Saturday, November 22, 2014

Nothing More At Thanksgiving!



We are how we treat each other and Nothing More
            
                                                                                                   —The Alternate Routes Band 

How is your endurance these days? Less than a week until Thanksgiving! Yikes! Are you ready? I bet you are. I know I am. I need a break from the intensity and the pace of events this fall as the 2014-2015 school season unfolds, and I need some down time with my family too.

As I have written before, this is my favorite holiday. For educators it seems to come at just the right time of the year, when we become just a bit edgy and weary from the pace, the life, the energy required to be a great teacher, social worker, counselor, administrator, nurse, school board member, coach – whatever your school role may be.

And it gives us a brief moment in our lives to stop, reflect on how we are actually “doing’ in this 2014-2015 season, and to notice and give thanks to those we love, to the grace of life, to the opportunities (won and lost) in our path, and to join the table of joy and sorrow in our personal journey with others this year.   

It is no secret: Teaching and leading and educating children well, is not an easy task.

At a gathering of neighbors and friends last night, a teaching colleague (who teaches 2nd grade in a low poverty neighborhood) mentioned to me how some days have been good and some not so much. There have been victories with the students, and there have been setbacks too. Some days, the students just do not treat each other very well.

Since I spend the majority of my days helping teachers learn math content to teach students, I asked her what she thought really mattered in her class. She said: “To accomplish anything, they just need to experience being loved. In the end if I can get them to learn how to treat each other with dignity, then deep learning can take place and it has been a good day”. As she shared her classroom experiences, she seemed really tired to me, and ready for that break next week. 

Her comments reminded me of a song originally written in 2012 by the group Alternate Routes in response to the school tragedy at Sandy Hook. The song went viral this past February when NBC played the song as part of their opening ceremony at the Socchi Olympics. The TV show NCIS also used it to end one of their episodes last season. The song, Nothing More has a simple message. As we reflect this Thanksgiving, as we take a close look at all the people in our influence circle, our lives boil down to:

We are how we treat each other, nothing more”

No matter how good or bad our teaching and leading story is today, we will be judged down the road, we will be remembered 5 or 10 years from now by how we treated our students and each other. We will be remembered by how we chose to impact others – for good or for bad. By how we worked to get better in our relationships with others – in order to learn and develop our knowledge together, despite the pain that it can cause sometimes.

Expect nothing more from your collaborative team

The paradigm of engaging interdependently with other adults around issues of improved student learning is not easy. I know. I have loved my colleagues and my students, and I have been at odds with them at times. In the end though, how we treat the others in our personal and professional lives is what really matters if as the song says we hope to achieve deep learning with endless possibilities. No acadmic ceilings for ourselves, our students or our colleagues.  

You can see and hear the song on utube and I have also listed the words here.

To be humble, to be kind.
It is the giving of the peace in your mind.
To a stranger, To a friend
To give in such a way that has no end.
We are Love
We are One
We are how we treat each other when the day is done.
We are Peace
We are War
We are how we treat each other and Nothing More
To be bold, to be brave.
It is the thinking that the heart can still be saved
And the darkness can come quick
The Dangers in the Anger and the hanging on to it.
We are Love
We are One
We are how we treat each other when the day is done.
We are Peace
We are War
We are how we treat each other and Nothing More
Tell me what it is that you see
A world that’s filled with endless possibilities?
Heroes don’t look like they used to, they look like you do.
We are Love
We are One
We are how we treat each other when the day is done.
We are Peace
We are War
We are how we treat each other and Nothing More

Long ago, my mentor, friend and colleague, Rick DuFour, taught me the importance of the ARTS for students and for our work with each other. Over the years, at the holiday season, I have placed together pictures and video from family events through that year. I usually set the “presentation” to a song that seems to create some emotions – laughter and tears - for our family, as we view the presentation. 

This year. I am choosing the song Nothing More (Because it is a surprise, I am hoping my family doesn't read this blog!). You should try it too. I dare you! Download the song (iTunes or some other place), get together 30-40 of your best pictures and then let the slideshow roll. See how it goes! If you are not sure how to do this on your computer, enlist a family member under the age of 30. They will know! Then play it for your family and friends and remind them of what is really important this holiday season…their heart! 

Happy Thanksgiving






1 comment:

  1. This is beautiful, Tim. What a perfect message for Thanksgiving. Thank you!!

    ReplyDelete