At Southwest, we honor three basic tenants: to have a Servant’s Heart, a Warrior Spirit, and a Fun-LUVing Attitude. When I started working for the company almost three years ago, I was happy to know that I was already living those standards thanks to the qualities instilled within me by my family, teachers, and friends. I was honored to know a very special person who helped me realize the value of FUN. Zinn was there for me throughout high school, but I didn’t get a chance to be in her English class. I was in every club she sponsored and helped with many special projects during my tenure there (I could go into all the amazing conversations we had, but that would end up being longer than the Harry Potter books). She always conveyed the spirit of fun in everything she did which made her a very beloved teacher that everyone gravitated toward. Fast-forward 12 years when I was accepted into my masters program in teaching. I was super elated to discover she was my new supervising professor! After a very busy (somewhat stressful) and successful year, our final in Zinn's class was to enjoy three hours doing something fun, as well as choose a token from two huge boxes of stuff that she dumped on the table (knick-knacks, sundries, and whatnots that she had collected over her many years). I chose a small plush rainbow dolphin for my keychain. During the next three years of teaching music and drama, I had this dolphin on my lanyard, bag, or keychain; it was constantly with me to remind me to not stress, to enjoy every moment, and live each day with some fun. I tried to pass her teachings on to my own students through creative lesson plans or the music we performed. When I left that position I had inadvertently boxed up the dolphin with all of my teaching supplies and set it aside.
Move ahead to 2010, while working my new job at Southwest, when someone reminded me of a small gift they had received and how much this little token meant to them. I smiled and fondly shared my story of my dolphin and the teacher who taught me to have fun. I went home and searched frantically for this dolphin because it represented FUN, and that is something that I knew I needed to recreate in my life again. After locating it, I set it in my car to be with me on all of my new fabulous journeys throughout life. The other night I was left heartbroken, when I had learned that Zinn had passed away. I immediately got my dolphin and just sat there stunned at the loss of this visionary artist and teacher. I have worn it on my lanyard now in her honor and will continue to do so in loving memory of the love and fun we shared. I can continue to have fun at work on a daily basis, making people smile and reduce stress in the workplace. As her son wrote on Facebook, he is looking forward to the ‘Sillybration’ of her life, which totally makes sense to those who knew her.
Feel free to print this out and put this up at your workplace or home to remind yourself to have fun and not stress.