Saturday, December 7, 2013

The Big Picture

Last week my oldest son Drew asked me a question.  Drew came up to me and said, "Why are so many people in the World bad?"  

I paused and I knew that I could not just feed Drew a line.  I thought about it and I told Drew that people tend to be selfish, which turns to greed or power hungry.  I then decided to use it as a teachable moment and talk with him about random acts of kindness, but more importantly an attitude of serving.  

Drew listened and he seemed satisfied by my response.  Over time I will see what effect our conversation has on him.

This conversation was ringing in my ears as I sat down to listen to Colonel Athens at #MEMSPA2013 on Friday.  Colonel Athens is a retired Navy officer.  I assumed he was going to talk about leadership, but he took it to a different level.  Colonel Athens began by telling us that he asks three questions to any one he interviews.  I perked up and listened intently, the first was: 

Do you know your job or are you striving to learn it?  I thought this was an ideal question.  I thought, how would I answer this? 

If you have a growth mindset and you are a life long learner you know exactly how you'd answer.  As an interviewing tool this tells you a lot.  I also thought it was a good question for an experienced individual as well.  It promotes thought and gives insight into the person's frame of mind.  The next two questions brought me to the big picture.  

Colonel Athens asked, "Will you make the hard decision even if it costs you personally?"  He also asked, "Do you care about us as much as you do yourself?"

These questions speak to a serving attitude.  The true BIG PICTURE!  Whether you are an educator, in the military or even working in business the way you answer will tell about your mindset and personality.  Colonel Athens spoke of serving, putting the mission and vision above everything else.  I thought to myself, what would my staff say?  What would our community say?  I know what I would hope they would say, but I believe some would think I'm out for personal growth.  The truth is, I know some people think, "I'm that guy".  Some may even think I blog or tweet just to bloviate.  Experience tells most people that you will never please everyone, I don't believe we should try.  I listened to Colonel Athens and his message focused on servitude.

The characteristics that reflect a serving attitude~

-Humility: Humility is a show of great strength. Thinking a lot less about yourself. Not thinking less of yourself. -Col. Athens

-Humbleness: To share your weakness is to make yourself vulnerable; to make yourself vulnerable is to show your strength. -Jami

-Compassionate: Love and Compassion are necessities, not luxuries.  Without them, humanity cannot survive. - Dalai Lama

-Courage: Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; Courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen. -Winston Churchill

-Competence: We can teach a lot of things, but if the teacher can't relate by talking to a group of students, he'll never be a competent teacher. -Glasser

Truth be told I needed this talk, I personally believe I have a serving attitude with most, but I can be better.  There is nothing more important than relationships.  The little things make the biggest impact. 

Colonel Athens had an inspiring message, I wish more could have heard it.  What I took away was this, it isn't about one person, it's about the mission & vision.  If we are looking for personal gains, clock watching throughout the day, viewing what we do as a job or living with a mindset of what I've always done is good enough, then we aren't striving to serve The Big Picture.

We are all in this together, we are all on the same team.  Our ability to improve ourselves and help others will make the biggest differences.

This week's big question:  Do you know your job or are you striving to learn it?


Monday, December 9th:  Santa's Secret Shop
Tuesday, December 10th:  Santa's Secret Shop
Tuesday, December 10th:  PTO meeting 7pm
Tuesday, December 10th:  Panther Pride Lunch
Wednesday, December 11th: Santa's Secret Shop
Wednesday, December 11th: Grade 3-5 Assembly
Wednesday, December 11th: Western Holiday Tea
Wednesday, December 11th:  String Team Holiday Performance at the JSO 6pm-7pm
Thursday, December 12th:  Warner Outreach 4pm - 6:30pm
Thursday, December 12th:  PD Planning 4:15
Friday, December 13th: Lockdown Drill in the PM

*  If you would like to help set-up our Warner Outreach for Wednesday please touch base with Shirley or Susan Walz.  These two will be in the cafeteria starting at 2pm on Thursday getting things ready.

*  CP Federal Credit Union will be moved to the front Lobby for this week.

Articles Worth Reading:

The Holiday's with ADHD children @behaviordoctor

Mandating the Daily Posting of Objectives, and other dumb ideas @grantwiggins

Why Teacher Retention Should Be a Top Priority and How To Achieve It shared by +Mr. Abud @MR_ABUD

5 Can't Miss Twitter Chats @thomascmurray

20 Ways Teachers Can Use Edmodo +Nicholas Provenzano @thenerdyteacher

Blogging in Kindergarten? shared by @runfardvs

You Do Not Have My Full Attention shared by +Krista Moroder  @edtechcoaching

Do You Really Get Connection? @ideaguy42

Why discipline is different than punishment @Angela_Watson

How To Bounce Back From A Bad Day +Amber Teamann @8Amber8

12 Smart iPad Apps for Collaborative Learning +TeachThought @TeachThought

12 Lies People Love To Tell You +Marc Chernoff @marcandangel

My Favorite Torture Device @ShutUpRun

Videos Worth Watching:

The Future of Learning (8 min) shared by @smaj40

MUST SEE! When We Believe in Kids... (2 min) shared by @susankhaney

What Most Schools Don't Teach (5 min) Excellent Video! shared by @Rogers_Suzanne

Kid President Holiday Gift Guide (3 min) shared by +Julie Oliver @julieoliver333

Is Minecraft the Ultimate Educational Tool? (6 min) shared by +Scott McLeod @mcleod


  1. Thanks Joleen! I always try to have something for everyone. Glad you enjoyed it.