Dr. Maricela Helm is a principal peer of mine here in Wylie ISD. Each week we send each other our staff newsletters. It’s not for accountability purposes, or to show off, but because we each value the jump start we give each other. (We also try to meet once a month for lunch as a “mastermind” where we try to solve all the problems of the world.) I am super appreciative of her, her time, and her sharing!
I asked if I could share this months lesson blurb she sent to her staff because I thought it was so powerful.
It’s who we are.
Did you know the picture in the staff bathroom is of Prairie Chapel Ranch, the retreat home of President Bush and First Lady Laura Bush? I mean why put just any ol’ farmhouse picture in there?
Did you know the paper butterflies that adorn the front stairwell have the names of all 550 of our inaugural Eagles printed on their wings? Because when possible, we will work to make every action we take and decision we make just a little more special.
I do feel we are a special district and I know we are a special school. I have to be honest, In challenging situations I have thought to myself before – how might a typical or average school respond, now, how will we respond ?
In most cases we unite, we rise above, but sometimes in the most challenging situations even the best can slip. My friend Shari Halpin shared this as ‘admiring the problem’.
So, when we admire a problem, we give the problem itself time and attention: talking about it, sharing it, giving our time to looking at it like it as something we can only view from afar.
But cultivating a solution requires entering into the relationships and saying -“I have two choices: I can sit around talking about this problem, gossiping and complaining to others, making things even more difficult or I can engage in the relationships around me to create solutions.”
So the next time you hear the beginnings of a pot stirring… how did this get to be such a big problem?” or “Why do we always come back to this problem?” – – shake it up. Stop admiring the problem
Talking about problems like this in a team can be a way to bond — it’s you together identifying a common enemy. If you’re a team leader, it can be tempting when your teams have discussions like this, because uniting against a common problem is a quick way for a group of people to rally together.
However, a group of people discussing a problem does not make it any better. In fact, if nothing happens as a result of that discussion, all you’ve done is waste time. You’ve admired the problem.
That takes energy, courage commitment and follow through.
“So, what are we going to do about it?”
Is this problem something that you’re going to work to resolve, or are you going on to focus on the things that you can improve?
Instead of spending time bonding around a problem that you’re not going to solve, it’s more productive to unite around a common purpose.
Uniting around a common purpose… THAT’S who we are. We lift each other up. We help each other. That’s why I love our school family.
October can be a tough month… will it be for us? How will we respond?
As we head into what traditionally can be a challenging month, I hope that you are able to take some deep breaths and remember that we’re all in this together!