President’s Perspective: Let’s stop hurrying up to wait and become the change we want to beScott Rothschild
By Lori Blake
The last five months have been a roller coaster as we all got in line to see how COVID-19 would impact our lives. Just like at the amusement park, our entire society has hurried in anxious anticipation to wait for the next hill or corner turned to change our course of action. You’ve all heard that expression that epitomizes the experience we are living today. We hurry up to make a deadline and wait for the response and more data to inform detours and necessary course corrections. It’s tiresome and not going to change any time soon, but we have been elected for moments just like these. It is our response to the peaks and valleys that people will remember.
In the words of Lin-Manuel Miranda, composer of the Broadway hit Hamilton, history has its eyes on us, quite literally. For the first time, many public meetings are being live streamed and the public is standing in line to place their judgments. They too have been waiting, so they can hurry up and wait for the next protocol to be released. The problem is there is no “right” answer for everyone. We must make decisions for our neighbor’s children whether they have immune compromised systems or athletes with COVID–induced mental health concerns.
To stay with the Hamilton theme, we are in the room where it happens. We have access to individual students’ stories. We have access to staff concerns who entered a profession in times where public health was not a consideration to mitigate how their gifts are utilized. We have access to public health officials on the front lines watching the virus morph over time without consistent symptoms. We must listen to perspectives which allow us the most comprehensive data from which decisions can be made … and then we must weigh the risk and become the change we are asking from our state and national leaders.
As everyone has an opinion and access to information from a multitude of sources, we must demonstrate the ability to use critical thinking skills and truly listen. We need to acknowledge bias and rise up. We cannot throw away our shot to show our students what true leadership looks like. We cannot make political judgments and continue categorizing complex humans into silos. Each of our experiences inform our perceptions and we need to recognize every person is in the same seat on this COVID ride, filled with anticipation to go down that hill racing forward then suddenly whipped up and around a turn we didn’t expect.
Mutual respect at our board tables and compassion in our communities can turn the tide, one decision at a time. There is no fortune teller we can engage to tell us our future. We must write it for the common good and take our shot at making lasting change. The political climate forces us to choose between parties when we may not fit fully in either box. We aren’t tied by that system in schools. The time is now to engage families in the process of planning for their children’s future. We are in redesign, redesigning education to keep each other safe in a global pandemic without pulling the brakes on education.
Let’s demonstrate empathy and courage by acknowledging our vulnerability and planning to respond to those human needs. Let’s take our shot and make it one heard around the world. Let’s start a new revolution to ensure the voices who need to be heard are amplified. Mostly, let’s stop hurrying up to wait and become the change we want for our future.