It is with great pleasure that I write this message to you. It is rather timely as it seems as though I have been divinely inspired by two very different speakers in the last few weeks. The first was Drew Dudley. Drew spoke at the NCTCA, Teachers Convention for those of you unfamiliar with the acronym, and I was highly impressed. Having seen his Ted talk on Leading with Lollipops, I knew that I was likely in for a treat, no pun intended. He didn’t disappoint. I took a copious amount of notes and quite a few pictures of his slides – none of which turned out. My iPhone camera is not what it is cracked up to be. While there were many points that impressed me about Drew’s presentation on everyday leadership, one notion that struck me the most was the section on how schools set up a system based on winning and losing. A system that implies there is a finite amount of reward and that we must fight to get the lion’s share, a system of scarcity. Drew doesn’t simply lay out the problem but goes on to give options. The biggest revelation is that if we set ourselves up to live our lives around questions like; Did I make more money today?, Did I get a promotion today?, or Did I receive any awards today? Most days we will be very dissatisfied. We will go to bed disappointed that we didn’t meet our goals. But if the question we ask is, did I add value to someone’s life today? It changes our perception of how we live our lives. What better question can we ask at the end of the day, especially as teachers? What if we went one step further? What if we taught our students to ask that same question? Wouldn’t that have profound impact on how they view their role in the world and how they view the actions that they take?
My second inspiration for the week, Pope Francis. Saving him for last. I can’t help but think his humility would like that. In his call for us to embrace and offer mercy through the Lenten season, he is calling for us to add value as well. The value we add, is that of compassion and love. We in Catholic education have a very special pastoral calling when it comes to offering mercy. The opportunity is in front of us every day as we work side by side with the kids, answer phone calls or chat in the hallway of the school. The opportunity is there to inquire about a person’s day, share a smile or offer support. A quote from Archbishop Oscar Romero rings through my mind “Aspire not to have more, but to be more.” That is what Pope Francis asks of us, not simply in Lent but all days. Don’t simply ask for more – strive to be more. You already are so much.
Keep on Learning .