This has been an interesting week. I have had a number of conversation that have been deep and meaningful, yet at times I have been tempted to stray from the course and diffuse minor issues instead of “majoring on the major” as Stephen Covey writes about in a lot of his books. I have used the analogy that I feel as though I am driving down the interstate trying to focus on the road ahead but the wind is whipping and battering the car from multiple directions. It is easy to spend all of my energy just trying to keep the wheels pointed straight ahead. I cannot control the wind; I can only control my method of travel.
In this day and age we have heard a lot about the power of peer pressure and I for one believe that the negative connotation associated with peer pressure has caused some of us to forget about the positive effects it can have as well. Sure peer pressure can cause kids to swear, drink, and experiment in dangerous ways, but it can also help apply needed pressure to cause positive action. It is tempting for all of us to feel the wind blowing against us and to spend all of our energy complaining about how hard it is to maneuver or about how exhausting it is to keep moving forward, or to even question the value of moving forward. What we need to do is continue to refocus the topic of conversation on the value of the trip and the reason for the move. As conversations pop up around us we all have to feel free to share our honest thoughts and opinions. If we get caught simply listening to negativity we will get caught up in it. If we rephrase the conversation to one of optimism and hope, it can also become contagious. As we tell kids, standing around and not stepping up and confronting a bully or a negative behavior is providing passive permission. The other person feels like no resistance is approval. It is not until the behavior is condemned that the person begins to realize their actions/words are not acceptable.
When the talk begins to focus on the wind bouncing us around, draw the conversations back on the fact that at least our car is moving forward. We all have gas in our tank; we know where the road is taking us, now we just need to maintain the focus on what we can control.
1 thought on “Keep your eyes on the road”
While maintaining focus on the goal is critical, if the wind blows a large tree in the road, it must be removed in order to maintain momentum. The challenge is to recognize those barriers that have the potential to derail the train entirely.
Stay the course. When the focus is what is best for students, there is no debate.