I am going to be honest in that I am not big on themes or resolutions. In fact, I secretly would crack wise about the neighboring schools that felt a theme or idea should guide their year. I believed that the work was the work and that we shouldn’t need pencils, or t-shirts, or shiny signs to get there. I suppose I also took on this philosophy in my personal life and thus refrained from resolutions every January. Sure, I might secretly mutter something to myself, however, I wouldn’t share it with others.
Truthfully, I don’t know much behind the idea of the #OneWord. I suppose that at it’s essence it is a decision to not subscribe to a specific act (eat better, be nice, say thank you, etc) and rather commit to the concept behind a word. And so I am going to give this a try for 2017. My #OneWord for 2017 is ENGAGE. And this word will thread through both my professional and personal lives.
I choose to continue to ENGAGE in my own learning. The past 12 months have been powerful for me as I pushed myself to remember what it’s like to be a learner. I started this blog, reconnected via Twitter, began to build a larger PLN, and am enjoying my Voxer group. It’s been a positive experience that I want to continue. It makes me better.
I choose to ENGAGE in those difficult conversations that so often come our way as leaders. In the past I may have prioritized the ones that were urgent or that challenged my curiosity. However I know that when I am being honest with myself, I sometimes pushed off those tough chats in hopes they either resolved themselves or became moot. The idea of something being “easier” can be quite alluring. For 2017 I intend to resist the easy route and push myself to be better.
I choose to ENGAGE with my student body in new and exciting ways. I know that I can’t personally connect with all 3500 students within one school year. Yet I can make efforts to add new means for how, when, and where our paths do intersect. Perhaps it will be via the use of video, social media, and/or a microphone. I’m not sure yet. It’s too easy to forget that it does matter just how present we are with young people and each other. Around this notion, I know I can do better.
Finally, I choose to ENGAGE with my family more. I could not be the type of high school principal that I am (and that I continue to aspire to be) without the support and understanding of my wife, my son, and my daughter. There are times they get less of me so that I can offer more to my students, faculty, staff, and community. My family rolls with it pretty well as that’s the gig we signed up for and they understand. However, Jacob is in 12th grade and Emma is now in 10th grade. They won’t be home for much longer and I can’t forfeit those remaining days and months. So I choose to engage with them by sitting in their room together, making dinner together, listening to records together – trying to just be together. These are small things however they matter and they can add up. It’s important to me to be better with them.
In which ever way you interpret the turning of the calendar to January, I hope that you consider choosing a single word to drive your actions. There are so many wonderful words out there to choose from; similar to a long journey beginning with a single step, your selection of just #OneWord might launch quite an exciting adventure.
How will you start today to engage in your own world?