My Moment - Day 28 - Animal Control

If you have not gotten a chance to read my blog about my #oneword for 2016, check out Enjoy the Moment.

As I mentioned in my blog, my #oneword is a call to action for me to be mindful of the moments that make up my day. The moments at home, the moments at work and the moments that happen in between.

At the end of the work day, I always call my wife and let her know I am on my way home. Today was no different. I put my bags in the car and ventured north, knowing I had about 30 minutes to reflect on my day. As my wife and I exchanged moments that made up our day's, she shared we had a visit from Animal Control. I was a bit taken back, as we do not own any pets, but she continued to share that a gentleman from Animal Control had knocked on our door to serve us a disturbing the peace ticket, for what was apparently a loud barking dog. Someone had filed a complaint, using our address citing a loud barking dog. It took our son, Cooper, who is 4, to set the gentleman straight, by telling him, "We do not have a dog pet. We do not even have any pets." Taking Cooper at his word, the gentleman from Animal Control apologized and let us know to disregard the letter we would be receiving and he was on his way. Clearly an honest mistake...I hope. 

As I got off the phone, I couldn't help but wonder, how many times do I, as a leader head into a situation without the full story. Much like the gentleman from Animal Control, how often do I knock on a teacher's door with a predetermined outcome in mind, without knowing all of the facts? How often do I enter a conversation with a student, after only hearing one side of the story? I know it happens. I am guilty of it. I am led to think it happens because its easy. It takes time to listen, investigate and remain neutral through the process until you have both sides of the story. 

Earlier today a group of teachers and I were finalizing a plan for an upcoming professional learning session at school. As we worked through questions we wanted to ask and outcomes we were seeking, I reminded our team to presume the positive. Frame questions with the presumption teachers were already taking using these strategies and could contribute to the conversation as opposed to presenting as if no one was implementing the strategies and had nothing to share.

How could this same approach work with students? The next time a situation is brought to my attention, presume the positive. Give both sides of the story a chance to be heard. Listen to both sides intently before coming to a conclusion and making a decision. Too many decisions are made without taking the time to fully listen. 

We are in the throws of February. The dog days of summer, minus the summer. Patience is thin and stress is high. I know I will be doing myself a favor in presuming the positive. It helps me slow down. It reminds me to listen and it helps me gain perspective from all parties involved before jumping to conclusions and potentially making a poor decision or a decision I may regret. 

Don't be the Animal Control gentleman who shows up ready to write a ticket but has all the wrong information. 

What was your moment today? 

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