Paul Harvey made a career, and sold a few books, telling us “the rest of the story.” His accounts of people and places most of us have heard of or know about were interesting, but what made the accounts fascinating was the rest of the story.
Every time we hear something, about someone, what they did or are doing — we’re only getting part of the story. The most revealing aspect can be when we find out the entire account. I’ve read many books that detail the rest of the story, and it is indeed revealing.
And so it happens as another school year begins, and we start to hear stories about teachers, administrators, buildings, classes or other students. We form a judgment that leads to an opinion, and we usually share it with someone. Sometimes, our opinion is spot on and, from an outsider’s perspective, we’re correct about the actions taken or the characterization and maybe even the consequence.
But what makes a community shine is people who take the time to find out the rest of the story. It’s easy to project gloom and disaster, calculate all the ways something is doomed to fail, sit back and talk about how someone is going to fail or demand an immediate change.
Most every time I take the time to get eye-to-eye with someone who has made a decision that affects me or has said something I disagree with, the discussion ends up being cordial, sometimes amiable. But even if our meeting is a little frosty, and I disagree, I come away with a perspective I didn’t have before.
Make it a habit this year, when you hear something about our school district, a teacher or any other part of public education in our community, to take a deep breath and seek out the rest of the story, especially if the first part of the story comes from students.
At least that’s what I think.