Friday Focus – 12-20-2019

Dear Team,

Don’t blink, because the next time we are all together it will be a new year!

But not just a new year — a new decade. We are already entering the third decade of the 21st Century. How does that make you feel? Excited? Contemplative? Old?!

It makes me feel all of those things. It’s hard to wrap my mind around the fact that we’re entering the year 2020. And while, as a kid, I thought we’d all have our own flying cars by now (a lá The Jetsons), in reality, technology and progress have changed the world in ways we couldn’t have even imagined a few decades ago. But for all that has changed, many things have remained the same: the human spirit; our ability to build each other up or tear one another down; our need for love and acceptance.

The beginning of a new year is a time of reflection for most of us. We set goals for physical fitness, promise ourselves we’ll spend more time with family or on self-care, make a list of all the books we’ll read. But if a new year makes us think about little changes we should make, how should we approach the start of a brand new decade?

I think we should take this once-every-ten-year opportunity and supersize our resolutions. Think about who we want to be, not just for the next year, but for the next 10 years. What’s interesting about the time we’re living in now is that most of us are chronicling our daily lives on social media. We are creating a permanent record of our experiences and feelings. What will yours say about you when you look back on it with the perspective of years? Or perhaps more importantly, when your children or grandchildren do. I’m not advocating for or against sharing on social media, but I would encourage those that use it (like me) to think about the totality of the story you’re telling. Is it a happy one? A positive one? Does it reflect what you want to be remembered for?

I hope so. If not, maybe you can think about what you need to change in your life to not only project a positive story, but to actually live one. They say the holiday season is one of milagros (Spanish for miracles). The word “believe” is synonymous with this time of year. And miracles are a source of all we celebrate in December. But as educators — and that includes everyone in Round Rock ISD because we all play an important role in our students’ school experience — we are in the business of miracles all year long. What we do can change the life trajectory of a child. You are a part of that and that means you are making a difference with your life. You have a positive story to tell.

So I hope you take some time as you rest up for the second half of the 2019-2020 school year to reflect on this past decade, celebrate your successes, mourn your losses, and recall memories that make you smile. Then, think about all you’ve learned from those experiences and how they can help you be a better person in 2020 and beyond. What will you resolve to make your life story one you’re proud of?

Mine is easy. In just a few short weeks, I will become a grandfather. The miracle of baby Luna provides the chance to begin again with a brand new human being. I resolve to be present, to prioritize my family, and to never take for granted time spent with loved ones because, as most of us know, it is fleeting. Unfortunately, as a father, my hope is that I didn’t learn that too late. There’s a lot of truth in my favorite Kenny Chesney song:

Don’t blink. Just like that you’re six years old and you take a nap and you wake up and you’re twenty-five and your high school sweetheart becomes your wife.
Don’t blink. You just might miss your babies growing like mine did. Turning into
Moms and Dads next thing you know your “better half” of fifty years is there in bed and you’re praying God takes you instead. Trust me friend a hundred years goes faster than you think. So don’t blink.

I hope you all have a wonderful, restful and safe winter break. I’ll see you all in 2020. My hope for our #rrisd1family? That 2020 affords the opportunity to be your best year ever so that you can be the best you ever!

Get as much rest as possible and don’t blink!

Thanks for reading. I’ll write again soon.

Respectfully,

Steve Flores, Ph.D.
Superintendent of Schools