The one word challenge has now become a tradition for me. This means choosing a singular word to help focus and refine my thinking for the new year. Last year I focused on the word “strength” the year before was the word “small.” Superintendent Kennedy has selected the word “focus” this year.
My word for 2022 is “simplify.” This word resonates with me this year for many reasons both personally and professionally and I’d like to share a little bit of my thinking around this choice.
Firstly, I’d like to acknowledge that simple does mean easy. For example, we all know that losing weight requires us to move more and eat less…simple, but not easy. But, if we can break down complex ideas, tasks, or goals into their simplest elements we are one step closer to reaching our end goal.
Marie Kondo shot to fame over the last few years as a tidying expert with her philosophy that if an item doesn’t spark joy or speak to your heart thank it for its service and let it go. You choose what to keep because it sparks joy. You simplify the space around you. What a simple and inspirational idea! How can we integrate a little bit of that thinking into our daily lives?
While not everything in life sparks joy (getting my oil changed in my car, my email inbox), I’ve begun to examine how I can simplify and focus on the simple pleasures that enhance my life. Here is what has made the list:
- Curled up on the couch with a good book and my dog
- A hike in the woods with my family
- A home cooked meal made with a few fresh ingredients
- And in the summer, a lazy paddle in the ocean on my paddle board
At school, this same concept applies. The simple (but not always easy) elements are most important. Connecting, engaging, and inspiring our students are the fundamentals. If we are not getting those right, then the learning will not happen. When working with teachers and students through a problem, often the simplest solution is the best. If we find that a routine or a lesson is not working or issues keep popping up, it is usually because we have unnecessarily complicated something.
As parents, I encourage you to focus on the simple things that can have a big impact on your family. Here are a few ideas that might inspire you and make your simple list:
- Eat dinner together as a family more often than not
- Bake a batch of cookies or muffins with your kids
- Play cards together (our family favourite is Crib)
- Go for a walk
Seeking simplicity is most certainly not a unique or new idea, but it is my one-word for myself this year. What is yours?