I was challenged for sharing my point of view in writing today. When people are challenged and demeaned for sharing their point of few, it frightens others with regard to sharing their thoughts. This kind of action creates untrusting and untruthful communities of teaching and practice.
It's frightening to share your point of view in communities that do not value your thoughts. You suffer when you share your thoughts in atmospheres where you are reprimanded for speaking up. I had to make a tough choice. I consulted my soul in this regard. I spoke up. I'd rather go to my grave knowing I spoke up to support students than to go to my grave having not spoken up for fear of reprimand.
I know it's right to advocate for students and good teaching. I also know that no one is always right, but when we have the freedom to speak up and say what we believe, we start an important conversation related to how to teach children well, and teaching children well is important to those children, their families, the community, and our world.
Many will not write their thoughts down. Many rarely to never pen a letter, email, or note for fear of critique or legal action--they don't want to be known for their written word. I worry about this reluctance. While I believe there is a good balance with writing and not writing, I wonder about bravery, courage, standing up for what you believe, advocacy, and leadership with regard to making the choice to write or not write. I believe that good leaders do take the time to write what they think, know, and wonder about. I believe that good leaders are willing to risk with words on a page in order to bring a group together, inspire, provoke questioning, and move a team forward.
There's never one way to do it right, and I'm sure I err from time to time unintentionally with what I write, the frequency, and perspective. Yet, if I didn't write, who would know what I thought, stood for, wondered about, or believed in. And if we don't share our point of view, how will people understand who we are and what we do. Is it easier to trust someone who shares their point of view regularly or is easier to trust someone that rarely to never shares their point of view, beliefs, and actions? Again, probably not one or the other, but something to consider.
And it's true that our actions matter as much or more than our words. We have to work to make sure our actions keep pace with our words as much as possible. I do admit that my words and intentions sometimes outpace my actions--I can often see and write so much more than I am able to do. In a sense my words lead my actions.
When challenged, the colleague suggested that I speak about my thoughts rather than write, but I mentioned that speaking takes a lot of time while writing is there for the taking at your own discretion and speed. When you write down complex ideas you give the readers time to ponder, agree, and/or disagree. Whereas, generally when speaking, there is little time and often big groups of people. Plus I simply have an easier time getting down in writing first, and then if others are interested, I'm better equipped to continue the conversation aloud.
I'm sure I'm not the most eloquent and that my posts might be misunderstood from time to time, but my intent is to say what I believe, to tell my story and thoughts. You don't have to agree. I'm interested in your point of view too. It takes the voice of many to make good decisions for all.