Thursday, December 27, 2012

Lesson #1131

     The first half of the school year - in the books.  For me, the year meant change, and it has certainly lived up to everything people associate with this term.  For starters, the year would mark my entry into eleven years of public school administration.  Eight of the previous ten had been served as an elementary school principal, and the two before those as a middle school dean/assistant principal.  I made a switch this year, and am back at the secondary level, serving as principal for 1,000 middle schoolers.
     I wake up every morning, loving what I do with utter devotion and passion.  I knew the change would be difficult, and I would miss my little ones dearly; it is always hard when you face the reality of not being there every day, week after week, year after year, and I am pretty sure that leaving was harder for me than it was for them... However, just being around kids every day, no matter what the age, no matter how big they are or how much they try and push you away, is a blessing for me.  I am thankful that I get to work at a place I love, to be with people I look forward to seeing, to think thoughts that never end, to labor so intensely it leaves you emotionally and spiritually drained at the end of every day.
   I don't know if I would ever change that.

     To all of those who work in public education, whose first waking thoughts every day are on the children, who go to bed every night thinking about the kids you will encounter, and have an impact upon, the next day - Create memories for your students, be the difference makers, fathers, mothers, counselors, coaches, teachers, and friends.  Do good things for others.  Have a blessed 2013.


We wrap up the year by meeting with friends and family.
We gather at long tables, around drinks and food, congregate in people's homes.
Too often these are places we don't normally frequent throughout the year.
Too often we don't keep up with these people.  
Too often these are our very own family members, friends we used to know, yet we now find ourselves grasping for words, questions to ask, topics that will hopefully spark some conversation.
We get wrapped up in jobs, our careers...
We try and better ourselves,
find Success,
yearn for Glory,
desire more Money,
come up with Reasons...
We think, at the end of the day, that we should be doing more, that
We could have done this differently,
We could have worded that a different way,
We should have worn the red tie today instead of the blue one,
We shouldn't have said that... what were we thinking?

What are we thinking?

Monday, March 26, 2012

Family Leadership

"Leadership can be thought of as a capacity to define oneself to others that clarifies and expands a vision of the future."    

- Edwin H. Friedman

Being an effective leader requires having a vision and being highly transparent about it.   This is also true for husbands, fathers, and leaders of the family.  Understanding that people will not follow you unless they believe in your vision and understand where you are going, you must ask if you have thought this through; have you have intentionally planned out your path?  Andy Hargreaves, an internationally reknowned writer, researcher, consultant and author, says this: "Be relentless about your purposes..."  We need to focus on the clear path, making sure people understand where we are going and what our purpose is before we can expect them to trust us and follow.

Baseball is a simple enough analogy to understand. There is only one end goal in mind - winning. Whether its one game or the pennant or the World Series title, that is why a player plays the game. Certainly, players love the game itself; passion motivates people to want to do well; the spirit of competition inspires athletes to want to play hard and to win. But the vision and the mission is clear: win baseball games.

What is true, then, of leaders? What is true of husbands, of fathers, of dads, of mentors and coaches? For these people, having a clear focus is critically important. And yet it is something that is sometimes overlooked. Especially in places like the home. I have to ask myself as a husband and a father, if I have a clear vision for how I want to lead in my marriage, how I want to lead as a father, as a daddy; what morals and values do I want my children to have?  Have I intentionally worked on this?  Do my children know what I stand for?
If I say that family comes first, do I have a clear vision for my family? What message am I sending if, after a long day at school, I come home and lounge in front of the television for the next four hours until bed?
Doug Reeves said you should have a vision so clear that someone from another country, though they may not speak your language, would know what it is.  Although this was a keynote delivered to school leaders, family leaders need to apply this in the home as well.  Dream big in whatever areas of your life you lead.  Nothing happens in leadership without dreams (Reeves).