No matter what we choose to do in life, we all need inspiration. Whether we are teaching a class, writing a blog, or solving world problems, inspiration is the bridge between our thoughts and our actions. The definition of ‘inspiration’ is ‘to infuse into the mind; to communicate to the spirit’. In this sense, inspiration is the fire to our rocket, the ‘giddy up’ to our wagon, and the ‘go‘ to our ‘on your mark, get set‘.
It moves us. So, in order to take ourselves and our children to the next great adventure, we need to be sure that inspiration remains an essential component of any educational experience. All schools have great kids. All schools have valid content to teach, and they have some good teachers to teach it. Most schools have nice facilities, technology access and the support of their community. So what is it that makes any school a great school? It is the ability to cultivate inspiration.
Outcomes in the real world depend on the ability to move thoughts into actions, the intangible to the tangible. Everything else is an unwritten symphony, an unopened book, and an unsung song. Thus, school leaders can do three things to create room in a school community for inspiration:
- Hire ‘fire starters’ not arsonists. Every school culture needs those souls who breathe life and warmth into ideas. We need also to avoid those who prefer the ashes and the cold.
- Respect the individual journey. Every person in the building hears a different call to action; honor this diversity. Model the behavior you seek. Listen, encourage, and excite.
- Play. Life, and most aspects of it, are supposed to be fun. Yes, we need to work hard, but when we are doing something that we believe in, particularly with people we care about, even the mundane parts of the work can be fun. Snow White and Mary Poppins were keenly aware of this fact. Whistling while we work, with a spoonful of sugar, helps us get moving.
Inspiration transforms. Without it, we have stacks of facts, and mountains of ideas- but no results. All of us have the potential to be our own version of a Ms. or Mr. Keating, We each have the power to put the ‘carpe’ into our ‘diem’. Who knows? Maybe someday the next Morgan Freeman, Robin Williams, Edward James Olmos, or Michelle Pfeiffer will get the call to play one of us in the next educational blockbuster. It could happen….