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Anyway... Keeping Sight of the Reasons We Come to Work

By LeaderTalk Contributor — April 20, 2010 1 min read

Cover of Anyway: the Paradoxical Commandments

Sometimes work gets tough.

We have tough days, tough hours, tough meetings and tough conversations.

It ain’t fun.

Nobody likes conflict and sometimes things happen that make you wonder if it is really worth getting up and putting on that nice Dolche and Gabana tie and pretty pinstripe suit to get insulted, slammed and put down.

Yes... sometimes that is exactly what happens and we all hate it.

A few years back I stumbled upon a book in an airport that caught my eye. The book titled “Anyway: The Paradoxical Commandments, Finding Personal Meaning in a Crazy World” soon caught my imagination and a bit of my heart. The author Kent Keith outlines the 10 Paradoxical Commandments in a clear, easy to read document that made me really dig down and think about my work, my life and my approach to challenges. You can see the commandments at the bottom of this post.

But, this is not why I am writing tonight. Tonight I am writing about the real challenge we have in schools. The real challenge is facing the facts that schools, private, public and charter face an identity crisis of sorts. We are struggling like adolescent kids trying to figure out what we are and we have so many people telling us we should be this, that or the other.

The fact is though that we have a set of young, impressionable and bright eyed clients that don’t really care what we are. To them we are THEIR school.

We are required to deliver the best to them that we can offer and no matter what people say. What board members, politicians, other administrators do, we must do the best for those kids in the rooms waiting with hope and fear and excitement and boredom and interest and... (well you get the point)... we must do the best for them despite the issues. No matter what happens they deserve the best education we can provide ANYWAY.

I want to thank my colleague Alan Knobloch for the inspiration to this blog post. Today we were venting and complaining and he piped into the conversation and reminded us all that tomorrow the kids come back to school and they deserve the best education we can provide. It does not matter what the adults do or say or vote. They deserve the best anyway. Thanks Alan.

Now... introducing the The Paradoxical Commandments by Dr. Kent M. Keith.

People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered. Love them anyway. If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives. Do good anyway. If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies. Succeed anyway. The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway. Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable. Be honest and frank anyway. The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds. Think big anyway. People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs. Fight for a few underdogs anyway. What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight. Build anyway. People really need help but may attack you if you do help them. Help people anyway. Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth. Give the world the best you have anyway.

This has been cross posted to www.sentimentsoncommonsense.com

The opinions expressed in LeaderTalk are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.