An old cartoon has this dialogue
“Get up honey,”
“Don’t want to get up, want to stay in bed”
“But you have to get up, you have to go to school”
“Don’t want to…the kids hate me, the teachers hate me, everybody hates me”
“But you have to go, you’re the Principal”
Sometimes the greatest act of courage of a school leader is just to show up and just showing up may feel like all you can do some days. However, I want to encourage you to go more than show up, I encourage you to be courageous in being present and showing up in the lives of those around you. Walk through the classrooms, engage with teachers and students. Inspire everyone in the last sprint to the finish. Cheer the successes and encourage those who struggle. Smile at those who have made life difficult and be filled with joy at those who have been there all year.
At this time of year, there are always tough decision that need to be made and implemented. Face these with the courage you have shown all year. The courageous leader knows that delay can become procrastination; so, in these last days of the school year, deal with those thorny but crucial conversations, don’t let the thorns fester, don’t let crucial become a crisis. As a courageous leader, you have acted with courage throughout the year. Know that finishing well is also about completion.
At this time of year, courage is also often defined by self-reflection. Take the time to reflect on what God has done through you this year. As you are present in the school, look for the places of growth, the evidences of success, the clear indicators of God’s faithfulness. As you are present in the school, ask how things could have gone better, what did you promise that did not get completed, how could you have assisted and supported more? This takes courage, but then, it also will take courage not to dwell there. You have done a lot. Have the courage to recognize that it has been good and that God in His sustaining power and faithfulness has filled you and used you in this great work.
So as your school year winds down, I want to congratulate you on a year of many acts of great courage and be strong and courageous in these last days before the summer break.
I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear. — Nelson Mandela
Ray can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.