Minds Unleashed: Sample Chapter

Chapter 3: Wanting a Space

There sat Anytown’s dad with his children, face-to-face with a new adversary subsequent to the scream of two elementary-aged girls – a 3-foot black Coluber Constrictor, atop a front porch.

Snakes are fascinating. This black racer certainly was. No venom to speak of, yet with a wallop of a bite. The black racer is not-at-all docile. He’s very quick, slithering left and right. It was now man-versus-reptile.

Would dad chop him in half?

No, not this time.

With a few dodges and parries and the right grappling tools, a successful relocation was performed.

Girls saved. Dad, a hero.

Respectful co-existence, person-to-reptile assured.

Thoughts of snakes take us back to K-12, where we ponder this snake and another thing equally as fascinating, yet at the same time something foul, nasty, and certainly not with a K-12 leader’s best interest at heart … something that intermittently dared leadership into its personal space with an intent of self-righteous striking … yet something that often exposed its vulnerability, giving us a choice about what to do when confronting it …

K-12 Parents.

The one who arrived at the school to discuss her son’s suspension, wearing a shirt that said, “F$ck You and the Horse You Rode In ON.” [The shirt didn’t have a dollar sign]

The stepfather who shared with the teacher over the telephone, “If it weren’t for the five warrants out for my arrest, I’d come up to that school right now and kick your A@s!” [He actually had six warrants, one for non-appearance in court, of course]

While repugnant to most, these folks upon closer inspection are eerily similar to the snake that dad relocated. They are simply trying to bite us while we we’re in their personal space.

Let’s ask ourselves, “Does wanting a space create collisions? Could these folks be doing the best with what they have, yet bumping into us when they fall short of our expectations as K-12 leaders?”

We think so.

And it is often a parent’s nature to strike at obstacles, if they have no greater resources – especially those who are not-too-smart.

We perceive that they are reptilian, limited and overindulgent, yet in considering our own next move as principals – chopping them in half or using another implement to redirect – do we as often pause and think of their positive characteristics, as people deserving of our effort?

After all …

They are working hard to make present circumstances work, as they are dealing with the hands they were dealt;

They need a place to live, and because of geography in many cases, they have been forced into a relationship with us;

They love their offspring in their own way and are simply trying to provide a good life in the context of what they know.

And we are, in actuality, an obstacle to them.

We are the snakes.

We are providing more than a distraction; we are providing barriers to their preferred paths of least resistance, affixed between their present and future.

It doesn’t matter who is right; what matters is, “Do we chop, even if they try?

Should we at times? Yep.

Should we more often, move to co-exist? Assuredly.

So What? In dealing with others who are very much different from ourselves, shouldn’t we, at times, ask, “What are we doing for those who are poised to strike, yet just Wanting a Space?”


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