Who is writing your story?

My wife is in the restaurant business and she will sometimes talk to me about how she coaches her managers through tough times.  During one such conversation she explained to someone they were in the best place to write their success story.  I always felt like that was a great analogy for the hard work that we do each day, instead of simply getting through the items on our list we are actually creating our own story that others will read.  Similarly, I was reading an article that came across my twitter feed cautioning the reader to tell your own story, or someone else will.  Since I do my best listen to the wisdom of my wife and my twitter feed I’m left with the idea that we need to take deliberate steps to create our own success story, and make sure others know about it.

What does this all mean for our young leaders at Condit Elementary?  Lots!  When we talk about putting first things first, being proactive, and beginning with the end in mind we aren’t just espousing the ideals of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, we are giving our young people the tools to succeed.  When students employ the building blocks of leadership they consistently put themselves in position to make the right decisions, thus creating their own success story.  I was always taught that actions speak louder than words, so please encourage your child to do the following in order to ensure their story at school is a success:

  • Do the right thing even when the teacher isn’t looking.  The first 3 habits are all about personal wins, successes that happen privately.  When our kiddos no longer worry about getting caught and instead worry about their personal wins they will be writing their success story without even knowing it.  Places like the lunchroom, the hallways, and the playground matter.  Doing the right thing in these places is as important as making the right decisions in the classroom.
  • Be resilient.  I spoke to our kinders about this a few weeks ago during kinder launch.  Too often our students let a situation snowball when they make a poor choice.  In almost every situation our learners would be better served accepting the result of a bad decision and focusing their efforts on getting back on track.  Resiliency is a skill that even adults struggle with, our best days come when we bounce back.
  • Look for ways to do the maximum.  Too often children ask about the minimum, wouldn’t it be great f instead of teachers being asked how long does an assignment have to be they were asked how long am I allowed to make it?

Maybe the point to all this is that when you stop worrying about your success story and instead focus on private victories, your story will write itself.  My promise to you: as our learners write their success stories, we will continue to use Livingtree, Facebook, twitter, and print media to tell Condit’s story to others

Have a wonderful holiday season, enjoy your time with your family and loved ones, and continue to be #conditproud.

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Condit’s Groundbreaking Ceremony

Below are my remarks from the groundbreaking ceremony this past weekend.

I had been thinking about how to best describe my feelings this morning and I keep coming back to two words – challenge and opportunity.

I asked my son what he thought the difference was between the two words and he told me that opportunities are given to you and challenges you have to take.  Not bad for an 11 year old, right?  I would, in fact, argue the exact converse – often times challenges are what you are given; what we find ways to overcome and opportunities are what we need to grab hold of when they come along.

Perhaps it’s all very ‘chicken and the egg’ – opportunities will always come with certain challenges, and by tackling these challenges we create further opportunities.

Our opportunity has been to work as a team to design a state of the art building; our challenge will be maximizing the potential of those spaces with our learners.

We have also had the opportunity to create flexible learning spaces to allow for new teaching and learning paradigms; our challenge has been designing a new type of “21st century school” that doesn’t currently exist in HISD.

To invoke our Leader in Me ideals – this opportunity required us to put first things first as well as begin with the end in mind, our challenge will be to synergize in our new building and maximize it’s potential.

Either way, I’m incredibly excited to break ground this morning and even more excited to begin our building in earnest next month.

While we will miss the character of our old building, our biggest win is that we get to bring our teachers, students, families, and community with us.  And with those assets, we’re sure to turn all of our challenges into unique opportunities.