Peaceful Preparation

I read a lot of articles, blogs, and books related to leadership, especially education leadership.  Each piece seems to give me a great take-away… but they all seem to lack something that I see as essential to making my days work and my belief in my purpose.  Prayer.

Ask anyone who has known me for more than 13 minutes and they would tell you I am the last person they expected to being a practicing Catholic, never mind someone who prays (I love a good laugh and a long walk on the edge).  But every day on my way into school, I take a few minutes and say this to (insert deity):

Help me say the right words today, give me the strength to face today’s problems, open my ears, and help me be compassionate.  I want my kids and staff to be at peace and I want to be my best for them.  Look over them today and help those who quietly need it.

That’s it.  Every day.  It keeps me focused, grounded, and helps me with my humility (something every principal and educator needs).

I have to admit I walk onto campus alert, alive, and looking at each person I see and talk to as someone deserving of my respect, dignity, and understanding (even when it’s hard to).  Standing outside greeting every student and teacher who walks into the lobby also helps – it sets me straight and starts my day off hundreds of smiles.

Getting back to the leadership part…

One of my doctoral studies courses dealt with the soul of leadership; human capital, empathy, peripheral “vision”, and sense of self were the central aspects.  It was my favorite course (next to learning with Alan November).  I loved it so much that before I finally decided on my dissertation topic, I had pondered the idea of doing a study to see if school leaders’ religious beliefs (or lack thereof) had any impact on their demeanor, leadership style, or affect on their school climate and culture.  I didn’t do that study.  I wish I had – it would have been interesting.

If anyone is considering an intriguing dissertation topic – or a study – you might find this topic to be timely and relevant.  And if you do, I’ll pray that you your study comes up with interesting conclusions.

For now, pray for your students, your teachers, and yourself… we all need it.  Probably now more than ever.

Author: Michael Parent, Ed.D

Father, husband, school administrator in NJ. "Education cures poverty".

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