The ability to be in the present moment is a major component of mental wellness.

The ability to be in the present moment is a major component of mental wellness. – Abraham Maslow

One of the concerns educators have today with young people is the ability to be present in the moment.  Too often students are preoccupied with smart phones, social media, and outward appearances.  Being present in the moment, engaging in real conversations and experiences, is required for true reflection.  

Schools, as part of a child-centered educational experience, must cultivate the use of technology as a tool and the ability to be “in the moment” as a skill.  The discipline of listening, understanding, and engaging is necessary for a successful, healthy life.  From professional endeavors to family relationships, we must be fully present to be fully engaged.

Forgiveness determines the breadth, depth, and duration of all relationships.

Forgiveness determines the breadth, depth, and duration of all relationships.

We all make mistakes.  We know that progress requires us to learn on life’s journey.  Forgiveness is essential for a happy, productive life.  No one is perfect; we must build trust with those in our lives.  A key part of trust is having the confidence to forgive the mistakes of others knowing that they too are learning and growing.  

When we trust those people in our lives – be it at home or at work – we find forgiveness easy.  Earn trust through your actions; forgive those you trust with your heart.

If the most powerful thing leaders do is connect, the most dangerous is isolation.

If the most powerful thing leaders do is connect, the most dangerous is isolation.

Leaders build connections; they build trust through repeated actions.  True leaders earn respect; it doesn’t come with a title or position.  When leaders are clear, when they provide support, results are achieved.  

There is a huge difference between leadership and authority.  We serve with leaders; we fear authoritarian power.  Don’t try to lead in isolation; leadership demands teamwork.  Don’t try to lead through power; work to bring people together for a common purpose.

Justification is a waste of time when you’re solving problems.

Justification is a waste of time when you’re solving problems.  – Nathaniel Greene

If something is wrong – fix it!  Defending the status quo, defending actions that are contributory, is a waste of time.

Identifying a problem is a step on the journey to improvement.  We don’t complain about the problem – we solve it.  We don’t defend our actions – we get better.  We don’t blame others – we do the work!

The only man who never makes mistakes is the man who never does anything.

The only man who never makes mistakes is the man who never does anything.  – Theodore Roosevelt

Standing still is easy.  The status quo is secure.  Letting someone else break the ice is safe.  We all know people who are followers.  We all know people who take comfort in stagnation; people who resist any change.

Living our passion for growth, modeling a growth mindset demands action.  Making mistakes is part of the growth, part of the learning process.  We all make mistakes.  We learn from our mistakes, get better, and keep on going.

Don’t be fearful of action.  Embrace the productive discomfort along the journey to elite.

We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone. 

We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone.  – Ronald Reagan

The challenges facing public education today are immense.   Schools are no longer simply responsible for the academic education of the children we serve.  For many children that cross the schoolhouse threshold each day, schools provide two meals, social services, counseling services, and medical support.  Traditional family values are being taught at school – because in some cases they aren’t being taught at home.  Self-regulation and self-control are now part of the curriculum in many classrooms.

No single person is responsible for the new demands on educators.  This isn’t a teacher issue or a principal issue . . . this is an everyone issue.  No individual can meet these challenges alone . . . it takes a team.  If each person, peers included, helps someone each day then we will make progress.  The vast challenges that face us aren’t going to get easier; they aren’t going to diminish over time.  Each of us has a responsibility to make a difference, even if it is for one person, to make the world a little better.

Plans are only good intentions unless they immediately degenerate into hard work. 

Plans are only good intentions unless they immediately degenerate into hard work.  – Peter Drucker

We’ve all created plans that were designed to make a difference.  I’ve had dozens of three-ring binders on my shelves with strategic plans and goal documents.  I’ve served on committees that have spent hundreds of hours creating these plans – the very plans probably still sitting on shelves today.  All the work . . . all the time and talent . . . are merely good intentions unless there is intentional, purposeful work to execute the plan.

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Any plan requires hard work to make a difference.  Every plan must provide checkpoints along the way for reflection, analysis, and corrective actions.  The work doesn’t end with the plan . . . the plan is only the beginning.  In Hilliard, our Innovation Campus started as an idea; create a new high school experience that inspires new pathways for learning AND utilizes the capacity of three high schools and three middle schools.  From the opening of the ILC in 2013 to the expansion in the form of a campus with the opening of The Hub in 2018, it’s taken hard work, flexibility, a growth mindset, and skill.  The idea became a plan, the plan was launched through hard work and lessons were learned through failures, and the journey continues today.  

Plans are only the start . . . strategy is only good until it is tested . . . the real work is in execution, reflection, and continued growth.