Many times we go through our daily routines without much thought, even such acts as wudu and prayer. Once someone passed on a quote, “keep smiling for you never know who may fall in love with it”. It reminded me that all of our actions count, not just our smile. Sometimes the smallest of our actions may leave a lasting print on someone we cross paths with. I will never forget one of my staff: I was required to do a bi-yearly staff evaluation which consisted of sitting in on a few classes and writing up a form and submitting it. This surely affected her chances of getting a merit raise or other benefits. However, due to a heavy schedule I was not always able to sit in on the 11 classes with the frequency that I really should have. When it came time to write up the appraisal, I made a few strict comments about her always keeping to herself and not interacting with her peers and a few other classroom management issues. When she was requested to sign it she turned the form in with stiff replies to all points and the basis was- how could I effectively evaluate her when I had not attended her class more than twice.
In all fairness, she was right. I had not spent enough time to be able to give her a full evaluation. Maybe other supervisors would have been upset or felt threatened by such a response from an employee. However I knew that she was right and was only asking for fair treatment. In the subsequent portion of the school year, I gained a new respect for the teacher as she put more effort into rectifying her shortfalls. At the same time, I made more of an effort to appreciate her work and to notice it. Because of her courage to stand up for what was right, I learned a valuable lesson in dealing with colleagues. I started to increase my attention of the teachers’ best efforts, and tried to give them support to overcome weak areas.
A few years later I decided to stop working and focus on my family. During that time, this particular teacher sent me a message out of the blue telling me how much she had appreciated working with me and she listed a few things that I had done that had really had a positive affect upon her as a person. One of them was noticing people and recognizing their value as an individual. I never thought about that. It just seemed a normal thing that we should do for each other, yet she was not the only one to mention this point. Time and again it was said how much I had influenced a person, changed how they looked at things, encouraged them to go past what they thought was their limit, and how I was able to see the lion hiding within the kitten.
I often think back to that message. It touched me so deeply and made me realize that often its the little things which we do that have an impact on people, hopefully in a positive way. We may never know or hear of how we touched someone’s life. Our behavior or actions may be planted as seeds and take a long time to grow, but we know that the seeds are there. For this reason we should always think how we represent ourselves, as human beings and as Muslims. Does our behavior coincide with Islamic teachings? Does our hijab or dress present the real teachings or are we tied up in trying to be modern? Are we shy to convey to others what we believe in?
The following video is short but the point is so clear! What we do– or DON’T do– may have strong effects upon those who come in contact with us. Let us be aware and try to improve ourselves so that we can always promote the best knowledge, behaviors and attitudes.