Values in Action

During the Covid-19 pandemic and while working from home with the kids learning at home, I had one of those learning moments. Right after a lunch-time meeting today, my wife brought me a sandwich and some pudding. One of my kiddos had written some corny jokes on the napkin. I really appreciated their thoughtfulness of trying to make me smile, and here they are below:

TOP SIDE: You know not to trust atoms, right? They make up everything.

BOTTOM SIDE: Have you ever tried blindfolded archery? Well, you don’t know what you’re missing.

Yes, they produced a chuckle, so I asked that kiddo to come into the office so I could say thank you. They helped themselves to my pudding when “it” happened – my coffee was knocked over and spilled going everywhere. I jumped into action by grabbing my laptop because, quite frankly, the rest does not matter. We got everything cleaned up and part of me was going to have “that conversation” with the kiddo about being more careful and responsible and such. Then, that same kid (who battles dyslexia) picked up my planner and asked if he could read this “blue line” to me – I had highlighted a quote from John Maxwell to reflect upon during the week. He struggled through it but here’s what it said: “Your values are the soul of your leadership, and they drive your behavior.” That absolutely put on the brakes for me. 

He made a simple mistake that happens to anyone.  Yes, it created a mess to clean up but it gave us time to laugh and clean together. It certainly did not necessitate a lecture from dad.  Step back and think about that silly story and powerful quote. We all have values (in the heart) and we all enact behavior (with the hands); yet, we sometimes have a large disconnect between the two.

For instance, we could say that we are positive in spirit but only ever focus on the negative things. Another example is that we say we believe in a growth mindset but come down hard on mistakes when they arise. How does this disconnect occur? Yep, you got it – what we think (in the head) either shows agreement or disagreement between our values (heart) and actions (hands). Simply put, personal values + positive or negative thoughts = public actions.

Who would’ve thought that a coffee spill would’ve taught me that my actions reveal a unity or disunity between my values and thoughts?  Take this lesson and apply it in your classroom or your schools.  If you do, reach out and let us know how you did it.

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