It was a revelation to me that relationships were the most important part of being a Cosmetologist and an Instructor.

This was a struggle for me.

As a military child, I moved around quite a bit. You could say I grew up without any roots. Before the age of the internet and social media, I left one place and just simply forgot about everyone that I left behind. After arriving at a new place, I made new friends, only to move again.

Something needed to change.

In order for me to address the things I was struggling with, I needed to be intentional. I began reading books on; business, leadership, marriage, parenting and other similar topics.

There was an immediate need for some personal growth as an instructor, husband and father. My hope was to learn how to address to some of these issues. I also wanted to know how, to go about changing in a way that aligned with my faith.

Discovery

What I discovered from reading was;

  • These students wanted to know that they had the freedom to make decisions on their own.
  • They wanted to be treated like an adult.
  • They wanted to be respected for who they are.
  • They needed to feel cared for.
  • Many of them were searching for their independence and wanted to be encouraged, instead of being forced into a mold.
  • They did not want to be treated like a number or just another body filling a space.

With this information, I tried to apply what I learned every day.

Mission

It became a mission of mine to begin taking an interest in each student as an individual. To try and listen to what they were saying instead of always offering advice.

I wanted actually to try and get to know them, their dreams, passions, and aspirations. I wanted all of them to know that I not only respected them, but that I actually cared about them.

Change

The change that happened was almost immediate.

Students began asking me for advice about things relating to school, their career and personal life situations. They began to speak more openly to me.

I noticed, that even the more challenging students, seemed to develop an open channel of communication with me. In the past they were many times a closed book.

Respect

Popularity and friendship with the students was not an objective. My only goal was to build a mutual level of respect.

As a by-product, I found that not only were students more open to constructive criticism, but they would do things like clean up a classroom, or other small tasks when asked.

Resistance to these types of things seemed to disappear and students showed enthusiasm.

I felt like they were actually glad to help.

Connected

Most students who graduate from our school, look back on their year with fond memories.

I still get weekly messages from various graduates, with questions, updates, requests to use me as a job reference, or just wanting to stay connected.

It feels good to have made a positive impact with my students. They will probably never know how much that has been reciprocated.

Back to being famous…

You can imagine the amount of people that have come through Capitol since I started in 1993. Including students, families, friends and clients.

It has been my pleasure to interact with the thousands that have graced us with their presence. Through my position here at the school, I get to meet so many wonderful people. As I make my way through the city to shop, to eat or to do anything else, I always seem to run into someone I know.

“Dad, you’re famous”

When my daughters were younger, seeing so many people recognize me always excited them. They didn’t quite know why it happened, but one day they said to me, “Dad, you’re famous.” When I heard this, it hit me like a ton of bricks.

My initial desire to be famous was an immature and selfish goal.

This whole thing wasn’t really about me at all. It was about others and pouring into their lives. Investing in the people that were looking up to me for their education, was the gift that I had been given.

I never ended up being a world-famous stylist, commanding five hundred dollars a haircut. However, I built relationships and touched lives, which was priceless.

As an instructor, we may only have a student in our life for one year, but the impact we have on someone in that one year can be life-changing.

For them and for us.

 

Visit David at DilemmaMike.com and read more of his work here.

This post is part three of a series. If you missed part one click on the links below.

Part 1: How a Hair Massacre Got Me Here

Part 2: Becoming an Instructor Taught Me… 

David Mike is a Christ follower, husband, father, author and Cosmetology Instructor in Omaha, NE. David blogs at DilemmaMike.com to share humorous life events and also tell the story of the 3 years spent in the U.S. Army’s Prison, Ft. Leavenworth, sharing the message that we do not have to be defined by our past and that God can use our kind of mess for good.
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David Mike is a Christ follower, husband, father, author and Cosmetology Instructor in Omaha, NE. David blogs at DilemmaMike.com to share humorous life events and also tell the story of the 3 years spent in the U.S. Army’s Prison, Ft. Leavenworth, sharing the message that we do not have to be defined by our past and that God can use our kind of mess for good.

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