In my last blog post I talked about the concept of “swinging lambs,” a practice used when a lamb is born with breathing problems where one grasps the lamb firmly and swings it aggressively in an arc several times in order that centrifugal force will expel the fluid in the lungs. The caution is to make sure you have a good grip on the lamb to avoid throwing it out of the barn. I also talked about the need to throw some “lambs” out of the barn, no matter how much we love them.
How to do we do that when the beloved lamb is a worn-out program that exists in our school? We all have those programs: meaningless award assemblies, labs or libraries that sit unused while taking up valuable space, or policies that no longer fit the task at hand and yet continue because “we’ve always done it that way.”
This case study is offered as a discussion starter. The incident happened. The names are changed, but the facts are straight from the principal’s mouth. How did it end? I’m holding that, for now. How should it end? What reasons would you offer for that decision? Discuss this case with colleagues in leadership.
When the phone call came, Linda remembered she had greeted the caller with a “Hey, how are ya!” because she recognized the caller’s name as a school parent. She also remembered that the digital clock on her desk read 1:32 p.m. But the vibrato in the caller’s voice stopped her cold. Jack, the caller, was a mortician; he said, “I’m sorry, Linda, but I’ve got bad news. One of your students killed himself with a shot gun. Linda, I’m sorry, but Joe Massey is dead.” Jack advised her to find a way to tell the students before they heard about it another way. She had hung up, immediately pulled the school’s two counselors into her office, and wondered out loud what to do.
It’s no secret to anyone that knows me well that my dream retirement job is farming. I want to own a small piece of land raising sheep, goats, and chickens and be as self-sufficient as possible. As I prepare for that eventuality, I have been reading books on shepherding, veterinary medicine, and other interesting topics.
I was reading about lambing procedures when one technique, used when a lamb is born with breathing problems, caught my eye. “Grasp the lamb firmly and swing it aggressively in an arc several times in order that centrifugal force will expel the fluid in the lungs. Make sure you have a good grip on the lamb to avoid throwing it out of the barn.” Wow. I can hardly wait for that.
To begin this school year, I would like to revisit the basics of biblical worldview. I invite all of you to assess your school in at least two important areas: to what extent do you intend to integrate these principles into your practice, and to what extent are you actually doing so?