Doing the right thing

I wish I always knew for certain what “the right thing to do” was. Or at least 95% certain. I wish I didn’t feel like I ought to be certain, and I wish I didn’t give myself a hard time for my uncertainty.

I have been a school principal, lead learner, instructional leader, and even mentor for three years now, and all I am certain about is that my idea of what is “the right thing to do” is continuously evolving. I always have as a foundation some things I know are “right” – things that shape the core of my beliefs and principles about children and the other human beings with whom I work and serve. But along comes a situation different in details, or context,or scope from anything in my experience, and I find myself struggling at times to know what the right thing to do is. I know I’m not alone but it’s not something people in roles of leadership talk a lot about.

I know that uncertainty is a characteristic of learners. Not being sure leads to questioning, testing, observing, evaluating. Learners accept mistakes part of the process. Can I accept making mistakes in my work, accepting my responsibility to repair and learn from them? Can I accept showing my uncertaintty to others? Can others have the patience to allow me to learn through my uncertainty?

20121205-194236.jpg“Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don’t give up.”
Anne Lamott

This quote from author Ann Lamott gave me some inspiration. I didn’t know much about Lamott until I read this article about her changing relationship with her teenaged son. It reminded me of the questioning, painful, and tumultuous uncertainty that comes with being human, with caring for others, and for wanting to do the right thing.


2 thoughts on “Doing the right thing

  1. Hi Carol. There is nothing wrong with being uncertain. It is a sign of growth. No one is perfect, and if you show and share your weakness with others, then they can see you are just human. I’m not sure what is happening right now in your life, but I do know that doing the right thing is the right thing to do. Just keep it up. I don’t know if you are a Christian, and if you’re not, I’m trying to offend you, but as long as your heart is full of love for the people you serve, God will always guide you. Even if you do make a mistake, it’s not the end of the world. Just take responsibility, apologize, learn from it, and move on. I think if you share your uncertainty with God, and someone close to you that you trust, and allow yourself to make mistakes it says to others, that you are no better than anyone else, and no worse. You are just you, and that’s okay.

  2. Hi Carol. My deepest sympathies for those beautiful children and wonderful teachers in the States, and though it is so far away geographically, it is still a tragedy to us all. I am also very sorry that the government is up to their old tricks again. They have no right to do it. If they cared, the way they claim, they would open their purse strings and help out, instead of demanding even more cuts. I am right behind you. Someone needs to put a stop to the carnage.

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