What Pecan Trail is about and has meant to me is right here: a culture of kindness and investment. These things on my wrist are where I take my pulse. It's where I read my heart. Because of the people, the belief in community, and the investment in our shared space, my heart beats strong. It beats steadily because I know we are there for each other: students, families and staff alike. It beats continuously because I know our commonality extends beyond our logo, our colors and our walls.
#ThisIsPT. What does it mean to you?
Loyalty. This word has such strong meaning for all of us. Loyalty is about championing, defending, protecting who or what is important to us. Most of the time it is about loyalty to the people in our lives. Maybe it’s a grandma, or a cousin, a teacher, sibling, friend or any other person who means something to us. These people give us our sense of who we are, our sense of what we are capable of doing, our courage to show up in the world.
For our students, loyalty seems to have extra significance. Their world is so defined by the people in it, the people they care about and who they believe care about them. Our students show us what it means to be fiercely loyal.
When we choose to challenge a person, make assumptions about them, or judge them because of who they are loyal to, then we best expect a reaction. We’ve gone after the center of their world: their source of certainty, importance and belonging in this world. Loyalty to them will create a strong reaction to this. Most of the time loyalty is seen as a virtue, as a strong character trait. When we see loyalty show up in a student, that strong reaction is often misunderstood as something different … as defiance, disrespect or worse. What may seem confrontational, disruptive or loud, is really about showing up for people they believe in. We just express it differently. Loyalty is a great trait to have and should be seen and understood and valued for what it is. It is a student saying, “Hey, that’s my people. Be careful. I care enough about them to show you in a strong way.”
I’d do the same for my people. Loyalty. It means something to each of us and gives us a sense of empowerment and belonging.
Ya’ll. I was going to write an inspirational post about the importance of giving grace. Truthfully, I felt this was one area that I was doing well. Boy was I wrong.
After reflection, I realized I am gifted at giving grace to people who I think deserve the grace. Yep. Read that sentence again. “I give grace to those who I think deserve grace.” This defies everything that is true about giving grace.
I want to wholeheartedly always assume positive intent. And this is hard. Because I judge. What do I need? I need my friends and family to call me on it. Make me see the positive intent. Challenge my thinking. When a student is acting out, please don’t allow me to judge the behavior. Ask me to think about why the child is acting this way. Help me to see and understand his/her perspective. When a co-worker seems distant, ask me questions. Make me think and feel from their perspective. When a parent is upset, remind me to always remember how I want someone to treat my child. When my husband is taking on so many additional tasks, remind me… well, honestly he’s got a great catch :) Seriously, remind me to give grace, because he is taking on so much more to support me as a principal.
Giving grace and assuming positive intent is rewarding and it’s challenging. It’s challenging because sometimes we have to admit we are wrong. Not fun, but necessary.
Who do you decide to give grace to or give positive intent to? More importantly, who are we not giving grace to? And who are we not assuming positive intent for?
We all need grace. We all need positive intent. Let’s do this for each other.