Lloyd Mercer was my first principal. I was new to Herdman Collegiate in Corner Brook, Newfoundland and he was just arriving as principal. I had little to compare Lloyd to; after all, it was my first year teaching, but looking back I realize he was not only a good manager but also a good leader. Over the years I have served “under” thirteen different principals. Having been a principal myself I realize that many of the thirteen were either in the business for the wrong reasons or in well over their heads (perhaps more on this later) but Lloyd was not. He was a visionary and he suffered the question (more on this later, as well). Thanks Lloyd for helping me to get on the right track.
My daughter is a recruiter for the University of New Brunswick. She would often do presentations at local high schools and, fairly often, students of mine would have meetings with her. I would say to those students, “When you see my daughter ask her if she is Soup Girl.” I would then tell them this story.
It was about twenty-five years ago, and my daughter was four or five at the time. My wife and son were off somewhere, and I was home with Erin. It was a Saturday. She had been playing with the children next door. It was lunchtime and I made soup; now, when I say I made soup, I mean I opened the can and added water.
I called Erin to the table and placed a bowl of soup before her. She looked at the soup then looked at me and said, “You have given me too much soup. You need to take some out.”
“Erin, it’s just soup. You have been playing all morning. Surely you can handle a bowl of soup.”
“NO, that’s too much. You’ve always said not too take more than we can eat.”
“Well that’s true, particularly when you are serving yourself, BUT THIS IS JUST SOUP – it’s just flavoured water. Surely you have room for one bowl of soup.”
She continued to stare at me. She leaned back, folded her arms and said, “It’s too much. You must take some out.”
“OK”, I said. “Good for you. We have taught you well. That is very responsible of you. Let me have your bowl.”
I then went over to the cupboard, turned my back to her and poured the soup into a bigger bowl. I placed it in front of her and she ate it all up.
IN YOUR FACE, five-year-old!
“If bad things only happened to bad people then we would be good for the wrong reasons” – gc
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