We will never start getting the types of changes we want in school safety until we start seeing, presenting, and treating it differently!
Christopher Sommer, Olympian trainer, made an incredibly profound statement. He said to stop thinking that you need to diet and lose weight, but instead think that you must eat and train.
Don’t diet and lose weight. Eat and train. Fantastic!
The sayings that tend to make the most sense and produce the greatest personal benefits, are often unassuming, subtle, nuanced, and focused on changing perspective. This one has all of that.
Without a doubt, the most important thing is not what’s happening to you but what’s happening inside you. This simple flip of perspective could have enormous health value for thousands, maybe millions. I also think it can be of immense value to us when it comes to school safety.
Dieting is about stopping behaviors, denying yourself, eating less so you will lose weight. While the goal is worthy, it’s uninspiring because it’s a negative. “Don’t eat this and never eat that.”
Eating and training is positive. It orients you towards doing something that’s good for you instead of simply stopping something negative. Yes, you will have to stop certain behaviors but it gives you a goal that is bigger than just a number on a scale. “I want to run three miles so I need to eat the right way and train so that I can become stronger.” While this is also restrictive and will require a change in how you are eating, it’s inspiring because it’s a positive.
At the heart of this is the question of suffering. Both diet and weight loss and eating and training requires suffering. Suffering is not the worst thing in this world. The worst thing is to suffer without meaning or to suffer with little meaning. Dieting is a lot of suffering with less meaning. Eating and training is suffering with more meaning. We as humans are driven by passion and meaning. The more meaning we can give something the more it fills us with passion and therefore the more we can endure and accomplish.
So what does this have to do with school safety?
School safety is just like dieting. No one wants to do it because it’s restrictive and depressing and while the goal is worthy, it’s uninspiring because it’s a negative.
Instead, we must think of school safety like eating and training.
Don’t order a person to stand outside in the morning or teachers to stand in the halls because someone needs to do it or because it will help with school safety. That’s dieting—that’s a negative!
Instead, ask for volunteers to help you greet the students in the bus loop and for teachers to stand in the halls because you want every student to feel loved! Explain that positive engagement not only gives the students an excellent example that they can follow in life, but it will also enrich their day academically, emotionally, and socially. Then, add that by increasing our supervision of the students we will also make them and our school much safer.
This is not an attempt to manipulate anyone or hide the fact that we must do school safety. It’s just the opposite. This is an attempt to transform school safety because the way we do it now is painful and reaping small results…like dieting.
There is no way around it—we must all do school safety. That’s not even in debate. The only question is can we do it better? And the answer is absolutely we can but first we must see it differently.
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