A while back, I read the book Fostering Resilient Learners By Kristen Souers. One thing she mentioned that still resonates with me is the power of the first 7 seconds. Our first interactions with our students are some of the most important moments of the day.

One of my duties at school is monitoring the breakfast cart, where hundreds of kids line up in the morning to get fueled for the day. The hallways can get crowded and the kids can get a little amped up, yet I am careful in choosing my first words to them. As much as I want to say “no running!!”, I try to say “So great to see you and see that you are excited about coming to school today. Please remember to walk so that everyone can stay safe on their way to class”. This works if they actually stop long enough to hear me say it😊 And sometimes it’s difficult when you say it to the same students day in and day out.

I always feel badly when morning meetings go long and teachers miss that initial greeting time with their students. Coming down the hallway after their students can lead to more first interactions being demands ( i.e. get to class!) vs pleasantries.

I also try to be mindful of this a practice with other relationships at work and at home, too. Before I walk in with ideas, suggestions or demands, I try to remember how the first few seconds influences the rest of the conversation or interactions.

Apparently there was something trending called the Seven Second challenge where you try to do a variety of tasks within 7 seconds. These are just a few:

Counting 1-10 in another language.
Sing the Alphabets Backward.
Change your hair to a ponytail?
Name 5 breeds of dogs in 7 seconds.
Lick the tip of your elbow.

(See https://www.challengestodo.com/7-second-challenge-ideas/ )

How I greet others is my Seven Second challenge. Want to join me?