A Place Where Success Can Reside

January 8, 2020


Our family purchased a small fishing boat last year and had an absolute blast taking it out on the lake over the summer months. Once winter started to rear its head, we pulled the boat from the water and parked it outside. And because we live in Minnesota, this means the boat and trailer have been collecting snow ever since.


Recently, my wife and I wanted to move the trailer, so we did what any novice boat owners would do. We called our three young kids outside to help us push the boat. But here’s the thing…we were trying to push it up a slight incline in icy conditions.


After 45 minutes, the boat had moved less than two feet and we had learned a valuable lesson. The lesson is called "How to NOT move a boat."


After my back (and ego) recovered, I reflected on the science involved in our epic boat-moving failure. Even when a heavy object is on wheels, it can be incredibly challenging to push uphill. And it didn’t help that we were slipping and sliding around on ice the whole time either.


Traction matters.


The conditions matter.


The direction we’re pushing matters.


And all of these things apply to the work we’re doing as educators. Does your work ever feel like trying to push a boat uphill? Or maybe it feels more like going the wrong way up an escalator?


When I wrote Reclaiming Our Calling, I wanted to help provide educators like us traction. The stories and strategies interspersed throughout the book will help you create the conditions that make meaningful change possible.


When we create a culture where success can reside, results will follow.


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Dr. Brad Gustafson is an elementary principal, author, and speaker. He believes schools can be spaces where creativity and innovation thrive, but only when we prioritize relationships and a relevant, connected pedagogy. 


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