Blogs » Les Patterson’s Monday Morning Boost: Saving janitors

Les Patterson’s Monday Morning Boost: Saving janitors

  • KC and LaTeishia Curtis with LaTeishia’s family.

    High school janitors clean hallways, bathrooms and empty the trash. They straighten chairs and desks in the classrooms. They condition chalkboards, wax the floors, and clean up spills in the lunchroom. They clean up behind the crowd at basketballs games.

    Saturday night I was reminded they also save lives.

    But let’s not get ahead of the story. First there’s the wedding, the reason the janitors were there.

    There’s nothing quite like weddings and funerals to bring family and old friends back in touch. While each is a celebration of life, I’m much more a fan of weddings. Saturday’s wedding in our hometown of Richfield was for my cousin’s daughter LaTeishia.

    Being the daughter of my first cousin, LaTeishia is my first cousin once removed. I love making family connections, and for many, figuring out the whole “once removed” part can be tricky. An easy way to understand is to simply look at the generations. LaTeishia’s dad and I am first cousin, our moms being sisters. We’re of the same generation. Our kids are second cousins as they are of the same generation. My relationship to LaTeishia is first cousins once removed.

    Understanding the relationship between generations will be helpful in understanding why I was so excited to see my second cousin Dianna along with her husband Todd and their six boys. It had been several years since we had seen each other. More so, it was the first time any of our kids had met each other.

    Pop Quiz Time

    • If Dianna and I are second cousins, what relationship do my kids have to her kids?
    • What is the relationship of Dianna’s dad bob to my daughter Rebecca?

    Use the graphic below to figure out the answers.

    As you can see, Dianna’s boys and Rebecca are 3rd cousins. And Rebecca and Dianna’s dad Bob are 1st cousins twice removed.

    Clear as mud???

    It’s all about connections. And connections are something the janitors understood.

    High school halls are vibrant hives of activity. Students hang out, laughing, talking, and dreading the upcoming test. Boys and girls tease and flirt. It can be a fun place. But sometimes, before and after the bell ring, and in-between classes, those same hallways are something other than good.

    In today’s high schools bullying often takes the form of fingers fly across digital keyboards. Last month cache Valley lost a beautiful young lady to suicide,Cassandra “Cecci” Porter, who was “viciously harassed on Facebook by someone who supposedly created a phony account.”

    Schools are designed to educate and prepare young minds for adulthood. Unfortunately some kids come out of school with self-esteems destroyed by peer pressure and bullying.

    The janitors understood this.

    There were three janitors when I was in high school; my Uncle Marvin Christensen, Thad Nielsen, and Bill. They loved being with the kids. Every girl was beautiful to them and every boy popular. They made a point of building our confidence without us realizing it. Teachers or coaches impacted those students they directly interacted with. The janitors impacted, to one degree or another, every one of us.


    My high school janitor Thad Nielsen and his wife Nedra.

    Saturday at the wedding I had the chance to visit again with Uncle Marvin again, who had both a family connection to the bride and a next door neighbor connection to the groom. Then Thad Nielsen, who I have not seen him since high school, came to the reception. While I didn’t ask his connection to the bride and groom, I did share my connection to him. I said thanks for changing our lives by encouraging and believing.

    And I thank Thad for saving our lives.

    We can learn from the janitors by believing, encouraging, and looking for opportunities to be a good friend.

    Here are three resources I feel offer good ideas

    Have a great Monday! Thanks for letting me share.

    Les Patterson

    P.S. Take 13 minutes today to see how the students at Sunset Ridge Middle School dealt with a bullying “Wide Load.”

    Les Patterson loves to share stories and the “Monday Morning Boost” is his way of sharing a story or two with family, friends, and clients. Les believes every person, business and organization has a story worth sharing. Since 1997 he has enjoyed finding compelling ways to share those stories through writing and producing radio commercials at the Cache Valley Media Group. Discover how he can help tell your story at Feedback and comments are welcome at ©2016, Les Patterson. All Rights Reserved. To UNSUBSCRIBE, reply to this email with UNSUBSCRIBE in the subject line and your email will be removed.