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Be Salty! A first day of school message...

We had a fantastic guest speaker for our first day back at school. Dr. Manny Scott, whose story was represented in the 2007 movie Freedom Writers, returned to Crete-Monee High School to discuss the importance of being salty as educators.

Scott, who had a turbulent time growing up, to say the least, picked up where he left off in his rousing, heartfelt, and inspirational messages from last year’s opening day ceremony. Dr. Scott told of how when he spoke in East Texas, the ‘Be Salty’ phrase was born.

He said when he told the audience that you could “Lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him...” a man with a big cowboy hat interrupted him and said that while it’s true you can’t lead a horse to water, you can make him thirsty. You can put salt in his mouth and get him to drink. It’s called a salt lick. That man was a cattle rancher.

Scott also noted the famous phrase Jesus stated, as documented in Matthew 5:13, “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.” There, Jesus told his disciples that if someone rejected Jesus, they would turn rotten.

In the education world, we need to make students thirsty to better themselves and strive to be their best. How can we expect students to be their best if we cannot bring our best? Dr. Scott talked about the importance of acceptance and trust.

We must accept students for who they are and what they deal with. We need to create a communication of trust to change society.

But there was more to Dr. Scott’s message than just this. He asked us to think about what we are grateful for and how we can think of ways to help others. He forced us to rethink our morning routines. He said that a lot of his strength comes from his ‘Be Salty’ morning routine, which consists of exercise, eating right, and a positive mentality.

The presentation lasted roughly two hours, but he was so funny, dramatic, candid, and inspirational that I could have listened longer. These are words, however, to listen to and put into action. We are all teachers in some respect. We must teach ourselves to be our best and bring out the best in others. As teachers, that need is paramount.

I’m glad we had him as our keynote because I am more than ready to start my school year. I hope all the other educators out there are too. And remember to be salty, my friends!

To search for Kevin Patrick Kenealy’s latest thriller, Neighborhood Watch, peruse either Centuries & Sleuths Bookstore in Forest Park, Barbara’s Bookstore in Orland Square Mall, Anderson’s Bookshop in Downers Grove, or The Book Dragon in Stockton-on-Tees, England. You can also buy direct from my website here:

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