We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already; we have the power to imagine better. 

We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already; we have the power to imagine better.  – J.K Rowling

 We can’t create what we do not imagine.  A better future, a brighter future for the next generation, demands that we have a vision for where we want to go.  We don’t have the answers, but we ask the right questions.  We don’t have a plan, but we have a direction.  We have a shared hope and dream.

Life is a journey, but it isn’t a solo trip.  Life requires building trust, cultivating relationships, and working together. Success isn’t earned alone; this isn’t an individual activity.  We change the world together; we create the shared vision of the future to create a better world.

No one is less in this world who lightens the burdens of another.

No one is less in this world who lightens the burdens of another.  – Charles Dickens

 The message from A Christmas Carol is delivered by the spirits of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come.  Ebenezer Scrooge’s selfish, greedy behavior has become a portrait of the dangers of the holiday season.  The old miser, who thinks only of himself and his own holdings, is the antithesis of our desired behaviors.

As Dickens reminds us, the spirit of the season is about sharing the blessings we have accumulated in life. It’s about the kindness, generosity, and compassion that embody the true spirit of this season.  Be thankful for the blessings received and generous with the gifts that you give.  Lighten the burden of another; you will make the world a better place.

Kindness in words creates confidence.  Kindness in thinking creates profoundness.  Kindness in giving creates love.

Kindness in words creates confidence.  Kindness in thinking creates profoundness.  Kindness in giving creates love.  – Lao Tzu

 

The holiday season is a time of giving and of love.  For many in our community, this is truly the most wonderful time of the year.

As we break for vacation and extended time with loved ones and friends, be intentional in your actions and purposeful in your behavior.  Be kind in all that you do.  Be kind in your words; words are powerful.  Monitor your self-talk and inner-thoughts; only you control your mood and mindset.  Be aware of your inner-work because it determines your outward actions.  Give of yourself; your actions are the most powerful reflection of your true feelings.

The anchor in our world today is freedom, holding us steady in times of change, a symbol of hope to all the world.

The anchor in our world today is freedom, holding us steady in times of change, a symbol of hope to all the world.  – George H.W. Bush

 

The very fiber of American Society is spun in freedom.  From the self-evident truths penned by Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence to the more perfect union protected in the U.S. Constitution, our country is predicated on liberty and freedom.  Our constitutional democracy is aspirational for many in the world today.

Freedom is anchored in each individual’s ability to speak, write, and share their thoughts and ideas. Freedom demands an open exchange of ideas without fear or punishment.  Part of celebrating freedom is engagement with opposing viewpoints and diverse thoughts.

President George H.W. Bush modeled the free exchange of ideas with civility and dignity.  The appreciation of debate and discussion is fundamental in civility.  To truly embrace liberty and freedom we must also embrace the discomfort of real engagement and discussion.  My hope is that today’s leaders stop for a moment, that they press pause, and reflect on the demands of real freedom and liberty.  It demands a great deal from each of us.

I have opinions of my own – strong opinions – but I don’t always agree with them.

I have opinions of my own – strong opinions – but I don’t always agree with them.  – George H.W. Bush

 

The more I “press pause” and really “get my mind right” about my feelings the better I understand the balance between my thoughtful self and my emotional self.  My first reaction, my gut instinct, is my emotional self.  For me, this response is based on self-interest or fear.  I have an initial strong opinion or reaction; when undisciplined I act out of emotion.  When I take time to think . . . when I press pause to understand why I feel the emotions that want to drive me in a certain direction . . . my thoughtful self always makes a better decision.  Sure, there are times that my gut, that my emotions, are correct.  There is no harm in pressing pause to confirm a response to an event.

Take time to press pause to understand your emotions and feelings.  Get your mind right around your own opinions.  Internal conflict, balancing your own head and heart, is a natural part of a leader and decision maker.  Own your behavior by achieving a thoughtful, reflective balance in life.

No definition of a successful life can do anything but include serving others. 

No definition of a successful life can do anything but include serving others.  – George H.W. Bush

One of our goals is teaching our students the value of service.  One of our three core values as a district is “Power of the Team.”  We instill in young people the value of listening, caring, and serving.  We model empathy and demand respect.  In a society that often glorifies individual accomplishments, we create opportunities for teamwork and collaboration.

No one modeled a true sense of service to others more than President George H.W. Bush.  His life is a true model of service to his country, to humanity.  As a father, husband, Navy Pilot, and ultimately President of the United States, President Bush led with his values, faith, and heart.  We study history so today’s young people learn about those who paved the way.  I have faith that by serving this generation, others will dedicate their lives to service too.

Think about every problem, every challenge, we face.  The solution to each starts with education.

Think about every problem, every challenge, we face.  The solution to each starts with education.  – George H.W. Bush

Education is the silver bullet. Our education system is the key to our country’s future prosperity.  Education is everything, but it also requires monumental changes in how we serve our students.  We have the infrastructure and resources, but we must exponentially increase our capacity to serve an increasingly diverse community.  The one-size-fits-all approach to schooling must be overhauled. The age of testing and assessment must be replaced by the age of support and accountability.  We must have high standards that are customized to the skills required for future success.

Education is learning . . . it is increasing capacity based on increasing knowledge and skills.  As educators we must embrace the productive discomfort of institutional change.  There is no single, simple answer.  It begins with a willingness to engage in the conversation with a commitment to do the work.  It starts with us, as educators, learning and growing.