We Can Do Hard Things

The holidays are looking different for many of us this year. Yesterday, my friend, Angela Faulhaber, explained that she joined a local Facebook group dedicated to sharing the addresses of houses with cool Christmas lights. So, she loaded her family in the car and her kiddos with snacks. They took a tour of local neighborhoods and enjoyed the lights. She said it lifted her spirits so much that she may do it again.

I’ve been taking this unique opportunity to slow down and lean into life’s simple pleasures. For example, I’ve always enjoyed gift-giving. I enjoy the process of looking for and choosing something meaningful. This year, I’ve taken special care in not only choosing the gifts but also wrapping and adorning them with festive bows and holiday accessories.

While I’m a bit sad that there won’t be large holiday gatherings this year, I’m taking great joy in surprising people with a little something on their door step. I pour myself a hot cup of coffee or cocoa, crank up the holiday tunes, and enjoy a leisurely drive to their houses where I tiptoe to the front door and leave the goods.

As I write this, I’m realizing I may actually enjoy this a bit more than large holiday gatherings…

This entire experience of 2020 has left me with many thoughts and emotions. It has caused me to step back and ask myself what I draw energy from and what was never my favorite. It’s so easy to get on autopilot and to do things for the sake of tradition. Because “we’ve always done it this way.”

This year, we’ve learned that “we’ve always done it this way” is literally dangerous. I don’t want to lose sight of what this life lesson can teach us about our schools and organizations. We’ve always done it this way has always been dangerous. We’ve always done it this way has never served ALL kids.

This year of massive disruption has forced us to examine our practices and make big, bold changes almost overnight. I don’t want to lose this sense of urgency for change. This year has exposed much of what we’ve always known about the need for change in our schools.

We are at a crossroads. We can survive this year, and go back to school as it always was, or we can start planning now for what’s possible in the future. We’ve already proven we can do hard things. Imagine what we can accomplish with future-oriented intentionality.

Change that never felt like an option before seems possible now. In future years, we don’t have to celebrate holidays in the same way if we don’t want to. We can keep traditions if they serve us well. We can tweak traditions if they need tweaking. We can change traditions all together if that’s best…good luck managing relatives who hold tight to those traditions…but we really are in charge of our own lives and wellbeing.

We have these same choices in our schools. Go back to the way it was. Make tweaks. Change it all together.

We truly can choose. With great choice comes great responsibility, but we can choose. And we can choose wisely.

We can bring others along to help us build change.

We can weather the storm when others don’t agree.

We can change. If we decide to change.

Kids are counting on us.

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