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The Greenwood Effect: A Teacher’s Lasting Lesson

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 The Greenwood Effect: A Teacher’s Lasting Lesson

“If your presence is not adding value to my life, your absence will make no difference.”

Recently a friend of mine lost her husband suddenly at the young age of 45. His name was Tim Greenwood.  He was of course loved by his family, but he was also loved by his town and community.  He was described as the biggest fan of the school he graduated, North Carroll High School in Carroll County, Maryland. Tim would eventually go back to the school he loved to become an English teacher and coach.  The people that knew him loved him because of his passion for the kids he taught and coached at his high school and in the community.  His lessons and practices went beyond just teaching a book or running plays.   He took genuine interest in people and cared about them as individuals.  Anyone exposed to Tim walked away richer from the experience and connection that he brought.  Tim’s loss will leave an emptiness that very few can or will ever fill.

As I have had time to reflect on his life and legacy, I realized that Tim taught me a mathematical lesson, even though he was an English teacher.  He indirectly taught me that there are four types of relationship operations in life, just like in mathematics.

Those operations are addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.  Each of us use all of these throughout our lives but tend to have a more dominant relationship skill we employ the most. Here are the four operations.

  1. Addition: These are the people that add value in your life. When they are around they bring happiness, laughter and smiles.  They are the people you look forward to seeing because their presence is felt and they make all the relationships stronger.  These people like to get together so they can share experience and fun as a group. They are the type of person that you call because you know they will lift you up when you are down.   And they are eager to lend a hand when they can.
  2. Subtraction: These people suck the life out of the room or actually cause groups to lose members because of their personality or attitude.  People will use quotes like “misery loves company” or “I hope they don’t show up” because of their personal history.  They are takers.  They want to know what is in it for me.  If they don’t benefit from a relationship, they ignore it. These people only call when they need or want something.
  3. Multiplication: These people grow relationships and are connectors. They are very secure in their personal relationships and will actually get people together or help them connect because it will be good for everyone. They are great networkers. They actually help communities grow thru getting likeminded people together for a cause, issue or likeness. They are great at seeing how one person can help another; therefore they multiply relationships.
  4. Division: These people divide people. They are always sticking their nose into a relationship. They like to play a side which ends up leading to a division in these relationships. They always wonder why they are not invited to events or parties.  Some of the people are not aware they do this and need to have it brought to their attention.  Others love to play the antagonist and are well aware that they cause issues.  If they are not happy, they don’t want others to be happy.

Which one are you? If you don’t know, go ask two close friends, two acquaintances and one person you would like to get closer to.  This way you will get a good sampling on how people see you.  Once you know what type of person you are, you can change or adjust to the person you want to become.

Tim Greenwood used addition and multiplication in his relationships.  He made people around him better.  He was the truly a rare individual that made all relationships better.  I am sure you have heard of the Greenhouse Effect where it is a controlled environment to help plant life grow.  Well, I call what Tim Greenwood exemplified the “Greenwood Effect” because he made relationships grow.

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