Byron's Babbles

Every Human Interaction Is Eternally Important

Hamilton Heights (Indiana) Teacher Leader Academy participants making leadership parfaits

I have spent this entire week working in schools with teacher leadership academies or facilitating strategic planning. Spending time with everyone in a school setting is incredible. I absolutely love the interactions I have now in the work I do, but I do miss the daily interaction with students I had in the classroom as a teacher. Yesterday, I was reminded of this by the phrase, “Megs, every human interaction Is eternally important.” This comment from C.S. Lewis to Megs Devonshire in the historical fiction novel, Once Upon A Wardrobe, by Patti Callahan Henry made me reflect on just how important every interaction really is; even if just a smile or simple hello. The word “every” is very important in this phrase. Those interactions can truly make or break someone. This phrase reminded me, and I hope it does you too, of the value and significance of human connection and the impact it can have on our lives and the lives of those around us.

When I was in the classroom as a teacher I would shake every scholar’s hand before they entered the classroom. This was an important ritual that was extremely important and meaningful to both my students and myself. This interaction allowed me to really know the student in the context of that moment. You can learn a lot about a person when you shake their hand. Particularly if you have a meaningful relationship with that person and interact with them every day. The phrase “every human interaction is eternally important” suggests that each interaction we have with others is significant and has a lasting impact. In Once Upon A Wardrobe, C.S. Lewis was emphasizing to Meg, the importance of our relationships and connections with others, and encourages us to approach each interaction with care and consideration. Focusing on building genuine connections and being present in the moment can lead to more fulfilling relationships and experiences.


Understanding The Narratives

Posted in Educational Leadership, Global Leadership, Leadership, Leadership Development, Relationships by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on April 18, 2023

I am reading Bruce Arian’s great book, The Quarterback Whisperer: How To Build An Elite NFL Quarterback. In the book he stresses that all important leadership trait of building relationships. He reminded us it important to understand the narratives of peoples’ lives. This is a crucial, and sometimes forgotten part of building relationships. Understanding the narratives of people’s lives is crucial for a number of reasons. First, it allows us to empathize with and relate to others, which is essential for building strong and meaningful relationships. Additionally, we need to understand the experiences and perspectives of those we serve.

Understanding the narrative of others’ lives also helps us to broaden our own perspectives and challenge our preconceived notions, which can lead to personal growth and new ways of thinking. Ultimately, understanding people’s narratives is essential for fostering greater understanding and improving our ability to help those we serve.

The Synchronized Team

Posted in Communication, Educational Leadership, Global Leadership, Leadership, Leadership Development, Relationships, Trust by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on December 22, 2022

“The camp worked together like a synchronized team.” This was the wagon master speaking of the group he was leading westward in Book 2 of Threads West An American Saga: Maps of Fate by the award winning historical fiction author Reid Lance Rosenthal. As I read that line I imagined the pioneers as synchronous swimmers, floating around their wagons, oxen, horses, and cooking fires, practicing marksmanship for those new to firearms, and getting all the important things done. Like, cooking food, greasing and tightening wagon wheel axles, making jerky from a freshly harvested deer, or the myriad of other duties necessary for a very long and arduous journey to be successful. I imagined every person having some role they were particularly good at and then learning new skills as they chipped in and helped each other. A synchronized team, just like in synchronized swimming, consists of differing roles or dimensions that are balanced to ensure success.

In synchronized swimming the choice of music and choreography enhance the team’s performance and highlighting of the best attributes of team members. The wagon master had displayed this leadership skill by building relationships with those he was leading, allowing him to understand strengths, weaknesses, and skills. This allowed him to choreograph each stop to be perfectly synchronized. Everyone had to move together and everyone had to be able function together as a team. Sound familiar? This is what all our teams need to do. So what are the keys? Here’s what the wagon master taught us:

  1. Build relationships
  2. Have a shared vision/goal
  3. Build trust
  4. Create transparency and accountability
  5. Understand each others’ strengths
  6. Communication

Are you serving as a good leadership wagon master?

Knitting Relationships

Posted in Educational Leadership, Global Leadership, Leadership, Leadership Development, Relationships, Trust by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on December 18, 2022

Relationships have always mattered. This past week I was complimenting a school team I work with and the superintendent said, “Well, it always comes back to the relationships we’ve built and are building.” Those are such true words and a reminder that building relationships is a top of the list item for us to always be working on. I am reading Book 2 of Threads West An American Saga: Maps of Fate by the award winning historical fiction author Reid Lance Rosenthal. In this book the wagon master told the group he was leading west that, “groups where everyone gets to know each other are more likely to cover each other’s back.” That covering of each other’s backs was pretty important during the 1850’s migration westward. But, it is just as important today as we navigate through the 21st century.

Me & Reid Lance Rosenthal

Great relationships bring with them an implicit trust that increases the opportunity for collaboration and cooperation. These relationships many times turn into intelligence communities that could potentially solve the world’s most complex problems. What I really believe the superintendent above was saying was that the people around us help us make better decisions. We in turn, can also help them make better decisions. Now, back to the wagon train. I can’t imagine taking that several month journey westward. But, I really can’t imagine taking it without the building of relationships. Really, that is one of the great things that Rosenthal brings out. People of uncommon origins form bonds and relationships that weave together to explore and innovate in an unknown land. It really is, as Rosenthal told me when I visited with him last month, “Our story.” Actually, getting to know Rosenthal has made reading the books even more meaningful. I got to know him and about his motivation for writing the books. Again, relationships matter!

I’ve heard it said that we are “human beings” not “human resources.” So true! As I read about the knitting (🧶 pun intended) of relationships, I am reminded of how every relationship, good or bad, matters. As I read about some of the relationships I kept yelling, “Get away from them!” And for others I would say, “Get closer.” Reid was right; this is our story. We need to lean into those strong relationships and get away from those that are bringing us down. Happy knitting!