By Nancy Thatcher 2013-07-30 14:55:32
I am back from a fantastic ANC in Kansas City—and if you attended, I hope you not only learned much but made some wonderful memories! Now, I’m thinking of how I’ll approach my job as school starts up again soon. One of the topics on my mind has been mentoring. What do I mean by mentoring? For me, to mentor is to teach, advise, counsel and guide. Mentors are examples to the world around them. We are all mentors, whether the influence we have is good, bad or indifferent. I have had many mentors throughout my life. My mom, for example, was a great mentor. She always encouraged me and believed I could accomplish anything I set my mind to. She taught me how to sew, embroider, cook, clean and be a good mom. Also, I have had some bosses and coworkers who have positively influenced my work, such as by showing me a better way to cook a certain food or how to prepare a vegetable in a new way to make it more appetizing for our students. However, some mentors in my life have not been such a positive influence. Some called me stupid, told me that I would never be good at anything and that I wasn’t smart enough to be a manager. I have learned over time that these people have very low self-esteem, so they try to knock others down. But I have learned valuable lessons from interacting with this type of would-be “mentor”—how not to treat others. I’ve also come into contact with indifferent mentors. Whether you do your job well or do only half of what is required of you, it does not matter. Indifferent people just do not care what anyone else does, as long as they are not personally bothered. Do you recognize yourself as any of these mentor types? If you realize that you could be a stronger mentor, make this a goal you will pursue in the coming school year. As for me, I hope I am always a good mentor, but I know that sometimes I have my moments when I am not. When I catch myself in an instance where I can do better, I try to remember that our families, students, staff, teachers and friends are watching how we treat others every day. How do they look at us? What do they think about us? Because we are mentors to everyone we come in contact with, we can make an impact by striving to give sound advice, teach with kindness, counsel with compassion and guide with insight. And we also can learn much from colleagues who serve as mentors, some of whom you’ll read about in this issue of School Nutrition! Step Up! STEPS Challenge Did you participate in the first year of the STEPS Challenge, SNA’s personal wellness initiative sponsored by Jennie-O Turkey Store? If you did and are eager to keep participating or if you’d like to make this the year you focus on your health, Year Two of the STEPS Challenge is underway! Check the article on page 44 and visit www.schoolnutrition.org/steps for more details, including a challenge in which the state affiliates with the most member participation will be named STEPS Challenge All-Star States and have the opportunity to win special prizes! School Lunch Across the USA National School Lunch Week October 14-18, 2013 Are you and your team getting excited about celebrating National School Lunch Week (NSLW)? You can find promotional suggestions in the April 2013 issue of this magazine, as well as online at www.schoolnutrition.org/nslw. Part of your planning should be about how you will take photos to document the event! School Nutrition offers some helpful tips at www.schoolnutrition.org/snmagazine phototips. Be sure that you check the school’s policy for submitting photos of students to various media outlets. Causes for Celebration Online Promotional Calendar With SNA’s annual online 2013-14 promotional calendar at your fingertips, you will find plenty of opportunities to celebrate with your students every single month. Along with familiar holidays, you’ll find quite a selection of lesser-known occasions. Brought to you by the School Nutrition editorial team, the calendar is a fun and detailed free resource for SNA members. It provides fun facts, descriptions of the origins of the celebrations and ideas for decorations, activities and costumes. The Promotional Calendar is available at www. schoolnutrition.org/promocalendar1314.
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