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How Do We Remember People?

Ellen Levitt

Posted on October 21, 2021 17:57

1 user

You'd be surprised how you might be remembered.

Recently a woman in my neighborhood died. She was in her late 70s, but I don't know the cause of death. I posted about her passing on two Facebook pages, and several people poured out their emotion, lauding her. She had been an early childhood teacher for many years.

Both my children were taught by her. My older daughter seemed to like her, but she tried to do something to my younger daughter which has long angered my child. My younger daughter's birthday is New Year's Eve, so she was the youngest child in her Pre-K class. She had a few physical therapy issues at the time, too. 

This teacher, along with her assistant, met with me one day. She urged me emphatically to hold back my daughter and have her repeat Pre-K. I considered this for a minute, and then said no. The teacher repeated her suggestion and I declined again.

At the time I felt that my daughter would be bored, feel embarrassed, and would be unhappy about not progressing with her friends. In the long run, we're glad that my daughter didn't repeat Pre-K. My daughter did well in school, overall: honors classes in middle school, Advanced Placement and honors classes in high school, and part of the Art Institute at the high school. She won a Scholastic Silver Medal for one artwork, and is now a sophomore in a highly regarded college in NYC. She did well last summer at her first office job and was praised. 

Back to this teacher. Over the years I saw her regularly, and usually we were polite to each other. However, I made it a point occasionally to tell her about my daughters' accomplishments, and twice I told her that I was glad that we didn't hold back my younger daughter. The teacher seemed flustered about my mentioning this, but didn't apologize.

Thus my younger daughter has long resented this woman, and told me a few times that she wanted to tell her off. She never did get to do this, perhaps for the better. 

So when I saw all these people who praised the memory of this recently deceased woman, I thought about how we are remembered when we pass on. I'm not saying that this woman was a horror, but she didn't show remorse for her poor judgment in at least one student's school career.

People remember their teachers, especially those who were really good or bad. The same applies to the workplace; we recall fondly bosses, coworkers and administrators who treated us well and respected us, and have contempt for those who dumped on us. 

This realization should influence how we comport ourselves, especially in the workplace. Some people claim they don't care how they are remembered, but I suspect this is largely a cover. 

This doesn't mean you must always be a craven crowd-pleaser, but reckon that you will be judged by those whom you teach, lead, administer, serve. Ponder this.

Ellen Levitt

Posted on October 21, 2021 17:57

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Source: Phys.org

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