Children become adults who carry how we made them feel in their hearts for the rest of their lives. That's powerful. To matter that deeply in the lives of others. To matter that deeply in someone's future. We can be daunted by that or we can see it has an opportunity to be the good.
We don't have to make ourselves small to make other people more comfortable. And we don't have to make our work small either. We can choose. We can choose how we show up for ourselves and for others and for our work.
However, sometimes in schools, we hide behind phone extensions and closed doors. Afraid of the unpredictable landscape of the school day, it's easy for us to also hide behind our rules and procedures. While procedures are a helpful way to keep the work orderly and as a safe as possible, when someone is in distress, talking about the procedures is one of the last things they need in that moment.
When you're motivated to do the right thing for kids for the right reasons, you can move big work and you can move it more quickly than you might think. It is almost always scary and difficult, but it's also worth it. It is a good kind of satisfying exhaustion. I live that for that kind of exhaustion.
It doesn't mean we don't stand up for ourselves and others. What it means is we decide which arguments are worth attending. And when we do engage in conflict, we show up with class. With integrity. We model for others what we want to see more of in the world.
Teachers, parents, adults...kids are listening. You matter. They are listening and taking in all of that good, really important stuff you have to say, and they are carrying it in their hearts.
That is a big part of leadership. Leadership is looking deeply at humans and our impact on them. Leadership is action. Leadership transcends titles, positions, age...
Some of the peace and quiet I've enjoyed up to this point in my life has come from staying small and playing it safe. When a big thought or creative idea comes my way, instead of asking myself, "Does this light me up on the inside?" My first thought is often, "What will other people think..."