Byron's Babbles

Until Every Child Is Well

I was struck this week while at Harvard University by the story of Boston Children’s Hospital’s vision/mission: Until Every Child Is Well. Really, I guess it would be more of an anthem, as Sally Hogshead would call it. What an anthem it is, though! Think about how simple and abstract “Until Every Child Is Well” is. In my studies this week I was reminded how important it is to make sure that our vision, or anthem, is broad enough to enable us to change as the world changes. What a simple, yet powerful statement  Boston Children’s Hospital has made. Who could argue with, “Until Every Child Is Well?” 

If we were to write it the way Joseph Michelli taught me, using the word “Wowful,” it would be “Wowful Child Wellness.” Regardless, both statements allow for cutting edge theories of action and strategery. I was also reminded this week of the 1942 Harvard MBA graduate, John Fisher, who was the CEO of Muncie, Indiana company Ball Corporation (you probably know them for Ball Jars). He worked for the company starting in 1941 and was CEO from 1970 to 1981. After World War II the glass jar business was booming, but later Fisher purchased and developed an aerospace business. Everyone thought he was crazy, but it led to the development of the plastic water bottle. I’ll bet you would agree that was a pretty savvy move. When asked about the shift from glass at a Harvard reunion, he stated that their vision had nothing to do with just glass, it was, “we want to be the best container company.” Again, simple, broad, abstract, and agnostic. John Fisher had learned well from his Harvard MBA. He learned you must exploit your present capabilities, but you must at the same time explore. We must learn about the future quicker than anyone else.

So, since my personal wow statement is “Delivering Wowful Educational Leadership” and my anthem is “Energetic Change Agent,” I set out reflect on what these two statements should be for my school; given my learning this week. Remember the goal is to be simple, broad, abstract, and agnostic. Let’s define agnostic. The dictionary defines agnostic as: a person who holds the view that any ultimate reality is unknown and probably unknowable; broadly one who is not committed to believing in anything being for sure. Think about that for removing all barriers of thinking things will stay status quo or need to be done the same way.

Here’s what I came up with:

Delivering Wowful Learning

Until Every Child Graduates

I would welcome your feedback on these two statements. It would be great to here how you would change them. These statements allow us to change as the world changes to do what the Indiana State Constitution says in Section 8 where it states: Section 1. Knowledge and learning, general diffused throughout a community, being essential to the preservation of a free government; it should be the duty of the General Assembly to encourage, by all suitable means, moral, intellectual scientific, and agricultural improvement; and provide, by law, for a general and uniform system of Common Schools, wherein tuition shall without charge, and equally open to all.  It is important to pay particular attention to the statement, “by all suitable means.” We have a constitutional obligation to make our delivery of knowledge and learning to our students distinct and effective. I love the statement, “by all suitable means.” That is simple, broad, and abstract. 

Schools have growing alternatives for delivering education. Choices range from presentations and discussions in the classroom to online, blended, and hybrid courses. As facilitators of learning, teachers will increasingly turn the process of teaching and learning into a partnership, with students and teachers constantly learning from each other. Self- learning will be seen as a bonus— and encouraged. Also, think about the online world where the greatest minds are just a click away and readily available. This open access has tremendous possibilities for many of our US underserved populations as well as third world countries. Pretty exciting, don’t you think?

I encourage you to take some time and think about your school or organization vision, mission, and anthem. Does it allow you to be nimble and change as the world changes? Remember: Leaders need to be consistently inconsistent. We have to constantly explore who we are and what we do! 


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