We are living and leading in turbulent times. The Covid pandemic has disrupted our lives in incalculable ways. Schools will be working to close the learning gaps created from the virus for a decade; this generation of students will be forever changed because of Covid. In addition, the political and racial angst in our country have sparked divisions in our communities that are unparalleled in recent times. Even in our schools, we experience fear, hate, vitriol, and extremism.
It’s time for us to recalibrate how we engage in public discussions. The people who email dozens of times per week are part of the problem, not part of the solution. No real problem will be solved in a Facebook group; the common ground isn’t located on a cable news station. There is so much more that unites us than divides us. There are few absolutes in the most intense topics today – there is much room for conversation and discussion. Absolutists – those who want to win at any cost – are the loud minority on both fringes of any debate. Those who fan the flames of hate or who live with paralyzing fear aren’t the peacemakers.
We will recalibrate the discussion by listening to all positions, seeking opportunities for common ground, and creating a safe space for the majority in the middle to communicate. We can’t lead school districts from a place of fear or with a scarcity mentality. We must be intentional in our response to each event, and we must be skilled and focused on our mission.