Recently, a colleague and good friend gave me a book called The Art of Possibility: Transforming Professional and Personal Life By Rosamund and Benjamin Zander. In one of the early chapters the authors laid out a wonderful story about two salesmen who went to Africa at the turn of the century looking to increase the sales market for their new shoe company. After the salesmen had arrived, they both sent off telegrams to their CEO to explain what they had found.
The first telegram read “The trip is futile. They do not wear shoes here.”
The second read “The potential here is unrivalled, they do not have shoes here yet.”
It’s all about perspective isn’t it?
It’s the ability to see beyond the narrow confines of what our current perception is and embrace the challenge of new possibility.
Do we ever find that in our classrooms? Do we ever find that we label a child based on our original perception and not see the potential in them? Do we ever see that rough looking child on the skateboard, pants down around their ankles or so tight you wonder how they got into them, and say, “Here’s a child with unlimited ability.”? While others say that the child is undisciplined, do we see that this same boy has spend hours and hours perfecting their precision on their board, so much so that they make it all look easy? They don’t lack discipline at all, they lack motivation.
As we start off this new year with fresh books and fresh faces, let’s ensure that we have a fresh perspective on the amazing potential of all of those in our care. Let’s see possibility not road blocks.
Keep on learning.