Saturday, March 5, 2016

Principals and Principles

About 3 years ago we learned that our elementary school principal was retiring.  I was really bummed because I thought she had done a fantastic job there.  I didn't have much interaction with her since I spent little time at the school back then.  From what I could tell she ran a tight ship and my kids came home from school happy everyday. Two important pluses as far as I was concerned.  One of the things I loved about her was how she had a gentle control over the students and their behavior.  To quiet them down at the start of an assembly all she had to do is raise her hand and there was silence.  It was almost as if she had the Force of a Jedi.

Soon after, I learned that the superintendent would be coming to a PTA meeting to listen to the parents about what kind of principal they hoped would be hired.  This was my chance to help find a suitable replacement.

When we got there, we were handed a survey with about 20 traits for a principal.  We were to number them in order of importance to us from 1-20.  The list consisted of things such as:

-advance the school's technology
-past experience
-good communicator
-increase after school programs

The list went on and on, but you get the idea.  If I remember correctly, after we filled out our survey, we were asked to state our first three traits that were most important to us .

Out loud.  In front of everyone.  I still remember shaking.  Literally.  I was unaccustomed to hearing my voice in public places.  But I was confident in my #1 trait and darn-it, I was getting it out there.

I was one of the last to go and not one person who had gone ahead of me agreed with me in their top 3 answers.  How could I be so dumb to not pick a "popular" trait?  I still remember my voice shaking as I spoke up.  It went like this:

"I chose Character as my #1, because if he or she has character, everything else will fall into place."

It took a good 10 minutes to recover from that public speaking. I remember feeling the cerebral-spinal fluid rushing around my brain.  (that happens to me when I'm nervous; is that normal?)

Back then I didn't understand why no one had that trait of Character in their Top 3.  I don't think it was because they lacked character.  In hindsight, I just think they were probably too focused on their wants and needs than to see anything past that.

Surely people care about a leader's character.  But these days, especially with the presidential election looming, it appears that a lot of people don't.  Could we be too focused on ourselves than seeing the big picture?

For this election I've had my favorites.  For some reason, the candidates I have liked have consistently been at the low end of the polls. In other words, the ones who I thought showed the most character have been at the low end of the polls.  Most have dropped out.

Either people don't care about character, or the meaning of good character for other people is completely different than mine.

I've been told that voting for the party is what matters regarding electing judges, upholding conservative issues, or at the very least, voting the "lesser of two evils." I get it.  But at the same time, I am a firm believer in "The ends does not justify the means."

The ends does not justify the means.

If I vote for someone who I believe has zero character, what does that say about MY character?  This is definitely something I've been struggling with over the last few months. 

One thing I do know is this:

I'm going to keep that in mind when I stand in that voter's booth.

And in case you were wondering, our current school principal is not at all like the previous one, yet she is the right person for the job because she has character, such as honesty, integrity, dependability, loyalty, enthusiasm, etc. (and just to make my point, her bumper sticker proves we are on opposites sides of the political spectrum.....yet, she still has my "vote.")

Coming can be done.  One Nation Under God, Indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for All.

Common sense doesn't hurt either.


  1. LOVE this! I agree with all of it, Kathleen. Character is so so so important. I was asking why so many of our friends didn't vote for a particular candidate (out of many who are running for the GOP) and he stated matter of factly, because he lied about an important issue and is wishy washy with his faith. Character. (I just want someone who loves God first and our country after that.)

  2. There you go again...inspiring me!
    Challenging me to think deeper and search farther.
    Thanks for that.
    Have a cozy week.
    Hope you are all feeling well.

  3. Hi Kathleen! Good for you for standing up, rushing ears and all, and sharing what's important to you! I wonder if more people didn't choose 'character' because they're not sure what that means? Or if they do, it's been shoved behind other priorities, which as you said, seem more important at the time.

    I love this post because you are passing along what you are passionate about, and I appreciate your thoughts. Certainly this election for president is...well...CRAZY if you ask me! What happened to character? Or even sanity? Phew. May God bless us with a good leader, as He did with your new principal.
    Have a wonderful Tuesday!

  4. Great post, Kathleen! Character matters to me as well and it's hard for me to understand why certain candidates are so popular. I can't even imagine what I will do at the polls if this continues to play out the way it has been. It's a problem for a lot of us I see. (Love the title of your post!)

  5. Here's your bumper sticker - 2016 Vote Character not Characters!

    As your bro I appreciate the addition education on the medical part of my public anxiety.

    Nice Work!

  6. These are beautiful and encouraging thoughts. Today it seems character is not given as much importance as it should. Thanks for this post.