First, think. Second, dream. Third, believe. And finally, dare. – Walt Disney
Our public education system faces many challenges. Keeping our children safe has become a topic for legislators and our national news media. Mental health issues continue to mount for the children in our classrooms. We lack alignment between our educational purpose and what’s required to prepare students for future success. We balance the costs of a high quality education with the reality of the tax burden on our residents.
It’s time to stop accepting the status quo; it’s our time to create the education we desire for our students. It’s our time in Hilliard; it’s our time to think, dream, believe, and finally dare to be the change we want to see. Yesterday’s education isn’t preparing today’s students for tomorrow’s success. It’s time to dare. Together we think and dream; we hypothesize and fail as a team. We are the dream builders; we are the believers. We dare and we succeed.
The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it. – Sydney J. Harris
We often feel like we can’t relaxed until there is a scheduled break. We wait for spring break, that long weekend, or a summer vacation. Planned vacations are wonderful – they provide both a specific time to relax and something to look forward to in the future. Planning a vacation, daydreaming about the activities, and looking forward to time with family and friends is an important part of a vacation. We must also create time to relax when it isn’t in the calendar; we must find ways to recharge when we need it most.
It is important to know when you are feeling stress; it is important to intentionally understand your own mindset. When you are getting worn-down, when stress has a negative impact on your decision-making, how do you relax? Do you create time to recharge and rest?
Being a martyr, working yourself to the bone, helps no one. Pushing yourself past healthy limits, living a life that’s out of balance, doesn’t make you a better employee . . . it makes you ineffective. Make time for yourself . . . only the best version of you is the best version of you.
“Love isn’t a state of perfect caring. It is an active noun like “struggle.” To love someone is to strive to accept that person exactly the way he or she is, right here and now.” – Fred Rogers
Last year I had the opportunity to meet, converse, and share with members of the Apple Education Team regarding their hiring practices. I was intrigued that outside of the required technical competencies, Apple considers empathy and teamwork as essential to be part of the Apple Computer Family. Apple intentionally interviews to gauge empathy – the ability to understand and share the feelings of others.
Developing empathy, striving to understand someone else and share real feelings, is missing in many stations of our lives today. For many, society today is about winning. For many, other people’s feelings, opinions, or beliefs are unimportant. Winning is when my beliefs and values are codified or institutionalized.
We must change this narrative. We must care for one another, expect empathy from each other, and embrace the struggle.
The best way to stop childhood bullying is for adults to model kindness and act with empathy in our hearts.
Our children are watching. They are watching adults call each other names, they are reading vitriolic social media posts, and they are hearing hate in our voices. Our children are watching.
Turn on the news, open a blog, or read the paper. Listen to adults at the supermarket. Sit at a soccer game and listen to the parents. Many adults have no tolerance of differing opinions – they attack the individual who holds a different position. Our children are watching.
We are a society that was built on basic freedoms; our founding fathers debated, compromised, and built consensus. Healthy debate and civil discourse is in our DNA. We must respect the right that others may hold other opinions and beliefs without attacking the individual. We are required to model kindness, compassion, and understanding. It is our obligation to seek to understand the opinions of others, to challenge with kindness and skill, and to model for the next generation the empathetic, compassionate behavior.
Our children are watching.
“There are three ways to ultimate success: The first way is to be kind. The second way is to be kind. The third way is to be kind.” – Mister Rogers
I had the honor of meeting Mister Rogers as a sixth grade student working at a Connecticut Public Television fundraising auction. During the “Kid’s Auction” day, children served as the auctioneers and Mister Rogers was the host. He would walk around the studio, in his cardigan sweater, and have genuine conversations with us. He was as kind in person as he was on his beloved “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.”
Mister Rogers, who passed in 2003, would be deeply concerned about where we are in society today. First and foremost, Mister Roger’s Neighborhood was about kindness, about helping one another, and about building caring relationships with each other.
Let’s commit to model kindness as adults. We are all role models for the children in our lives. Children are always watching; they emulate our actions. We must live the ultimate success . . . kindness, kindness, and more kindness.
The key is to teach them how to be safe with technology, because ultimately, we want our children to be in charge of technology, rather than feeling technology is in charge of them. – Elaine Halligan
Technology isn’t going away. We aren’t going back to landlines, handwritten letters, or chalkboards. I don’t see a time when we will take rolls of film to CVS to get them developed; I don’t think we will see the typewriter making a comeback. Technology will keep infiltrating our way of life and permeating our homes.
Educating students to use technology as a tool is a core component of our role as public schools. Part of this education is instilling in students the importance of interpersonal communications and real, human relationships. Technology can enhance, but it can never replace, human communications. We are social beings; we thrive on community. We must teach students to look people in the eye and have a real conversation. We are required to prepare students to work in groups, to embrace the power of teamwork.
The tools of technology are going to change. The proliferation of computers is sure to continue – especially as artificial intelligences enables analytic process to be fast and more accurate than ever-in history. The ethical and moral questions will continue to grow. Technology should never be in charge of us, as humans. We teach our students to be in charge of technology; we teach them to use technology as tools for great good.
The best and safest thing is to keep balance in your life, acknowledge the great powers around and in us. If you can do that, and live that way, you are really a wise man. – Euripides
Keeping balance isn’t a new challenge – even the ancient Greeks recognized the need, and struggle, to keep balance in life. Being balanced requires us to focus on others as well as ourselves. Being balanced demands us to acknowledge a higher purpose; it necessitates commitment to others.
We are wise when we find joy and fulfillment in a balanced life. When we are intentional and purposeful in our actions, when we are disciplined in our actions, we are most able to keep this balance. When we act on impulse, when we put ourselves and immediate needs ahead of others, we get out of balance. Own your 20 square feet, don’t permit others to place you in an unbalanced situation. You are in control of you . . . be the best version of you every day.