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I Don’t Take Her For Granted

Over the break we were fortunate enough to have the opportunity to go to Disney World. It was the trip of a lifetime. We ate a lot of good food. We saw several incredible shows. And my wife and kids got to go on many incredible rides. I get dizzy on a swing so I held the bags while they spun around and went up and down. Spending a week together in one room was not always easy for my two kids. But we all survived. Not without a few arguments between my two children, but that is to be expected. I have learned rather quickly that three-year old boys have a lot of energy. Sometimes my son’s energy was spent antagonizing his older sister.

I know she doesn’t always believe it and he doesn’t always show it. But he worships the ground she walks on. And for good reason. Our nine-year old daughter is the best big sister that any little boy could ever ask for. I am quite certain that he is learning more from her than he is from my wife and I combined. I don’t know what we are going to do when she goes off to college.

Just today as I was casually looking back at some photos from our Disney trip I noticed something. Something quite extraordinary really. In a span of about just ten minutes, my daughter modeled for me four keys to building strong relationships. Take a look at the photos below and see if you agree.


“I believe that if one always looked at the skies, one would end up with wings”

Gustave Flaubert

pointingWhile waiting for the boat to Hollywood Studios we had the opportunity to take in the incredible view. I’m not really sure what my daughter was pointing to, but as you can see she had my son’s attention.

As teachers and as leaders it is our job to inspire. One of the most powerful ways to do this is to show enthusiasm for the world around us. Sometimes others will see what we see. Other times we must point, so that they learn to see with new eyes.

Gain Their Trust

“Leap and the net will appear.”

John Burroughs

armsNot long after we arrived at the pier my son informed us that he had to use the restroom. We didn’t know if this would cause us to miss the boat, but obviously we could not have my son three-year old son wait. He and I were only gone for a few minutes. What you see above is the scene when we returned. The original photo was great. Yet, I decided to zoom in closer because I saw something beautiful. My son was running with his arms wide open. He clearly trusted his sister and she clearly has earned it.

The best lesson plans and the best school improvement plans are not worth much if the people that we are leading do not trust us. Earning trust takes time and oftentimes requires much lifting. We, like my daughter must be willing to bend our knees in preparation for…

Lift Them Up

“There is no better exercise for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.”

John Holmes

lift upOnce my son reached his sister he leaped into her arms. And as I mentioned above, she already had her knees bent in preparation for lifting him up. She was ready and it was clear that she had done this before. Now I’m not sure, but if you look carefully I think she has lifted him to her level, if not higher!

As leaders of students and adults we must make it our mission to lift them up. We have no control over where they are when they reach us. But we certainly have much to do with their final altitude. And if we’re good and a little bit lucky, maybe, just maybe we can lift to them to levels we ourselves have yet to reach.

Take Them By The Hand & Run

“Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind. “Pooh?” he whispered.
“Yes, Piglet?”
“Nothing,” said Piglet, taking Pooh’s hand. “I just wanted to be sure of you.”

A.A. Milne

taking offIn the end, my daughter took her brother by the hand and off they went. They were excited for the day ahead of them and they couldn’t wait for the fun to begin. As you can see the pier was a little wet, but they had each other’s hand in case either of them slipped.

The journey is never easy and we never know just how difficult that first step may be for some. It may be slippery and it may be long. And that is why we must be willing to take those we lead by the hand. Because hand in hand we will walk it together.

In the end I realize how lucky I am. Lucky to have captured photos of such beautiful moments. But more than anything I am lucky to have such an amazing daughter who I learn from daily. I don’t take her for granted.

4 comments on “I Don’t Take Her For Granted

  1. robudy79 says:

    Wow! I aspire to capture moments as beautifully as you have! As a baby brother to 3 sisters and a brother, I couldn’t help but think about how lucky I have been while reading your post. Well done!

  2. Wow, within a handful of minutes you captured some unique memories that not only tell the story of a loving sibling relationship but also describe the relationship, trust, and mission of educators too. Well done!

  3. Ben Gilpin says:

    Wonderful Jon! Bailey and Derek have a brother/sister bond that most parents wish for. What I appreciate is your perspective and thought. You always have a way to connect moments. Thanks for sharing and thanks for pushing the bar.


  4. Patti says:

    Your trip sounds wonderful. I wonder if we were on Disney property at the same time.
    Your blog was the perfect reminder to me…I have a couple if students who are struggling this week, as their break was not pleasant. I need to work harder at lifting them up and making them happy to be back with me at school.
    Your children are blessed to have such a great dad!

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