Without a Doubt – To the creative mind come the spoils
January 28, 2010
Like many of you, I wear several hats within the community, and one of those is labeled school board member. If you are remotely associated with the public school in your community, you know your local school district is facing significant budget cuts for at least the next couple of fiscal years.
The state is required to have a balanced budget and there has been a serious shortfall of revenue over the past couple of years. You know from your household budgeting process that when revenue decreases, expenses must be cut. Education comprises 43 percent of the state’s budget, so it isn’t hard to deduce that the money that goes to education will be reduced – significantly. In fact, the Legislature is seeking to reach back a year and take money from this year’s budget.
When the state money was allocated last year, districts were told to set a portion of that money to the side because it might be “recalled.” It looks pretty inevitable that that will be the case.
I was at a regional school board meeting on Monday night in Steamboat Springs. A report on this year’s legislation was given and the picture was not sunny. The theme I heard was that money will be reduced but, thanks to a couple of pending bills in the mill, it sounds like there may be more unfunded mandates rolling downhill.
I must admit that my mind started to wander a bit. It is fruitless to remain angry. That just leads to bitterness, and that leads to poor eating and sleeping habits. To remain angry rarely leads to productive solutions.
Adversity always separates the wheat from the chaff. It is also the time when the greatest changes are made. Change never happens unless what you are doing becomes more uncomfortable than what you could be doing. Adversity has a way of bringing us face to face with the necessity of change.
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To attack the current situation with current methods and expect the outcome to change could be described as a sure path to insanity. It is time for us to become creative thinkers and bold risk-takers. It is time for us to be willing to do things differently.
In general terms, I believe the biggest roadblock to doing things differently is that it means an individual or group must be willing to risk losing what they already have. To do that, almost by definition, you must be convinced that what you propose to do will benefit somebody else. And only when others are benefited, will you truly realized the reward for your sacrifice.
It is the complete opposite of egocentric thinking, which results from the unfortunate fact that humans do not naturally consider the rights and needs of others. Egocentric thinking, in my opinion, may be the biggest malaise that has infiltrated our society.
I started this discussion about education. I think it is time to view this situation as a time to not only survive but to thrive. It is time to think about what can be instead of what no longer exists or what we don’t have. That type of thinking doesn’t have to be confined to education. It can also be applied to business, to family and to relationships.
In the movie Apollo 13, when it looks that disaster is imminent, some people in the command center start to prepare damage control plans. Flight control officer Gene Kranz (played by actor Ed Harris) overhears the talk and makes a statement that reflects the type of thinking I believe is necessary when faced with adversity.
“With all due respect, I believe this will be our finest hour.”