Thanks to the "Commited Sardine" blog, I ran across this Ted Talks video featuring Simon Sinek. His framework for describing the leadership difference between great organizations or individuals and average organizations or individuals is horrifically simple – yet delightfully insightful. With the simple drawing of a circle he digs into our lack of really understanding the "why" behind what we do and illustrates how great leaders do just the opposite. Great leaders do and say what they do because of the why first – all of the rest follows.
Does the "why" question drive what happens in your school or district? I'm sure bell schedules are driven entirely by what's best for instruction… right? The work day is determined by student learning needs, rules about food, drinks, and bathrooms are driven by research on learning and optimal brain functioning, and the teaching is certainly differentiated for individual learner needs. Afterall, this is education. Of course we make decisions based upon what is best for student learning – the "why" of our work. We don't manufacture extension cords; we teach and develop children – the leaders of tomorrow. If any organization makes decisions based upon the "why" question, it certainly should be us… right?
Creating opportunities for students to serve their communities is the "right thing to do" on so many levels. There is no question that kids can make an incredible impact on the greater community when given the right opportunities. Raising children who value giving of themselves is important to the future of our communities. Brain research makes clear that adolescent years involve a flurry of blossoming and pruning in the regions of the brain connected to values, ethics, and the moral roots that determine the character of adult years. So how does this really look? Check out what some Burnsville high schoolers are doing to help kids with real needs.