If I Were in Charge of the World

By: Glenda Lofton, Ph.D.

Mar 10, 2020

With the current emphasis on the upcoming presidential election, and all the people who aspire to be president, I am reminded of one of my favorite children’s books. As a college professor, I typically began the new year with my students by reading Judith Viorst’s poem, “If I Were In Charge of the World” taken from her delightful and insightful book by a similar title, If I Were in Charge of the World, and Other Worries: Poems for Children and their Parents (1981).  Through the voice of a young boy, the poet captures our imagination and humor as he makes his list:  

“If I were in charge of the world,

you wouldn’t have lonely.

You wouldn’t have clean. 

You wouldn’t have bedtimes.

Or ‘Don’t punch your sister.’ 

You wouldn’t even have sisters…”                  

All of us have times when we wish that we were in charge of the world.  For those of us who honestly pursue what we would do if we were in charge of the world, we soon come to appreciate the second part of the author’s title: If I Were In Charge of the World and Other Worries. With my college students, I added to their worries by reminding them that as future teachers, in many ways, they would be in charge of the world of their students.  This had been brought home to me quite vividly by a letter I received from a second grader in my early years of teaching: “Dear Mrs. Lofton,” the letter began.  “When I came to this class, I sed I woodent like it and I don’t. I don’t want to kos any truble. If you move me to another class it will be a big help to me.”  The letter was signed politely, “Your friend…”  

As a teacher who had set out to make a difference in the lives of my students, I was devastated but determined to respond to her request with dignity and respect.  With a prayer for guidance, I called the student to my desk, looked into her anxious eyes, and informed her as though I were talking to an adult, that the school’s policy did not allow students to transfer from one class to another (and it didn’t). “I’m sorry that you’re unhappy here,” I told her, (and I meant it).  I then asked her to write me a letter and tell me some changes that we might make in the classroom that would make her like it better and help her to learn more.  I never received a letter, but at the next recess when I went out on duty, she was waiting for me by the door.  Without a word, she reached up, took my hand, and never let go for the whole recess—one of my most memorable moments.  

Later in my graduate studies, I read research documenting the importance of creating a positive learning environment for students.  In classrooms where students achieve at high levels, the teacher through his/her actions sends a two-fold message, “I care about you as a person and your learning.”  

It is not surprising to note that the same principles apply in the workplace as well.  Productive organizations care about the people and the task.  In our daily interactions with each other, our clients, our coworkers, our families, and even those we meet in passing, we are to some degree “in charge of their world.”  Unfortunately there is truth in the saying, “Some cause happiness wherever they go, others whenever they go.”  During 2020 let us commit to making the world of those associated with us and Lofton Corporation a better place, and may each of you be blessed with a Happy and Productive New Year!   


About Lofton: Founded in 1979, Lofton Services offers clients the best of all worlds. We provide the responsive, personal service and flexibility of a small local firm while having the technology, resources, and infrastructure to deliver the benefits of the biggest players in our industry. Lofton Staffing can deliver the right people, with the right skills, right when you need them. Contact us today

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