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Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Making Change: Positive Debate and Discourse

"A great man is always willing to be little." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Several years ago an idea I believed in strongly was dismissed. I decided to speak up. When I spoke up, I was accused of a number of ill thoughts and lack of perspective. I became dismayed. Feeling somewhat trapped in the situation, I took a back seat and didn't persist.

Years later a similar issue has arrived and I'm on the opposite side of the table. Someone has an idea that they feel I dismissed.

I know how I felt that day at the table when my ideas and perspectives were demeaned. I felt powerless, frustrated, and dismissed. I didn't know where to turn.

Today when I meet with an individual who has felt unheard with regard to ideas and perspective, I'll be different than the individual that I met with many years ago. Instead of demeaning comments, I'll listen to understand this educator's perspective. Instead of dismissal, I'll see how we can work together to solve this issue, an issue that matters to children. I'll lead us with positive language, respect, and the knowledge that no one has all the answers, but together we can create a significant effect. I know that one thing we have in common is a desire to do well by the children we serve.

Yes, what goes around, comes around, and what matters most about this is that the next time it "comes around," you deal with it in a better, more positive way. In this regard, I like the quote by Ernest Hemingway, "There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self."