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Be Courageous

"Courage is patience under pressure" A small but meaningful gift from a retiring colleague has me reflecting this morning.

Many times we are called to speak up by an urgent need for change, but dialogue for change can be difficult, can feel confrontational and uncomfortable because we challenge the status quo, and those who paved the way to the present often feel critiqued by the call for a change in direction. But if the road I'm on won't get me to the destination I have in mind, I turn. I take a better route, or a detour, or sometimes we have to consider other modes all together. A car will only take me so far in a journey to Puerto Rico, for example. But that change is necessary and appropriate to get me to my goal. As a teacher especially, we need to keep this in mind. If my goal (destination) is getting all students to mastery, sometimes situations come up that call for new ways. Sometimes we learn new ways of doing what we used to, sometimes we forge a new path ourselves.

Change is not a criticism of the path we used to travel, but an adaptation in light of new challenges, new opportunities, and new learning. There are Atlanta roads I used to take because they used to be the best route, but which I've abandoned as traffic patterns changed around me. It would be foolish of us to insist on taking the old route for old times' sake if it means getting stuck in the jam. Change happens. It takes courage to face change under pressure. It calls for patience through what must be weathered or forged, through difficult and uncomfortable conversations, through choices and actions that may not come naturally to us from lack of practice. Be courageous.


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