The Midwinter of Equity Leadership
One of my spiritual practices is to sit on my front porch each morning and just be in creation. I usually offer prayers, but mostly I just watch for the sunrise and notice the birds. I notice birds a lot; but that is a subject for another day.
It is winter right now. I live in South Carolina, so my winters are different than others. I have heard complaints that the mainstream national news reports too much on weather which affects only a small portion of the country. While I am skeptical of those complaints for many reasons, I am fascinated by winter weather that I rarely if ever experience. I cannot begin to imagine living in Chicago in February; or experiencing the blizzards of North Dakota; or the lake-effect snows in western New York. It seems kind of neat, yet really hard.
My son is considering colleges for the future. One he is considering is in Ohio. His college counselor suggested to him that, before he even applies to the school, he really needs to visit the area in the wintertime. I felt like that was pretty sound advice. I don’t think my son fully understands his lack of understanding of what must be winter in the middle of Ohio. It seems like it would be fun, yet hard.
Winter brings me back to life. Odd, isn’t it. Winter is a time of dormancy. Yet we know that winter is also a time of allowing things to pass away and to get stronger in preparation for spring. I really want to talk about the life cycle of trees and plants right now, but I would have to spend too much time googling the stuff. Anyway, I suppose you know what I mean.
I’m getting ready to hit the front porch now. It is 28 degrees. That is especially cold for my neck of the woods. Yet, I’m looking forward to getting out in it; in my short-sleeved shirt and all. Just an aside: many of us in this tropical part of the world don’t wear long-sleeves…just a waste of money.
What I know is that this winter weather will brace me. It will refresh me. It will help me prepare for what is a long day ahead working with a group of almost 70 school principals. The work we are doing, equity leadership work, is the most important work I think a school leader can do for the students, teachers, parents and community they serve.
The work of equity, the work of justice, the work of doing what is best in a system that is broken, the re-imagining of what a just school and school system could look like, the calling out of wrong-doings, the understanding that, sometimes, the problem is me. All of that is hard work.
That hard work of equity leadership is kind of like winter---it’s necessary and it’s hard.
And, we hope for the Spring!