“School shooting in Texas” is four words to stop you, frozen at the moment, and your heartstrings are pulled. The number of injuries, loss of life, the individual or individuals involved in the shooting makes no difference. It is the four words no mother, father, grandparent, or educator wants to hear ever.
Then the media storm begins. The violence at Uvalde, Texas, with the school shootings at Robb Elementary, left all of us with more questions and seeking answers. Comments, pointing fingers to blame, a retelling of stories, the first stories were incorrect; these are the correct facts, more finger-pointing and it continues with comparing to other shootings. Then here comes the solutions, the same as the previous shootings. We need gun control, armed guards in the schools, mental health, and the list continues. Please stop and pause for one moment.
All I can hear and see are children laughing in the playground. They are swinging on the swings. The girls have their hair blowing in the wind from the swings, and the boys are busy hitting balls out into the field. I see children being children. School is ending for the summer break, and children are preparing to enjoy all of the summer fun. My heart strings are pulled as I know those who have fallen to this senseless act of violence took the innocence of this sacred time and lives away. It stole the childhood innocence of many who experienced the noise of the gunshots, screams, cries, and the trauma no one can claim to understand.
Stop all of these political agendas on both sides to find the real solutions to the issues at hand. So let me just go through the list of the things I believe we can review, reinforce and respond to appropriately.
I brushed the surface of the solutions for the violence we are seeing transpire across our country and especially targeting our schools. I want to focus on families and communities as well. This is an issue with not one solution to solve the problem. It is not to have stricter gun controls or address mental health. We have a deep system of layers to address this issue more profound than the surface solutions we often try to address quickly, so we can say we did something, move on and place it on our list of accomplishments for the following political add. No thanks. I want to drive the deep solutions to systemically solve issues to save lives, create positive environments, help families and improve communities. I can’t, you can’t, but we can together work to establish better systems, accountability of the laws, offer services, and commit to improvements overall.
Our heartstrings are pulled, and we react. Then the conversations begin to fade as fast as the seasons change. The swings at the playground echo the laughter of children who want to be kids. Can we all work together to solve these issues, so the heartstrings pulled are the ones that bring big smiles.
Change is always happening! The pandemic ushered in several shifts in our lives and education! It is when we can accept things we cannot change we can continue to move forward. There are things we can change and with these we follow our core values.
Identify the ‘what”, the “how” will follow. We cannot make the “how” an excuse not to face and accept the “what.” “When” we accept the “what” and “how” as our own, the realization of “who” needs to do the work required to make change is found.
Acceptance brings peace and reminders of our “why,” “what” we do, “how” we react, and “when” we accept, positive change can happen.
As a leader, especially during this time, the importance of “what we do,” “how we do it,” and “why we do it” are critical questions to ask. We have asked them before, but how does it help us to answer the biggest question of all? What matters most?
“Mother Norman, I am so sorry for the loss of your husband.”
“Oh daughter, I know, let me introduce you to my son.”
Going to the visitation of one of my co-workers from my early years was just like going to a family reunion to see relatives you haven't seen in a while, even though you may not live that far from each other. “Mother Norman, ” as I have called her for years, was the teacher who I looked up to as I learned to be a teacher. She was one of many who helped prepare me for my journey through education. Her brother would become our Superintendent. He hired me for my first teaching position and then in my first administrator position. So many great learning opportunities and training. Thank you Mr. Tate.
I left the comforts of my hometown to travel a short distance to a larger school district up the road. My first year as principal was terrific. The staff, students, families and everything felt just right for me.
“Mr. Denman wants to see you in his office.”
I can remember hearing those words coming from the phone and the echoes of the voices telling me all day of the sudden leaving of the middle school principal. My heart sunk to my stomach. I could not let anyone see my feelings.
As I arrived to the office, it was true; I needed to move to be the principal of the middle school. I left the building headed back to my school processing all that needed to be done, when a call came asking me if I could return to talk to the Superintendent.
I entered Mrs. Mellen's office, and she said, “ I am so sorry; I know I told you I would not move you, but I had no idea something like this would happen.”
I understand. Leaders have to make decisions based on what they believe is best. As part of this team and organization, I have to choose to be part of the problem or part of the solution. A great deal of work has to be done. One thing I ask is to have permission to talk with my current staff first before they hear it from the news.
“I don't think you can get that accomplished before the board meeting tonight.”
I can and I will, if I have permission. “I will check with board president and a few others to get this approved.”
Thank you! Trust, my word and helping to guide them through this transition is essential to me. It will provide a better transition for all of us.
Telling news you do not want to give
English Words That Changed Meanings over Time By BERNADINE RACOMA 15 JUNE 2018 https://www.daytranslations.com/blog/english-words-changed-meanings/ A great look at a few words and how they have changed.
The English language is rich. The history of the language is fascinating to learn and understand. Historians and philosophers are protective in shielding changes to the words and meanings. How many new words are added to our language? How many are changed in their meaning? Do you think about who monitors our language? Who decides when a word becomes a “real” word? Who is in charge of creating the dictionaries we use?
Lots of questions! Listen to this TedTalk below from 2014, but still relevant to the topic. Do you have words you use today you did not use 10 or 20 years ago? Have you heard a new word? In the title, you probably thought I made a typo with my name Yoho. I typed Yolo instead. It was with a purpose, no typo. What does Yolo mean? Check the dictionary to verify, but I believe you will find the first meaning: you only live once. Great! You have learned a new word today! Yolo is a significant focus when you wake up each day to remember! I would not mind if you remembered Yoho too! It is a great name you can connect to being the solution daily!
“Life is not always what one wants it to be. A turn right instead of the left can make a difference on the path you choose. It is when you decide to make the best of it, as it is, even when the choices are not what you want to hear. Instead, you take each day as a gift to unwrap and to make it happy as you share with others.”
The pictures tell a story in your mind right away. You have a vision without any words of red lights, blue lights, sirens sounding, voices yelling orders, people gathering, and silence in the ears of a man who comes to the site looking for his family he just left ten minutes ago.
Have you had to accept a decision, a change or an individual as a leader? The scene from our car crash can be the same kind of sounds and feelings inside you when faced with trying to accept change. Emotions drive our reactions.
It is emotional when you have to face acceptance of decisions you have no control over. It is our choice to have the mindset of learning acceptance. Change happens often! Things can happen that will transform who you are and have an impact on your life. The problem is that we need to cultivate the ability to accept whatever comes and embrace it truly. If we can begin now, it will help us as we continue to grow. Change can often impact our lives in ways to help us as we affect the lives of others.
My accident closed one door I did not want to close but opened others I enjoy as I explore. What change are you resistant to? If it is a change that questions your values, patriotism, beliefs, or morals, then this is not a change you need to accept. Acceptance is a big word to discuss as many changes are happening each day.
I have accepted my changes from the accident. Although, I will admit I have good days and days when I am angry that I am not the person I was. We are not perfect. I can think of many incidents in my life when I was asked to accept something I did not want to at all. Change comes with many lessons we can learn. What change do you face?