Friday, September 28, 2012

The Wise Man and the Dove

Some time ago I heard a story about a wise man and a dove. The wise man lived some time ago and was kind, compassionate and caring. As such, he was loved by the people. Not far from the wise man lived a young prince who despised the wise man, believing his followers loved the wise man more than him.

In an effort to discredit the wise man, the prince decided to dress as a peasant and go to the marketplace where the wise man spoke to the masses each day. The prince intended to carry in his hands a white dove. His plan was to fool the wise man by asking him if the dove were alive or dead. If the wise man answered that the dove were alive, the prince would crush it in his hands, killing it. Conversely, if the wise man answered that the dove were dead, the prince would simply set it free. It was a foolproof plan in his eyes and he looked forward to discrediting the wise man publicly.

Well the day finally came. The prince disguised himself as a peasant and he went to the market prepared to make a fool of the wise man. He approached the group the wise man was speaking to and boldly asked, "Wise man... I hear great things about you. Can you please demonstrate your wisdom and tell me if the dove I hold in my hands is dead or alive?" The wise man thought for a moment, looked at his followers and answered quietly, "Why my good man, it is what you make of it."

It is what you make of it indeed. Your circumstance. Your relationships. Your future. All are what you make of it!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Do The Right Thing

Do The Right Thing. Four words. Simple sentence. Simple concept right?

When value systems align, doing the right thing means the same thing to everyone who shares that value system. However, when values do not align, doing the right thing means different things to different people.

At the start of each school year, building principals, classroom teachers and coaches everywhere review their rules, regulations and expectations with students and parents at open houses and pre-season meetings. This is done so that everyone involved is provided with an understanding of the value system of that school building, classroom or team.

A clear articulation of rules, regulations and expectations allows all involved the very best opportunity to do the right thing.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Caring Counts

In his book, "The Seven Secrets of Successful Coaching" author Greg Dale, Ph.D. explains that successful coaches care about the athletes they coach. More importantly, the students (players) know the coach cares about them.

At our annual summer retreat, administrators were asked to talk about the most influential person in their lives to this point. They were asked to share who the influential person is and why they were impacted by that person. Some talked about a parent, others talked about a teacher or a coach, while others talked about a mentor or co-worker. The common thread between all the stories - our administrators knew beyond the shadow of a doubt that the influential person in their life cared deeply about them.

The beauty about caring is simple - anyone can do it. Caring doesn't require a Ph.D. or five years of previous successful experience. Demonstrating that you care can be achieved by asking someone how they are doing and actually being interested in hearing the answer. It can be shown by taking the time to say thank you, or job well done, or a quick phone call or text to say hi, I'm thinking about you. Perhaps the simplest and most profound way we can demonstrate that we care about someone else is by taking the time to just listen to them.

I once heard Lou Holtz say, "they don't care how much you know until they know how much you care." As educators, these are powerful words.

Each of us has the power to be the most influential person for somebody today. Take the time to make a difference.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

To The Moon And Back

When our children were little, my wife and I would read to them each night at bedtime. One of our favorite books to read was Sam McBratney's, "Guess How Much I Love You." As the book ends, Big Nutbrown Hare whispers, "I love you to the moon and back" as Little Nutbrown Hare drifts off to sleep.

It seems like just yesterday that we watched our daughter walk down the street and disappear up the stairs of the bus on her first day of kindergarten. Recently that very same daughter showed us her senior photo proofs. Like parents everywhere, we have watched her grow from a cute little girl into a beautiful young woman. This Tuesday she and more than 500 classmates will begin their senior year of high school. Through the years we have helped with homework, watched class plays, attended concerts, attended parent-teacher conferences and watched her compete athletically. Much has changed through the years and no doubt much will change in the years to come.

As a senior, we no longer tuck our daughter into bed each night. However, whether she knows it or not, each night I walk by her door and think to myself, yes, I still love you to the moon and back.

Good luck to all seniors in the class of 2013 - I hope this year is everything you hope it to be!