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When you know you’re right, stick to your guns.

I learned a valuable lesson when I was 8 years old.Ross school photo

I was in Miss Eck’s third-grade class at Ravinia School in Highland Park, IL. Nancy Eck was a young, energetic, creative teacher – her class was fun and she inspired us to learn.

We were studying tornadoes in Science, including how to protect ourselves if a siren went off, starting with hurrying to our basements. But where is the safest place to be in the basement?

“Ross?  If a tornado was approaching your house from the South, where should you be?”

“Uh… I’d want to be up against the South wall.”

That was the side the tornado was approaching FROM.

“Class? Is Ross right?”

I was immediately mocked by every other student in class. The unanimous opinion was that it was safer to be up against the North wall, i.e. farthest away from the looming tornado. It was 20-1 against me. 

I recall thinking that a strong wind from the South would blow all the broken glass and other sharp things over your head toward the opposite side, the North side.  The North side felt like it would have been the more dangerous option.

“Ross? Do you still think the South wall is the safest?”  I couldn’t see why North could possibly be better, but clearly I’d missed something.

“Uh, no. I guess the North wall is better.”

“Well the correct answer IS the South wall.”  Then she stared right through me.

“When you know you’re right, don’t let others talk you out of it.”

And she winked at me.

Miss Eck (later Mrs. Williams, I think) was a great teacher.