Ever find yourself surrounded by people who are tired, hungry and a little grumpy? This seemed to be the emotional climate in the airport on my last trip. I was in a sea of individuals all shuffling through the line waiting for our bags to pass through security. Things were moving slowly, with several individuals having difficulty understanding the directions of the lady doing the screening. Continually having to re-run bags and stop individuals for advanced pat downs, she was quite frustrated and most definitely not in the best of spirits.

When I passed through, I happened to be the randomly chosen person to have my bag searched. As she pulled it off the conveyor belt, I heard her say, “This bag comes off – and it’s heavy.” Ignoring the filter in my brain, I said, “My grandma’s in it.” Completely stone-faced, she looked up at me, and I smiled and waved, praying and awaiting her response. Without cracking a smile, she turned to her co-worker and said, “You get to check this one,” at which point she burst into laughter along with everyone in line. I breathed a sigh of relief, and as I was walked off, she said, “Thanks, honey. I sort of needed that.”

One exchange. That’s all it took. Educators, you are about to dive into another adventure-filled year. Remember that be it a smile, word or gesture – with parents, children and co-workers – your choices have power. I pray you are able to make the most of your behavioral exchanges, and thus, are able to leave a positive emotional wake in your path. Have a great start to the school year.