Today Matters » Everybody can be great

Everybody can be great

December 15, 2017
“Everybody can be great… because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”
– Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.
I am constantly looking for ways to learn and grow. I share this zest for discovery — both personal and professional — with District 142’s Administrative Team. I think continuing to expand our knowledge, exploring new ways of doing things, and ensuring we are staying on the cutting edge of educational research and best practices, makes us better administrators. But this kind of development makes us better leaders too.
To this end, I and the Administrative Team are reading, The World’s Most Powerful Leadership Principle: How to Become a Servant Leader, by James Hunter. We’re reading and discussing the book as a group because, just like in our classrooms, we know the importance and power that comes from working collaboratively. The lessons we’re learning include being the kind of person who will help others first and considering other’s needs above your own. Our leaders across the district are reading and reflecting on this premise of service…. with intentionality, spreading this message to their buildings and the people we serve.
As I thought about the holiday season, I realized this concept of servant leadership is very timely, if not timeless. This is a season where giving to and sharing with others is evident from store windows to family gatherings. This type of giving can cause stress amid all the tinsel and light. The holiday season is not always a happy occasion for everyone.
It’s easy to find sadness; for heaven’s sake it’s in the news, on television, and it’s certainly rampant online. And sometimes it’s at our own kitchen tables. But there’s another conversation that can be had. In spite of the worries of the local and global world, there’s a much more important, positive, inspiring message that can be shared. Especially inside a school system where we deal with impressionable children. I think it’s important for our students to know how much good is around them. And inside of them.
Servant leaders cannot take away sadness or make someone’s holiday perfect, but we can give the best of ourselves to others in all seasons. As Martin Luther King, Jr.’s quote above states, anyone can be a leader. Anyone can share kindness. We can take the time to give true, purposeful praise. We can help a classmate or colleague with a challenging problem. We can be a good listener. We can be a good friend. We can give something as simple as a smile and “hello” and change a person’s day, even if it is just for that moment.
Sure, these interactions may not make the headlines, but they make an impression. They make a silent change. They serve a quiet purpose; the greatest acts of giving being the ones that are not talked about. Over time, these small impressions go a long way in determining the kind of people our childen become. The kind of people we want them to be is determined by the interactions with the people around them, their parents, their friends, their family, and all the teachers and people they interact with in our schools. On our side of things, we will be meeting them with positivity and support, care and concern, and the hearts of leaders who are here to serve them.
During the winter holiday, may you and your family find ways to be a bright light in someone else’s life.
Enjoy the break and we will see you back here in District 142 in 2018!