January 2022: Hope

Feb 22, 2022
animals talking about 2022

Happy New Year!

I hope you are healthy and at least somewhat rested after the winter break. I know this January has not started as smoothly as expected. And yet my wish for you is that you can hold onto hope.

This online meme (original art on Reddit) has really spoken to me because it highlights the power of realistic hope.

I see all of you- working in education- as planters. Your efforts now will bear flowers and fruit in the years to come.

The ground below us at this moment appears muddy, snow-covered, barren, and it is unimaginable that it could produce an abundance of life. And yet, each spring, tender green shoots always miraculously burst through. 

Like the gardeners, educators must hold onto the belief that during this bleak and troublesome time your thoughtful, considered, caring, and responsive work sets your communities up for growth and prosperity in the months and years to come. The care with which you plant your seeds ensures that you will bear fruit.

Your communities are counting on you to stay optimistic. Not with a Pollyanna perspective, but with a gardener's belief in the seasons and the efficacy of planning and planting.

Brene Brown, in The Gifts of Imperfection, writes "Hope is not an emotion; it’s a way of thinking or a cognitive process. Emotions play a supporting role, but hope is really a thought process made up of what Snyder calls a trilogy of goals, pathways, and agency. In very simple terms, hope happens when we have the ability to set realistic goals (I know where I want to go), we are able to figure out how to achieve those goals, including the ability to stay flexible and develop alternative routes (I know how to get there, I’m persistent, and I can tolerate disappointment and try again), and we believe in ourselves (I can do this!).”

Now is the time to stay true to your organizational mission, beliefs, and goals and to support one another in ensuring they are lived through each decision you make. Specifically, the support school board members provide school leaders as they think through and respond to ongoing challenges is invaluable. 

I send each of you thoughts of strength, resilience, and optimism this January. And may you always be able to approach your work with hope. 

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