Much to my dismay, my mums are dying. I know why they are dying. They are dying because I didn’t water them enough. I didn’t water them enough because they were doing so well for so long with very little water, and I started to underestimate their need for water.
I’ve been thinking about what this looks like in our schools. What we water grows. This is true within ourselves and among those around us.
I think it’s time that we spent MORE time feeding good work and the good people doing the work. If we do not spend our time pouring into good people, honoring their good work and contributions, and giving them access to learning, I worry about how those good people and that good work will do over time.
We all need nurtured. We all have a basic human need to been seen, value, appreciated, and connected. Sadly, the problems in our schools and unhappy people can feel really loud. Those problems we face in schools can feel like they are sitting on top of us, weighing us down. Hyper critical people can feel like they represent the majority in our schools, and their complaints can feel like they are sucking the air right out of our lungs.
I’m not saying we ignore our problems. I’m not saying that grumpy people don’t have good intentions or important things to say.
What I am saying is that while all of this is going on – the problems and the complaining, there is good work happening in our schools and classrooms. There are people doing incredible things to deepen student relationships and learning.
And if we aren’t careful, we will miss it. We will miss the magic of great educators doing what they do. Much like my mums that I passed on my front stoop every day, it’s easy to see the beauty without providing nourishment. But without nourishment, flowers can’t survive and people can’t thrive.
I’m done giving overly negative people too much of my time and energy. In doing so, those are precious minutes that I could spend encouraging the hearts and minds of those contributing in positive ways.
There is a national shortage of educators. Now more than ever, we need to represent this profession in ways that are hope-giving. If we truly care about making our schools better places to learn, work, and grow, we must remember that every conversation, every post on social media, every moment is an opportunity to show people how amazing these jobs can be. These jobs are hard, yes, but they are deeply important. These jobs can be exhausting, yes, but they can also be really, really fun when we choose for them to be.
There’s a lot we can’t control. But like I mention in the draft of my book, there is also a good amount we do control. We can control where we spend our time and energy. We can’t ignore our problems, like weeds, they will grow and fester and take over our entire garden. But if we spend ALL of our time pulling weeds, we won’t give the love and care needed to nourish the blooms that make our schools such a beautiful place.
This week, let’s take time to look around and see all of the beautiful, little moves that staff members are making. How might we truly notice and acknowledge those moves? Moves that make other people smile. Moves that give students access to joy, laughter, hope, love, and learning.
Let’s water the good this week. Let’s not take good people and good work for granted.