Back to her cookies, over the years I have attempted to modify how they are made. I usually use my amazing stand mixer, and I am constantly trying to make them healthier with better flours, applesauce and oil instead of shortening, and by using a scoop instead of rolling them into a ball. And you can probably guess the result: the old way is worlds better in this instance.
Clearly, the old way is not always better – I would not want to go back to a time where surgeries were performed without sanitization. I like electricity and running water. I enjoy making the 50-mile drive to my mom’s in one hour compared to the days it would take with a horse and wagon. There are so many modern conveniences for which I am thankful, but I keep thinking about the cookies and the birthday cards. Both of those “old” traditions are still so good. I use a bowl just like my grandma’s to make her cookies, and today my arm got just a bit sore when stirring in that last cup of flour because I am stronger. She and life gave me that.
There are so many things I can take from the above story that shape the way I think, even about what I hope for the school district. Here are just a few:
- Our retired community can help us achieve greater excellence. We have a huge asset in our retired community. They can teach us and our students so much. Their desire to invest in future generations can positively impact not only student success but will provide meaningful relationships for students who may need some extra care.
- Tradition is not a bad thing. Sometimes “the way we have always done it” IS the best way. I do not support throwing out the “old” just for the sake of progress. It is important to weigh carefully the time-honored traditions that have made our district strong while considering how to prepare our students to succeed in the rapidly changing 21st Century.
- Success can be defined many ways. A college degree is not the only way to define success. My grandparents were extremely successful farmers. Neither of them had a bit of formal education beyond high school. There is great need for people to work in the trades, and some of us are just better equipped to work in different types of occupations. I would love to see our district make progress in helping our students figure out which path is best for them and making the trades a larger part of what we do.
- Wisdom and kindness go a long ways. My grandpa and grandma never spent their money frivolously, and they were always good to their neighbors. They had to learn critical thinking and problem solving in order to make things work on the farm – without the use of Google or YouTube videos (can you imagine?). They also helped their neighbors in crisis without question.