The following has been falsely attributed as the philosophy of Charles Schulz, the creator of the Peanuts comic strip. It was sent to me as an email and you may have seen it. Nonetheless, it is a good quiz!
1. Name the five wealthiest people in the world.
2. Name the last five Heisman trophy winners.
3. Name the last five winners of the Miss America title.
4. Name five people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer Prize.
5. Name the last half-dozen Academy Award winners for best actor and actress.
How did you do?
The point is, none of us remember the headliners of yesterday. These are no second-rate achievers. They are the best in their fields. But the applause dies. Awards tarnish. Achievements are forgotten. Accolades and certificates are buried with their owners.
Here’s another quiz. See how you do on this one:
1. Think of five people you enjoy spending time with.
2. Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time.
3. Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile.
4. Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special.
5. List a few teachers who aided your journey through school.
The lesson: The people who make a difference in your life are not the ones with the most credentials, the most money, or the most awards. They are the ones that care.
I have given this quiz to students at the start of the year. I get many complaints because it is a “pop quiz.” For some reason kids hate them. However, isn’t life one big Pop Quiz? We never know when the car will need a repair, a child becomes ill, or our job changes. Plus, this quiz creates a dialogue between students on what is important – people who care. I take notes and keep them for our discussions about the literature we will be reading. Characters care about one another … usually. Students begin to see a connection between how characters act and how real people act.
We can learn a lot about a person by the people they list in the second part of the quiz. Faces can light up with memories of loved ones. Or, a little sadness may sneak through as a lost loved one is fondly recalled. Either way, as we get to know those we work with, we begin to care more. We strive a little harder to do a better job. We encourage each other a little more. We become more understanding and gain patience with those who are a not completely like us. We realize even freshmen can teach us a few things.