Students learn leaders come in all shapes, sizes

Students learn leaders come in all shapes, sizes
Posted on 11/05/2019
Students learn leaders come in all shapes, sizesLeaders come in all shapes and all sizes, and appear at unexpected times and in unexpected places, Paul Smith told Nacogdoches High School students Oct. 30. Smith spent the day at NHS in Debbie Crenshaw’s classroom, sharing his vision of the significance of Leadership and taking time to help others while encouraging students to become involved in activities at school.
“Don’t limit your thinking to what a leader is supposed to look like,” Smith told students during fourth period. “The takeaway here is; leaders are not painted solely into one box.”
For a number of years, Smith has visited Crenshaw’s classes to talk with students about things such as leadership. Smith is a financial advisor in Nacogdoches with Principal Financial Group and a longtime co-chair of Leadership Nacogdoches, a course sponsored by Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce.
On Wednesday, students joined Smith in naming characteristics leaders tend to demonstrate. Students also named leaders they were familiar with – both locally, such as NHS principal Dr. Rom Crespo, as well as state and national leaders like the President and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.
Smith told students there are more than a few ways they can absorb leadership skills, such as joining an extra-curricular team or activity at their school or church. That might include playing sports or participating in the marching band. There are also clubs and leadership organizations such as National Honor Society and Student Council.
The message also stressed the importance of students looking beyond themselves and helping others, another fundamental aspect of leadership.
“Mr. Smith’s presentation to my students was to challenge them to become involved in opportunities, clubs and organizations and strive to be leaders in their school, church and community,” Crenshaw said.
The message stuck. An assignment the next day encouraged Crenshaw’s students to put pen to paper about their own thoughts regarding Smith presentations. 
“Many of the students recalled that (Smith) said to be thankful, to remember to care about others more than yourself, that you are responsible for your own happiness and that anyone can be a leader,” Crenshaw said. “Those four reminders were repeated over and over in the review forms. I told (Smith) that a huge percentage of the students may never have heard that type of encouragement or motivation before.”
At the end of his time with each class, Smith left students with what he called “11 thoughts and reminders” of how to best live life.
• Each morning, write down four things you are thankful for… it’s impossible to be thankful and depressed at the same time.
• Don’t be afraid to tell others how you feel about them and how important they are to you.
• Don’t compare yourself to others.
• Don’t ever forget to believe and have confidence in yourself.
• Forget about the past. What takes place today and tomorrow is more important.
• Not one person in this room has reached this point in life without help from others.
• In the movie “The Wizard of Oz,” the Tin Man, in his search for a heart, was told, “Hearts will never be practical until they can be made unbreakable. Besides, a heart isn’t judged by how much you love, but by how much you are loved by others.”
• Each one of us are responsible for our own happiness.
• The happiest people in the world are those who care more about others than they do about themselves.
• The only really happy and successful people are those that have escaped from themselves. So, quit worrying about yourself and start caring about others.
• Believe in Miracles. You all are a special miracle, worthy of love. There’s not another person in the world just like you.
“(Smith) emphasized that all students have the ability to become leaders, to be successful, no matter what their past experiences have been,” said Crenshaw. “He challenged them to practice several life principles which will help them be happier and more content, and he emphasized that giving themselves to service in one way or another would be an important and valuable thing to accomplish.”
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