as I expected, and all I wanted to do was get out of his class. Worst educational experience I ever had.
    The following year, at the old Richard Nixon Annex at Amarillo High School, (The original AHS, before it burned, ) I tried my luck again with algebra. Mrs. Hamilton was brilliant. She was smart, funny, caring, attentive to individual students needs, and I loved it. When I didn’t understand, she took the time to help me understand. You guessed it, I made straight A’s in her class.

    A teacher’s attitude toward their students and their needs is much more transparent than you might think. These kids are not dummies. They know very well if a teacher cares or not.
    I went on to take business and speed math courses, and absolutely loved it. I probably should have been an accountant, because I take pride in keeping accurate records and can balance books as good as anyone.

    Having gone through a full blown random Internal Revenue Service audit, and having the investigator scratching her head, I realized how important math was in my life. I had accurate records, all of them, and balances to the penny.
    Thanks to Mrs. Hamilton, I realized that I wasn’t as dumb as I looked, and with her guidance, I found that I could make it, even with nothing more than a high school education. Thank you, sweet lady, for giving me a chance. That’s all I ever asked for.

  2. OK, now that I’m through sobbing like a ninny…sheesh!
    My best lollipop moment came from my Grandpa. I grew up in a very small town, and in an exceptionally small class for that particular town. We graduated 32!

    Each year at Leonard High School we selected Class Favorites for the yearbook; one boy and one girl in several different categories. There were enough categories that I pretty much got the nod in one of them each year (seeing as we had only a handful of girls in our class).
    One year I was named “Most Friendly” for my class. I didn’t think that much of it..figured it was just as good as “Most Likely to Succeed” or “Most Athletic.” Whatever.

    Grandpa, however, was of a different opinion. He made this enormously big deal out of it…guess my mom had mentioned it or something…and he pulled me aside and told me just how much it meant to him that I was selected the “friendliest in the class,” and what a valuable characteristic that was then and would be in the future. He made a big enough deal out of it that I have not forgotten it to this day. It really did change the way I interacted with people from that point forward.

    Grandpa is no longer with us in this world, so I’m not able to pick up the phone and call to tell him what that meant to me, but I’m willing to bet he somehow knows.

    It is remarkable how much difference one moment and a few words from one person can make.
    Thank you for this post, David. Truly inspirational stuff.

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