Mr. Loy Greenhill died last week at the age of 86. You can read his obituary here. He was the principal for many years of Crestline Elementary School in Hartselle, where all three of my children attended.
Mr. Greenhill created a structured and safe environment for all of the children under his care. My children were blessed to go through elementary school in a much simpler time. Oh, they had occasional fire drills and tornado drills, but their early years were before the days of carefully locked doors and “Intruder Drills.” Mr. Greenhill was present for all of their chorus programs, science fair displays and spelling bees. He was front and center working at the big fundraisers, especially the Crestline Halloween Carnival every fall.
As far as my oldest daughter could tell, Mr. Greenhill knew the name of every child who walked through the doors of Crestline each morning. That was no easy task, because in the early 1980’s, Crestline had one of the largest elementary student populations in North Alabama. Today the school only goes through 4th grade, but my children attended all the way through 5th grade.
Mr. Greenhill treated Steve and me with such respect, whether we had “business” in the office or just saw him around town. Whether Laura, Matt and Julie were making good grades, flipping peas in the cafeteria, winning awards or being sent home for head lice, Mr. Greenhill was fair and involved.
As you can tell by reading his obituary, Mr. Greenhill, in addition to being an excellent principal, also made time to be an integral part of his church by serving as a deacon, of his community by maintaining the landscaping at a fire station and of his local Kiwanis Club and all its activities. I’m sure his wife, children and grandchildren can testify that he made time to give them love and attention, too.
One of the most interesting things I heard about Mr. Greenhill came via some words of praise my daughter Laura heard that were said by his daughter. She shared that her daddy’s motto was: “And then some.” What powerful marching orders for his life!! Not only did he give a full day’s work for a full day’s pay in the Hartselle City Schools, he went beyond — “And then some.” He didn’t just attend Hartselle Church of Christ on a regular basis, he took on the responsibilities of a deacon — “And then some.” He didn’t just fulfill the role of elementary school principal, he took the time to learn each child’s name — “And then some.”
In many ways, Mr. Greenhill’s motto runs counter to the Entitlement Mentality of many Americans in this day and age, those who BARELY give a full day’s work before skipping out as soon as the whistle blows in the factory or corporate setting. Those who “get by” with doing the minimum rather than caring enough to exceed expectations. Or those who are always wanting more benefits without doing anything to make a company or work setting more productive or profitable.
Imagine a world with MORE MR. GREENHILLS in it!!
When you stop and consider it, Mr. Greenhill’s motto is a perfect illustration of Jesus’ words in the Sermon on the Mount:
Matthew 5:38-41 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, do not resist him who is evil, but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone wants to sue you, and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. And whoever shall force you to go one mile, go with him two.”
Jesus clearly told His followers to obey commands but to go beyond mere obedience. AND THEN SOME.