The Wednesday Notice, 9/13/17



I’ve been reading Brené Brown’s book Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parents, and Lead, which opens with the passage that made Theodore Roosevelt’s “Citizenship in a Republic” speech famous:

“… there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds … at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst … at least fails while daring greatly.“

The main verb in our revised mission statement is “strives” by design. At Crossroads, we center effort and hard work and aim to instill this value in our students. It is central to our purpose as a school. An exemplary and engaging learning community and a commitment to justice and equity are inert without the application of our effort.

“There is no effort without error” is both true and encouraging. In a perfectionist culture, where failure is often seen as only that (as opposed to a learning opportunity, for example), it is important to remember that effort and error go together as a part of learning and striving.

“Who does actually strive” is curious; it reminds me of some of the ways I feigned effort as a student and prompts me to think about sources of effort within us. One must actually do in order for one’s effort to be useful. And President Roosevelt would have us know that this kind of effort is worthy in itself, regardless of the outcome.

At Crossroads, it is our doing and our trying, and our doing and trying together, that enliven our learning and community, that make possible our standards of excellence and engagement, and that make our commitment to justice and equity into something real.

Stating what Crossroads strives to be, I think, is an honest way of honoring the learning and work of our students and our community as a whole. Striving, offering up our actual effort, prompts doing and risking for the sake of all, with space for mistakes, feedback, and growth.

I like that we are committed to striving together, to the hard work, to the high achievement, and to the daring greatly, even though it means we might fail.

With great expectations,