“This is short, so pay attention …”
Sitting in my chair/desk, I heard the principle's voice over the intercom. He started with the announcements then a segue to the “daily intention.” This is where he hands the microphone to a teacher for some inspirational words to start the day.
We prepared ourselves mentally and physically for the typical 5-10 minute reading. Mr. Muller (my calculus teacher and dad) took over the airwaves.
He said, “This is short, so pay attention…” He paused, then: “Be nice.”
The microphone clicked off.
We looked around the classroom expecting to hear more. But that was it. The bell rang and first period began.
It was a simple but powerful sentiment. If more people followed this rule, the world would be a much happier place. My role is simple. Your role is simple. Everyone's role is simple.
The clarity of this idea was delivered with such impact because the succinctness and unpredictability of those two words at the moment.
Those two words have stuck with me for over 15 years.
There were two lessons I learned from my dad that weekday morning. The first was the importance of message itself. The second was the importance of delivering your message succinctly with a bit of charm and whimsy.
John Henry Müller
April 26, 2013