He was not good at drawing at school and never had his work displayed in the classroom. One day, by mistake, he completed a drawing having taken two sheets of paper instead of the usual single sheet. He noticed an outline of the drawing on the second sheet. This gave him an idea and he took a sheet of paper home and traced over a drawing he liked so an outline was left on the sheet underneath which he then took to school. In the lesson he drew over the outline and submitted the work as his own. After a couple of tries he had his work selected for display on the classroom wall. And so it continued for a whole term but then he started to feel guilty and decided he would stop cheating. Next term he drew without following an outline and found to his surprise that, with all the practice, his drawing was much better than it had been and after a few weeks he had a piece of work selected for display.
Once a had a car and I had it for awhile. It was well looked after, I washed it every day and use the highest grade products on and in it to make sure it was at it’s best.
I also had it serviced on time when needed and sometimes even before it needed it because it deserved the best.
One day I was driving it as I always do very carefully always under the speed limit, avoiding any pot holes or debris that might damage my vehicle, and then without any warning the engine blew up!
Recently, I was doing a coaching session with the owner of a small language school. Very quickly, I saw that he was getting very confused and overwhelmed by the number of different things that he had to do in his work. Like many one-person businesses, on any particular day a huge range of different types of work can arise. For example in his case on a typical day, the lessons need to be prepared, the students need to be taught, the paperwork has to be completed, new projects need to be planned, the office needs to be cleaned, the telephone calls have to be made, the sales projections have to be planned …
Anyone who has run a small business, particularly a one-person business, knows exactly what I am talking about here.
Not far from where I live is a place called Death Valley. Death Valley is the hottest, driest place in America, and nothing grows there. Nothing grows there because it doesn’t rain. Hence, Death Valley. In the winter of 2004, it rained in Death Valley. Seven inches of rain fell over a very short period. And in the spring of 2005, there was a phenomenon. The whole floor of Death Valley was carpeted in flowers for a while. What it proved is this: that Death Valley isn’t dead. It’s dormant. Right beneath the surface are these seeds of possibility waiting for the right conditions to come about, and with organic systems, if the conditions are right, life is inevitable. It happens all the time. You take an area, a school, a district, you change the conditions, give people a different sense of possibility, a different set of expectations, a broader range of opportunities, you cherish and value the relationships between teachers and learners, you offer people the discretion to be creative and to innovate in what they do, and schools that were once bereft spring to life.
A little girl is watching her mother prepare the Christmas ham for dinner in the way that she always does every Christmas. As usual, she notices her mother cutting off the edges to make it into a square shape before putting it into the oven.
This year, she was curious and asked her mother, “why do you cut the edges off the Christmas ham?”
Her mother stopped and paused for a second and said, “That’s a very good question. When I was a little girl, I used to watch my mother doing the same thing. Let’s call Grandma and see what’s up.”
So they called up Grandma, and they said, “why is that you used to cut the edges off the Christmas ham?”
And Grandma said, “well, that’s because every year Grandpa used to get a ham for a bonus. And our oven was so small that I had to cut off the edges to make it fit.”
And so they realized that it was no longer necessary to cut off the edges and from that moment onwards, they decided not to cut the edges off the ham.