Friday, January 29, 2016

You have to believe it to see it

It's the middle of winter. Skies are grey. Snow comes and goes. Walking outside is always an adventure. It's easy to get caught up and find one's self slogging through each day. The goal - get home, curl up, and wait for the next day to come.

I read a book recently that changed my perspective. Circus Mirandus is not a book on greatness or vision. It's definitely not a self-help book. It's not a book on leadership or motivation.

Technically, Circus Mirandus is a book written for students in grades 4-6. It's a book about Micah Tuttle and his grandfather Ephraim and a magical but real circus - Circus Mirandus.

The only way to see Circus Mirandus is to believe in it. The only way to find this wonderfully entertaining and magical place is to believe. Those that don't believe - well, it just isn't there.

As I read this book it made me think about what I believe in and, correspondingly, what I see. It also made me think of how I let what I see influence what I believe.

With one set of eyes I can see the world as difficult, challenging, hard. I can see that people will disappoint and annoy and bother me. When I let myself see with those eyes I begin to believe that the world is always like that and there is nothing that I can do to make it better.

But Circus Mirandus helped me remember that "you have to believe it to see it." When I start with what I believe then that is what I begin to see.

I believe that people are good. I believe that there is joy and happiness in the world. I believe that people can figure out solutions to problems. I believe that we can find ways to work together. I believe that people can and will improve. I believe that there is always a reason to smile.

When I remember what I believe, then I begin to see it.

That's not to say that I don't believe that there will be problems and challenges and heartache. I know that is part of the world that I live in.

But I believe that there are answers to questions and solutions to problems and ways to overcome our challenges. I believe heartache can be healed - it may take time and it may be hard but it can be done.

And because I believe that I can see it.

I would encourage you to find a copy of Circus Mirandus and read it.

Remember - you have to believe it to see it!

Friday, January 15, 2016

Slow Down, Trust Others

One month ago I had my hip replaced. I was thrilled!

It was, once again, an interesting experience. I've done it before - three other times in fact. 

I've heard it said that sometimes we go through the same experience until we learn the lesson that we need to learn. This is the 4th time I've had my hip replaced. Hopefully I've finally learned my lesson.

What's the lesson: 

Slow down, trust others. 

My professional life revolves around meeting expectations, managing chaos, ensuring success. Students. Parents. Staff. The Board of Education. Our community.  

Everyday there is something to worry about. 

Some profound:
  • Will our students be engaged at school?
  • Are we communicating effectively with parents?
  • Are we preparing students with the skills they need to be successful?
  • Are we helping staff find professional success?
Some more mundane but still important:
  • Will the buses be on time?
  • Do we serve food that students want to eat?
  • Are classrooms clean?
Everyday there is something to worry about.

Until you can't or at least you shouldn't.

After my hip was replaced I could continue to worry about all that I typically worry about or I could worry about other important things. Like lifting my leg. Like figuring out how to walk with a walker. Like making sure I didn't bend over or cross my legs.

I couldn't put on my own socks. I couldn't tie my shoes. 

Instead of being the one who did things I had to adjust to letting others do for me. I could try and manage from a distance or I could rely on my team. I could worry and fret or I could have confidence in others. 

Slow down, trust others.

Some learn more slowly than others. I clearly fit into that category. My recovery has taught me that I am not responsible for the world, even my small world. I have a part to play. I need to play it well. But in the end I need to understand that to go fast I need to go slow. My recovery has taught me to slow down, trust others.