Last weekend was Labor Day weekend. For many of us this was a weekend filled with high school and college sports, car washes and 5k’s. The lazy days of summer are long past and we are already into a new and bustling school year. Both Thomas Worthington, and Worthington Kilbourne, kicked off their high school football seasons on Friday night. (Cards won, Wolves lost a heart-breaker!) Cross-country teams ran, soccer teams competed, etc., etc… It was a full-fledged busy suburban weekend.
My family checked out of real life for the weekend and we went to family camp in Indiana. We stayed in a cabin, played on the lake, and generally just spent time together as a family. We watched zero minutes of TV, I didn’t bring my IPad, and I caught only a few minutes of the Buckeye game on my IPhone. It was good to step back for a few days.
As I reflect on my weekend, and on my normal daily routine, I can’t help but be reminded of Stephen Covey’s words. “Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent and not enough time on what is important.” I am the “most of us.” I’m good at administering. Making decisions, understanding complex problems, and working to create solutions. I like that stuff. I really like work. I can create a list and check stuff off of the list like nobody else. My alarm goes off at 4:50 A.M. each morning and I enjoy the opportunity I have to make a living in a large, complex, suburban school district. However, sometimes I don’t focus on what is most important.
The issues are the same at home and at work. I think it’s important that I create a detailed list and I get stuff done. But…there has to be a balance. The balance is between the work and the relationships. It’s the same for our school principals and for our teachers. In a year where we are working to implement new standards, new evaluation systems, new school and district state report cards, new, etc., etc.. We can become too focused on the task at hand and not focus enough on what’s important.
This year we are talking with all of our staff about connecting with kids and connecting with one another. It’s unlikely that someday my own kids will say, “dad was really good at cutting the grass every three days, and those crisscrossing lines were totally awesome!” (I am good at that, and the lines are really cool. But, because I was at family camp for the weekend my lawn is overgrown and I think I’m developing a nervous twitch because of it.) I also believe that when students grow-up and talk about their teachers they won’t remember the Digits math curriculum they used in 7th grade or the new lap-tops in their 5th grade classroom. They’ll remember the teacher or school principal who was genuinely interested in their life and the teacher who spent extra time helping them to learn and grow.
I’m working to balance the urgent and the important. As a school district we’re working to do the same. We believe the important is that every child knows they have an adult advocate that they can trust and that cares about them. Likewise we believe it is important that every child makes significant progress in their learning and grows more than one year.
There will always be urgent work that needs done. This year along with completing the urgent, we hope to connect with our students and community like never before. We believe it’s the important work for 2013-2014. #connect