Ever since last winter and my conversation with Greg Ross this phrase “Big Things Big…Small Things Small” has been rolling around in my head. It’s our theme for this school year in Worthington. In that context it’s about managing change and how that change always feels big at the time, but later when we look back it’s usually small. It’s not where we teach kids or what our attendance lines are that really matter. Those items change over the years and as we look back they’re small things. The big things as a school district are how we take care of our kids, how we build relationships with them, and how our students are able to grow and achieve because they know they have a trusted adult who cares about them and believes in them. Those are the big things!
But, Big Things Big….Small Things Small applies equally in our personal lives. The phrase is helping me focus my time on what matters most and to let some things roll. (I’m not naturally good at that.)
This summer we rented a beach house at Holden Beach, North Carolina. The house had an amazing porch that faced the ocean. On the morning of our first full day there I was drinking a cup of coffee on the porch gazing at the ocean when I had what I thought was a brilliant idea. My middle daughter loves to hammock and we had brought the Eno hammock to the beach with us. I decided I would string the hammock across the porch and my daughter could lay there and read a book while still looking out at the ocean. It’s seemed idyllic.
I strung the hammock from two main poles on the porch and decided to hop into it and check out the view. As soon as my bottom hit the hammock the porch exploded! I fell to the ground onto my backside and because the hammock was still attached to the poles the side pole came crashing down and hit me in the head.
So, I’m laying on the ground tangled up in this hammock, there is a wooden pole next to me that just bounced off my head and the porch railings are sprawled across my lap. My wife who witnessed the whole episode is on all fours laughing hysterically at her husband who has just confirmed what she has always suspected about his IQ.
Three thoughts went through my mind. In this order. First, inevitably I thought, “I’m a moron…” Second, I thought “this is going to be expensive…” But, literally the third thought that went through my head while still laying on the ground was, “Big Things Big…Small Things Small.” I’m O.K., I can afford to have the porch fixed, and there is no reason to ruin this vacation. Thus, that simple phrase that has been stuck in my head since last winter helped me to relax and not make a big deal out of something that in the past may have made me angry for the entire week.
I eventually got up. My wife eventually stopped laughing. I neatly stacked the porch pieces under the house and then I made the walk of shame to the rental office and promptly explained that we’d need some help because my kids broke the porch….
Big Things Big….Small Things Small. Both professionally in Worthington Schools and personally. Hope it helps you a little too!