top of page

Words matter.

I love words.


I remember in college having a poetry professor who talked about loving the way the word “bin” sounded and how it felt on her tongue to say.


Another student talked about how he loved the word defenestration which means to throw someone out a window.  What a funny thing to have a particular word for.


This past weekend I officiated the wedding ceremony of my brother and his, now, wife.  I chose each word of that ceremony with care and precision.  I cried many times writing it because putting the words together evokes memories and hope and excitement at having the chance to say something that matters.


Words matter.  They have power.


And yet, we can become so numb to all the talking we do and all the words we hear in the course of a day.  This past month you’ve probably sat in meetings where someone spoke about legal compliance issues related to special education or discrimination and harassment.  You’ve used words to describe the lunch schedule and morning duty.  And  maybe all those words started to feel that teacher of Charlie Brown’s - wah wah wah . . .


As educational leaders, we participate in the ongoing creation of culture.  


We know that culture isn’t made or broken with a single activity or bad meeting.  Culture is created in each moment of our leadership.  It’s created in how we talk about data meetings, in how we facilitate professional learning, and in the mundane hallway encounters.  


Think about the times you’ve started a meeting with something like, “We have a lot to get through today and I know it’s gonna be tough . . .”  Your words have the power to take the air out of the tires of that meeting.  When we use words like that we have diminished our own power and the spirit of those we’re leading.  


Every moment is an opportunity to create the culture of our dreams just as every moment is an opportunity to harm the culture that we’ve been building.  This fall, let’s think about using our words to cast a vision of our school culture that lights our hearts on fire!  How do we want to sit down at a data meeting and feel? What is the power and possibility that lives in each professional learning experience we facilitate?  Imagine how you could start to use your words to create a culture of adult love of learning, of engagement and passion, of impact and purpose?  It’s useful to remember that not a single one of us has to be an educator.  We all chose this work.  That moment that we chose it we likely were inspired by what was possible, not by a longing for tedium and unimportance.   


It seems to me, as educators, that somewhere along the way we all agreed to a culture of misery, overwhelm, and exhaustion.  Our language started to reflect it.  We don’t have to keep doing that to ourselves. 


Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel said, “Words create worlds.”


As leaders and culture creators we get to step into our tremendous power to use language to reframe and build a different kind of space, a new kind of culture.


So any relationship, any meeting, and grade level team that just isn’t quite working, start using your words to speak a new possibility into that space.  Start talking about what you can build and create together.  Start talking about how you want the team to feel and what you want the experience to be like.  


I think about in my life and in my coaching this theme that I come back to.  It  goes like this:

I have good news for you. You are responsible.

I have bad news for you. You are responsible.


The only way those statements are different is the word we use to cast them in  Is it good or is it bad? 


I believe that we, as Post Pandemic Educational Phoenixs, those who have risen from the ashes, we get to claim a new way of being in the work and it starts in our hearts and then it goes out into the world in the way we talk about everything.  We make the lunch duty schedule a topic of passion and precision, we make every data meeting a place of relationship and unity, we talk about conflict not as a problem but as a gateway to a new possibility.  Culture.  Culture in everything, in every way we move, in the way we breathe, and most importantly, in the way we speak.


We ultimately get to decide so if as leaders we’re committed to creating a culture of thriving engaged adults, which leads to thriving, engage kids then we have to see that as the best responsibility, not as a burden or an extra to do or some thing that lies heavy on our shoulders we get to see that is an opportunity to be creative, inspire,d dynamic problem, solvers so it’s good news that it’s our responsibility as coaches and leaders to create the culture of our school because with anything and leader ship if we want it out there the first place to go is to ourselves into created in here so maybe you want to join me in my assignment you have your core values remember core values can’t be measured and they can’t be taken away. They’re nobodies no one else’s job to do for you. There are you they are your job to live in and body so my values for over 10 years have been love joy gratitude, service, and leader ship, and I’m stepping into a bigger game of my life I’m stepping into a bigger game as a parent, and as a lover and partner as a business owner as a creative as an educational leader the game is getting bigger and more vibrant and so I get to be creative and inspired with my core values so my inspired side of core values now are this inspiration, wisdom, play desire and creativity. Those five words are good reasons to get out of bed in the morning. Those five words are good things to connect to, and I feel stuck or overwhelmed those five world words make me wanna keep playing this game of life so it’s happened to your inspired side of core values, and then use them as a place to start speaking life into the culture you want in your building. Let me know how it’s going your coach Nagy.



Words create new worlds - Hershel 


Our goal in our agreements conversations should be to set each other up to be successful in our relationship.


Tap into your tremendous power (and help others do the same)

I have the power through sheer language and words alone to reframe this and build a different kind of space.


I was recently given the assignment by my coach and mentor to re-examine my core values, and see if I could find the next iteration of them the most inspired version of my core values. Now, what I have discovered that is baked into my work, and into how I wanna live my life is the value of inspiration. I know how I feel when I sit down to write from a place of inspiration, compared to when I sit down to write from a place of distant disengagement, inspiration feels good. Inspiration allows for challenges, and what my coach was teaching me through this assignment is that our words matter, having the most high vibe, highly engaging stead of core values to move me to the next level of my work, those words that light, my soul and spirit on fire will matter, and so our theme this week is the idea that we are all involved in the ongoing creation of culture in our buildings and before you hear this as one more exhausting leader ship assignment, 


I invite you to hear it as a tremendous opportunity as culture creators that our words matter. Think about the times you’ve started a meeting with some thing like, “We have a lot to get through today and I know it’s gonna be boring . . .”  Think about the way your words have had the power to take the air out of the tires of that meeting think about the way you have diminished your own power think about the way you’ve diminished the power and spirit of those you’re leading maybe we have our words as being a way to be humble, but I want to say that the best leaders reach for the opportunities to inspire, and that’s more important than humility, especially a full sentence of humility so we all we all participate in the ongoing creation of the culture of our buildings. 


Every moment is an opportunity to create the culture of our dreams just as every moment is an opportunity to harm the culture that we’ve been building, culture is not just the beginning of the year activity. It’s not the two minute icebreaker at the top of your agenda culture is who, and how we are in each moment and as leaders this fall, let’s think about using our words to cast a vision of our culture that lights, our hearts on fire how do we want to sit down a data meetings and seal and imagine and have our teams engage how do we want the next professional learning series to to be receive to be experienced by the learner let’s start talking about it that way at some point, it seems to me as educators, that we all agreed to a culture of misery, suffering, overwhelm and exhaustion we don’t have to keep doing that to ourselves. 


Those are words, and we can change the words and words do, in fact, change the experience, 


So whatever it is that you and your leadership team are looking to create as coaches and leaders for your teachers and for kids start talking about it now start using the words that represent the future state of your school now and it’s not cheesy. It’s not hollow it’s not a complete plan, but it is a certainly a very good place to start. 


I think about in my life and in my coaching this theme that I’ll come back to goes like this I have good news for you. You are responsible I have bad news for you. You are responsible and the only way those statements are different is the word we use to cast them in is it good or is it bad? We ultimately get to decide so if as leaders we’re created, we’re committed to creating a culture of thriving engaged adults, which leads to thriving, engage kids then we have to see that as the best responsibility not as a burden or an extra to do or some thing that lies heavy on our shoulders we get to see that is an opportunity to be creative inspired dynamic problem, solvers so it’s good news that it’s our responsibility as coaches and leaders to create the culture of our school because with anything and leader ship if we want it out there the first place to go is to ourselves into created in here so maybe you want to join me in my assignment you have your core values remember core values can’t be measured and they can’t be taken away. They’re nobodies no one else’s job to do for you. There are you they are your job to live in and body so my values for over 10 years have been love joy gratitude, service, and leader ship, and I’m stepping into a bigger game of my life I’m stepping into a bigger game as a parent, and as a lover and partner as a business owner as a creative as an educational leader the game is getting bigger and more vibrant and so I get to be creative and inspired with my core values so my inspired side of core values now are this inspiration, wisdom, play desire and creativity. Those five words are good reasons to get out of bed in the morning.



Those five words are good things to connect to, and I feel stuck or overwhelmed those five world words make me wanna keep playing this game of life so it’s happened to your inspired side of core values, and then use them as a place to start speaking life into the culture you want in your building. Let me know how it’s going your coach Nagy.


留言


bottom of page