TregoED Blog

Dared greatly, lately?

A well-known quote from President Theodore Roosevelt exhorts:

“It’s not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.  The credit belongs to the person who is in the arena.  Whose face is marred with dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly …who at the best knows  the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly…

Look around in the arena of education and and you see a world of people:  grappling with new initiatives, setting lofty goals, and striving to learn and do new things. The cynics among us might say – “we’ve seen this before,” “this too shall pass,”  “same idea with a different name.”  It is indeed tempting to become cynical when one magic bullet after another speeds by.  I, too, have jumped on the cynic’s bandwagon at times.  But was the original idea a bad one – or was the implementation just flawed?  Excellent ideas with sloppy implementation become fodder for the cynics.

Yet aren’t the hopes and goals of these initiatives worth fighting for?  Don’t we believe in what these efforts are trying to accomplish?  Do we really ever want to stop believing that all kids can learn, that things can be better, that we can make a difference?  When we stop believing that, isn’t it time to do something else?

Sure – a lot of ideas are not well thought-through and way too many good ones are poorly implemented.   Clearly, “daring greatly” is not in itself sufficient.  But without it, worthwhile change is unlikely to even be attempted.  I am grateful for all those who dare greatly – in any realm.  These are the people who refuse to let the prospect of imperfection prevent the promise of progress.

In this year, I resolve to salute and support those leaders who “dare greatly”: those leaders that persevere to do the right things with clear and transparent thinking, those that set goals and remain focused despite rampant cynicism and those that develop the skills and trust of those around them to develop, implement and support ideas that will help all kids learn, do things better and make a difference.  May we never stop “daring greatly” in our own big or humble ways!

How will you “dare greatly” this year?