Out of alignment

I have been a regular runner for about six years. I love running for too many reasons to list, but recently I have needed to back off because I have broken an exercise rule and now I’m paying for it. The rule that fitness experts share is “listen to your body”. I was ignoring that rule and trying to fight through lower back pain. When I was having trouble getting up from sitting and not being able to sleep because of the pain, it was time for me to pause and figure things out.

My wife scheduled an appointment at a chiropractor and after reviewing a head to toe X-ray, it was pretty clear I needed to fix some alignment issues I have if I wanted to get back to running.

“No running for awhile until we get through some work” was what the doctor ordered. It is frustrating because I keep thinking about what I want to do instead of focusing on what I need to do. That’s the battle of a teacher too – Having to focus on what you need to do instead of what you want to do. And it can be frustrating especially if things aren’t moving along at the speed you want it too.

I remember trying to get my 4th graders to be flexible with numbers in order to solve problems and being frustrated at the lack of progress I was making with them. The reason for the lack of progress was that there were many gaps in their understanding of how numbers work. I had to shift my focus from what I wanted them to do to what they needed. It took a long time working together with my students, but we were adjusting something seemingly small that needed to be adjusted before we could get to bigger tasks.

Life has given me another reminder that it’s ok to take a step back and focus on something smaller in the short term in order to eventually get to where you want to be.

Have a great week! Here’s the Staff Update.


Compassion keeps us moving forward.

“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

To be given an opportunity to make a difference is a wonderful gift. On King Day, we are reminded that the willingness to do what’s right even when it’s difficult will always always worthwhile.

We are reminded that even the simplest of acts of kindness, bravery, and compassion for a fellow human being truly do make the world a better place and to get us closer to the Dream.

Every day is a gift to do something that makes a difference in the life of another person. We get to teach the next generation to be thinkers, dreamers, creators, and problem-solvers. If that doesn’t motivate you to keep moving forward despite the challenges we may face, I don’t know what will.

I love the passionate plea to do more for impoverished people in our country from a 5th grader who spoke at a King celebration yesterday shown in the clip below. I am inspired by her compassion for others and her desire to keep moving forward on solving the problem of poverty.

Have a GREAT week! Here is the staff update for this short week!


This might not work

My go-to book for a good kick in the pants motivation is Seth Godin’s What To Do When It’s Your Turn (And It’s Always Your Turn) (2014).

Almost every page is a reminder that the opportunity to change or to do something different to make our vision happen is right now.

Godin reminds us in every vignette that we don’t need to wait to be picked. We don’t have to wait until it’s our turn. We make change happen through our own actions whenever we are ready.

In an entry from the book is called “The fear of stupidity”, Godin suggests that our fear of feeling stupid keeps us from wanting to change.

“Change, of course, makes everyone feel stupid because change breaks all the old rules, inventing new ones, rules we don’t know (yet).”

To illustrate, Godin created this: Change —> Stupid —> Afraid.

He suggests we skip the last part and to not be afraid of not knowing. Embrace that moment when you feel stupid because that’s the moment when learning takes place.

One of the most consistent behaviors I have seen as a principal is the desire to just be told what to do or to have something that tells you what to do. However, there aren’t many things that we have accomplished where we were told what to do first. I am amazed at how we often undersell our own abilities. Almost always the success came from working together to forge a new way forward.

Mistakes will be made and feeling stupid will be inevitable, but that shouldn’t stop us from moving forward. It also shouldn’t stop you from acting on the idea you have either.

There is no “turn” to wait for. Start working to make it happen.

Have a great week! Here’s the Staff Update.