Year-end Reflections – Lessons from Yoda (Star Wars – v.2)

As this school year draws to a close I have begun to reflect on the year that has been — and its importance to my personal and professional growth. And because I love Star Wars — I have now connected some of this learning to the wise and articulate Yoda — master of the Jedi Knights.

Jedi Master Yoda

So, without further ado … here are some of my 2018-19 reflections as Superintendent. May the Force Be With You:

YOU WILL ONLY FIND WHAT YOU BRING IN

Yoda, The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
Yoda and Luke

Yoda told his young apprentice (Luke Skywalker) to not take his anger, fear and weapons into the dark cave as bringing these would only result in conflict. His words proved to be prophetic.

In life we bring both our negative and positive experiences to a current situation. I reminded myself this year to leave my negative reactions at the door and remain open to new ideas, thoughts and opinions. Fear and anger do not open doors, but close them.

The Importance of Being Disconnected

I treasure the time I have to myself — whether it’s an early morning walk along a seawall, in the local trails with my dog or in my car listening to music from the 70s. I do some of my best thinking when I’m alone.

But the daily reality is that my world (and other people’s as well) is filled with perpetual connection — email, texts, phone calls, social media as well as lots of personal meetings. And while I feel very lucky in both my personal and professional lives, they sometimes appear perpetually busy with connections.

Literally Thousands of Social Media Apps

Mobile devices have allowed us to stay connected in ways not possible even a few years ago. In particular, social media has led the way in interconnectedness — Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Messenger, Pinterest — they all allow for wonderful virtual connection and communication. Do a quick internet search and you find that there are literally THOUSANDS of social media apps designed for any number of connections — professional collaboration, sharing of personal events, dating, buying & selling, career exploration, etc.

Let me stop here for a minute to share a story about a recent meeting I had with one of the big educational minds in our world …

I Forget Stuff – I Must Be Brilliant

Do you ever stand up to go somewhere, walk over and then wonder why you’re there? Happens to me all the time — wait, that doesn’t sound very reassuring. It happens to me some times.

My solution?

Often walking back to where I came from to trigger the thought that made me leave in the first place.

Doesn’t really leave one with a strong feeling of confidence in my abilities now, does it?

But, if you’re being honest with yourself I bet it happens to you as well.

What is it about our memory that makes some stuff ‘stick’ and other stuff appear to vanish? Looking back to my 20s I can still recall studying for university exams … reading a section of a text book … then reading it again … and again … all to no avail. That page of information just wasn’t going to stay in my head.

But why?