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Make the ordinary come alive

I went to two wonderful sessions on Friday. The first was “Courageous Leadership: A Systems Approach to Equity.” The second was “How to (Finally) Crack the Code on Teacher Morale.” Both sessions provided both big picture and very practical ideas on how to move the needle in my district.

After the sessions, a poem by William Martin kept coming back to me. The poem, “Do not ask your children to strive,” talks about the importance of the ordinary. The poem starts by saying:

Do not ask your children

to strive for extraordinary lives

The poem then goes on to share how the ordinary can be and should be so very powerful. The poem concludes by saying:

And make the ordinary come alive for them.

The extraordinary will take care of itself.

As I reflected on what I heard in my sessions from passionate and engaged leaders who are truly making a difference, is what makes a difference are things that we often take for granted. Things like listening. Things like honoring each person. Things like hearing our students. Things like showing up. Things like making sure the copier works.

Dr. Susan Enfield talked about the Highline Promise in the Highline Public Schools that promises every student will be known by name, strength, and need. That, in and of itself, is not extraordinary. But in doing that ordinary thing – learning names, needs, and strengths – extraordinary things can happen.

And hearing these things made me believe that I can make a difference in my community. I do not have to be a superstar, live an extraordinary life as a Superintendent. If I can make the ordinary come alive – listen, honor, hear – the extraordinary will take care of itself.

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