Superintendent Message

November 2018
Mike Nelson

I became reacquainted with a book that was first introduced to me about 20 years ago. As I picked up the book The 10 Greatest Gifts I Give my Children: Parenting from the Heart by Steven W. Vannoy again, I found it was just as meaningful as the first time I looked at it. Here's a quick "peek" into the book.

The book begins with five parenting tools. The first tool is a challenge for all of us to be "Forward Focus." Vannoy explains that "We only have a certain amount of energy, time, and potential to use each day. Of the 100 percent we have, only we can choose where to focus it. And while at times it may look as if we're moving forward, most of us are
really aiming backward... Meanwhile, the families that are really going forward look forward, with only a brief glance back now and then to gain perspective and remember what worked before so they can do more of it"(page 39). Vannoy's "Forward Focus" can apply to so many hats many of us wear in life - parent, spouse, friend, employee, leader, etc.

Below is an Energy Map Vannoy shares:

Back Side Forward Side
  • What's not working
  • Problem
  • What I don't like about myself
  • All the reasons we can't get there
  • What's wrong with where we are
  • What's working
  • Solution
  • What I like about myself
  • Results we want to create
  • What do we have to do to move toward where we want to be

Building a vision for family and workplace is important in order to remain on the "Forward Side" of the Energy Map. The Board of Directors, myself, and cabinet members practiced this concept last spring when we wrote the Theory of Action to accompany our Strategic Plan. We purposely focused on what types of experiences we want for our students every class period of everyday: authentic, deep, irresistible, and exciting learning opportunities. I find that I'm even more excited about our work when I see these opportunities happening in our schools!

In the second part of the book Vannoy shares that he gives his children the gifts of fully feeling, self-esteem, compassion, balance, humor, communication, integrity, responsibility, conscious choice, and full expression of emotions. Even though our children are now in their late 20s, Britt and I still look for ways to honor and support them during this time in their lives. As they move forward towards their own goals, we take pride in watching their forward momentum while we also continue to practice Vannoy's "gifts" listed here. Reading this book "filled my parenting cup," so I want to share it with each of you too.

In partnership with you,

Mike Nelson's signature graphic