I have thought about you all weekend. I thought about you when I was riding my bike early Saturday morning. I thought about you when I was moving horse manure on my tractor Saturday afternoon. And I am thinking about you now as I sit here in the early Sunday morning hours trying to capture this past week, so I may do better this coming week. And as I do so, all thoughts turn to you.
First, I am sorry. I am sorry that my recent addition of weekly homework in the form of personal reading for 30 minutes, 5 days a week overwhelmed you. I am sorry that my attempt at empathy and my offer of an alternative approach seemed to have little effect on your near-tears, stressed-out state that you quietly revealed to me late Friday afternoon. I am sorry.
And as I sit here, and again try to settle into your shoes, I have achieved some clarity on how you must feel. One, I am taking you along a path down which you have never been by giving you the keys to your learning, a path that has landed you in a vast landscape of unfamiliar territory. I tend to think that this must be a thrill to you and your peers, but I also need to consider that it’s probably frightening, too. I will do better to remember this. Two, I know you were not happy the with the outcome of your first performance despite my assurances that it was one opportunity of many to come for you to demonstrate proficiency, despite my assurances that it was not a test, that it wasn’t your grade, that it was just an indicator. Easy for me to say. As I am the one who charted the course, I can see the landscape, know its nuances, but you cannot and that must be scary. I will do better to remember this, too.
Last, thank you. Thank you for opening my eyes. Thank you for reminding me that there is more to guiding than walking ahead. Thank you for reminding me that leading necessitates looking back on those we lead, that leading seeks to bridge the distance between those in front and those behind. And so, here is my looking back, here is my seeking to bridge the inevitable gaps that will occur along our journey. Meet me where you can. In the end I do not care about the work I give you. I offer it as only a challenge, as simply an opportunity. And for both, I will offer support. I will meet you where I can if you promise the same. With that, then, we will meet, and that is all that really matters.
Do. Reflect. Do Better.