Turn that song up, roll the windows down, take that walk with that person you love. Live your life fully in little moments. It's all we have - these little moments.
And all the time, it's about the people. It's not about the rules. It's not about winning or being right. It's about removing small barriers to give people greater access to a positive experience and a positive learning experience.
We cannot do it alone. We cannot solve the big challenges in our schools by ourselves. Not individually. Not even solely as an individual school. Meaningful change will require us to partner district office and members of our community and other schools near and far. Meaningful change will require us to get uncomfortable and take risks.
I'm done hustling for my worth. I spent my twenties doing that, and it's exhausting trying to make everyone happy. It's exhausting trying to "prove" myself to other people. Everyone has an opinion. Even when we involve others in decisions, at the end of the day, decisions have to be made. We have to do what we believe is right even when other people disagree. We can't make everyone happy. We are not pizza.
In my first year in that role, I asked for some feedback. One of the high school principals said in so many words (and kindly), "It feels like we come to these meetings and talk but never take action." Cringe. I'm a doer! They expected, as they should have, that if they were going to be out of their buildings, the time would be meaningfully spent making decisions and getting things done. I'm glad I took that summer to learn as much as I could about meetings that get things done AND grow us.
The most important work is the work we do on ourselves. As human beings. Everything else is secondary. At the end of the day, our self-work is really the only thing we can "control." How we respond to the world around us in the now has the potential to shape the future in a good way. Feeling big feelings doesn't mean we are failing, it means we are awake. It means we are noticing our own pain and the pain around us. It also means that we have the capacity to feel the good emotions in a big way too. And some days, we will just need to push through. That happens. That's ok. Sometimes. Just not all the time.
Let's listen. Let's build alongside educators and students. We cannot expect people to feel ownership and engagement in something that they were not a part of building. Imagine what we can do if we build together.