Happy New Year! With our New Year’s resolutions in hand, we are entering into one of the most exciting and often most difficult parts of the school year. Many long, cold, dark, days await the coming of spring and we continue to toil in the educational “doldrums.” Christmas has passed and the enthusiasm of a new school year may have somewhat lost its luster, but if we redouble our efforts, this time of year can also be a time of explosive learning growth for our students! This is the time when teachers will see more “lights on” learning moments than any other time of the year!
So, what keeps your engine running? What is the fuel that inspires you each day to be great? In commenting to a new found friend on twitter recently, I commented “I just don’t understand how anyone tackles the challenges of leadership without faith.” For me, faith is what motivates me each day to be great and is the fuel to the fire I have to make sure each student is cared for, nurtured, and given the best education we can possibly provide.
Each action, whether it be the simple bending to tie a child’s shoe, listening to a parent or colleague in need, or engaging in a tough conversation about our practices when it would be easier to just embrace the status quo takes on an eternal significance. Each act, however small, makes up my response to Him who loved me into existence and came not to be served, but to serve.
One of the biggest revelations for me in my faith journey came when I was taught that my “spiritual life” isn’t a separate thing confined to church attendance or daily devotions, it was my life. Although I am called primarily to serve my family as a husband and father, I am uniquely blessed to be able to serve the “little ones” I encounter each day in my school. I felt this way as a special education teacher and always felt compelled to dedicate myself towards the “poorest of the poor” in our schools. As a principal, it has stretched me, sometimes in uncomfortable ways, to further allow my selfish heart to set aside my own needs and only seek to serve more and more. This service is the foundation of any successful leader and I am grateful for the grace to continue to embrace all the challenges to which I have been called.
What keeps your engine running?