Grateful in the Moment

Anything that happens to me today is in my best interest and it is an opportunity for me to learn and grow.
–Joshua Medcalf

I have faith that our experiences prepare us for the future; experiences provide the biggest opportunity to connect and grow; experiences allow us to reframe our perspective; experiences are the key to a successful life.  Late in life, no one looks back and says I wish I would have owned more possessions. People look back and yearn for stories that went untold because they did not seize opportunities to live through the experience. Experiences are where true learning takes place.

Mark Batterson, in his book In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day, states: “There is a difference between a transcript and resume.  A transcript reveals what you know. It is who you are on paper. A resume reveals what you have done.  Some of us act as if our transcript is all that matters. But knowledge is not the end goal. What really matters is what we do with what we know.”  Not only are experiences valuable to adults, but they are also extremely valuable to students in the learning process. Students can learn information, regurgitate it on a test, and fail to retain a single bit of what they “learned.”  I am sure we can all relate to this experience as we look back to our own school days. What do you remember from elementary school? The books you read in 2nd grade? Indiana trivia facts from 4th grade? Maybe to some extent; but what we really remember are the experiences.  I remember Mrs. Denney, my kindergarten and 2nd-grade teacher, whose caring spirit was second to none. I remember science in 6th grade with Mr. Guenin, because his enthusiasm, made learning exciting. I remember my high school art classes with Mrs. Smith, who found a way to bring out the artistic talents in all of her students.  All these teachers pushed me to be my best. I remember the teachers who connected the content to my life or helped me learn through experience, not a textbook. Many teachers helped me build my transcript, but the memorable ones help me develop my resume through the experiences they provided me.

I believe teachers have the ability to change the world by educating their students.  Our goal as educators must be to build a school culture that will provide opportunities to create this spark in students.  Fostering a true passion for learning needs to come from the authentic experiences we provide and making connections to those we lead, be that students or adults. This concept is always a work in progress in education, but it is work that I think is worthy of investing ourselves in fully.  It is the work to which I am willing to dedicate my life. This is why I love coming to school…I love learning and growing each day through the experience.

As I finish writing about leading with L.E.S.S., I hope you have taken at least one thing away from the ideas I have shared. Most importantly, I hope you have put something into action that creates a great experience for those we serve. Our job as educators is too important to stay stagnant and not continue to learn and grow.

Be grateful for it all — the triumphs, the headaches, the disappointments, and the wins. Whatever is happening right now, be grateful for it. Personally, it is my belief that if the Lord is looking over me when things are going my way, He must be doing the same when times are tough. I believe there is a purpose for everything and I have come to realize that I will not always understand the “why” behind things (nor am I supposed to – that is the definition of faith).  I also believe that struggle is unavoidable but long term suffering is our choice. The same strength, compassion, love, and patience we can show in joyous and difficult times makes all the difference, to ourselves, and those around us. Choose to believe that anything that happens to you today is in your best interest and an opportunity to learn and grow.

Love people first; Equip people for success; stand alongside people in Service; most importantly take care of Self.

Do L.E.S.S., lead more!

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