One Day You Might Not Be There To Answer The Knock


“Doesn’t Olaf realize he would melt?”

This was the question posed to me by my daughter after we watched Frozen for about the 30th time. She is eight years old, and quite bright, so I am fairly certain she knows the answer to her question.

For those that have yet to see this Disney masterpiece, Olaf is a cute and lovable snowman who steals every scene he is in with his humor and carefree ways.

At one point in the movie Olaf bursts into song about what he imagines summer to be like and all of the fun he will have when he finally does get to experience one.

The characters that are witnessing Olaf’s song and dance are incredulous because they realize that he could not possibly survive summer without melting. At one point they even ask him if he has ever experienced summer. To which he replies no.

I think what makes Olaf so endearing, besides his humor, is that he is able to see the world what for what it could be. He is not going to let anyone or anything stop him from dreaming.

Does he know that he probably couldn’t survive the summer? Most likely. But he’s not letting on, and more importantly, he’s not letting up.

It is this type of beautiful spirit that we must continue to cultivate in our students, our staffs and ourselves. We each have so much untapped potential that is being saddled either by self-doubt or limits that others put upon us.

wilma rudolph

At the age of 4 Wilma Rudolph contracted infantile paralysis and had to wear a brace on her left leg and foot until she was 9. By the time she was 12 she had survived bouts of polio and scarlet fever. These obstacles did not cause her to limit her dreams. Instead she persevered and went on to become the fastest woman in the world winning three gold medals at the 1960 Olympics in Rome. Just imagine what we would have missed out on had she allowed others to saddle or limit her potential.


Victor Frankl was a Holocaust survivor who spent much time in unbearable conditions as an inmate in a Nazi concentration camp. Through all that he had to bear he was able to maintain his spirit and was famous for his ability to always have a positive outlook on life.


I’d like to close by discussing where I think we can play our biggest role. Oftentimes we witness colleagues or students who truly do not know what they are capable of achieving. Either that or they are scared to take the leap. It is our job to push them. Sometimes gently and sometimes firmly to the edge so that they have a chance to test their wings.

I truly believe that there are times in life when we must intervene and help people take that first step that they may not be able to take by themselves.

I can’t help but think of the two main characters in Good Will Hunting played by Ben Affleck and Matt Damon. They are best friends who both make a living working at a construction site. For Affleck’s character this okay because this probably is about all that he is capable of. But, Damon’s character is actually a mathematical genius, and Affleck believes that it is insulting to all those that aren’t that he wastes his talent working on a construction site. Below is Affleck’s speech which I believe turns out to be one of the most powerful scenes of the movie:


good will hunitng you owe me


“Every day I come by your house and I pick you up. We  have a few drinks and a few laughs and it’s great. You know what the best part of my day is? For about ten seconds from when I pull up to the curb til’ when I get to your door. Because I think maybe I’ll get up there and knock on the door and you won’t be there. No good-bye. No see ya’ later. No nothing. Just left. I dont’ know much, but I do know that.”

My question for you, for me, is when will the day come when someone comes knocking at our door, but we are not there to answer the knock? We are not there because we have taken that leap of faith. Or more importantly, when we help someone else to do the same? And, regardless of the outcome we will know that the leap was worth it.


if you couldnt fail


1 Comment »

  1. Well said Jon. It immediately reminds me of a time I had a little over four years ago. I had just finished up the school year and I was entering “Dad” mode. Then an article in the newspaper caught my attention. The headline read, “Warner Elementary Principal Resigns In An Effort To Be Closer To Home.” I then read the article and saw that applications would be accepted through Friday (it was Monday). I pondered it, but didn’t do a thing. That night as my wife read the paper she stumbled upon the same article. She innocently asked, “Did you see this opening in the Western School District?” I told her I did. She asked if I was going to apply, I simply responded with a shrug of the shoulders.

    Later that week (Thursday night to be exact). I decided to step out of my comfort zone and at the very least submit my resume. I worked deep into the night and final had something that I believed was thorough and represented me. That next morning I dragged my feet until 11:30 (the deadline was noon). I finally drove in and submitted it at 11:55.

    Looking back I can say, “What was I afraid of…being told no?” Or was it simply stepping out of my comfort zone?

    Your post brought back memories for me. Thanks for posting and sharing.

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