Leadership · Curriculum · Lifelong Learning

“Oh my… I can’t believe how much has changed.”

That’s how I began #MyOneWord2020 post… on December 31, 2019.

At the time, I was reflecting on the many changes over the last five years. Now, I realize that I could not have been more clueless about what 2020 would bring, by comparison.

Then again, can we ever really know what the future holds?

In a year where the only thing certain is our present and future uncertainty, #HamstraHighlights pulls over for a pitstop to reflect on the past. There’s value in revisitng annual goals, strategic plans, and New Year’s Resolutions, no matter how painful, disappointing, or unique.

My #OneWord2020 was Forward.

If we’re being completely honest, I feel like I’m failing to move Forward. At least, I’m not where I want to be. Yet.

There are three reasons why I feel this way.

A Global Pandemic

Without a doubt, the Corona Virus changed the way we did life. From meeting basic needs to school to entertainment, it has infected every detail of society. COVID-19 has totally disrupted tradition, or the way we’ve always done it.

But that’s just it: the way we’ve always done it.

Change is hard.

While we’re strongly urged to wear masks in public, the virus has unmasked our most traditional, public systems. While I agree that major changes were needed in many areas, and that life will never be the same again, maybe it’s our seemingly minor, daily habits and routines that require the most discipline to change.

Schooling Reimagined?

Over the last three months, several educators were forced to change the way they connected with each other and with their students. In fact, many changed the way they provided access, instruction, and even food to their students.

Yet, with so many pandemic unknowns, how will schools–the microcasms of society–move forward? What will teaching and learning look like? How will communities respond to game-time decisions? How can families, educators, and students plan ahead?

Treasuring the Past 

My wife and I spent the last ten days deep-cleaning the garage. It was the kind of slow process where you sort through boxes of… stuff, one thing at a time. I found t-shirts from 1992, newspapers from 1985, and old baseball cards. I found deflated basketballs, tinker toys, high school assignments, VHS tapes, cassette tapes, a Polaroid camera, kindergarten pictures, used mouse traps, an original Nintendo, and my seventh grade science fair project, to name a few. I even took a few pictures with my phone.

Each personal item retained some level of value at some time in my life. Each artifact jogged a memory, tempting me to go back in time. Each possession planted me in the scene, forcing me to recall people, places, sounds, sights, and smells in corresponding context.

While getting reacquinted with every treasure, I found myself mapping the future:

  • Where do I go from here?
  • Is this item still so valuable to me that I need to keep it? Or, can I finally let it go?
  • What are my criteria for keeping or letting go?
  • Really, can I let this memory, this person, this time in my life go, and with enough momentum, transition, and peace to move forward?

Perhaps, what’s most interesting of all are the items, the memories, and the people that we keep in our lives. The ones we hold on to–and can’t let go no matter what–those are the ones that stand the test of time. Those are the ones that are precious. They have value. They matter.

And for personal decisions like these, there are no formulas, criteria, or maps to follow.

Eventually, you arrive at a place of peace. You know the right thing to do.

Finally, the time has come. And deep down, one simple truth comes into focus.

You can never really, truly move forward until you let go of the past. 

Times change. People change. And life goes on.

Moving Forward

What are your thoughts? Comment here!

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