The Power of Hope

Hope sounds like such a lame topic to include here, but it is actually the most powerful force we have for changing education.  It seems so obvious, yet it is often overlooked and not given its imperative attention and place.

When building a parent engagement process, whether it is just a meet-and-greet or a huge campaign to create massive changes, hope is what everything depends on.  Everyone involved has hope, and yet it so obvious it is too often ignored as a centering focus.  Leaders must create organizational strength.  To do this we need to grow unity.  Hope is at the very core of all parents and teachers, and the reason children should trust the education system.  Hope is the thing everyone can agree on.  And, in a world of social media where viral complaining and opining encourages people to voice their dissension, gaining consensus, agreement, collaborative intention, and unity of force is one of the most challenging parts of parent engagement.

But, when we begin with the one thing everyone can agree on, we can find another, and another until we have an organizational identity - a platform - that lets people know what they are joining and supporting.  Hope is such a necessary and basic commodity in these arenas.  It is like asking everyone in the room. "Who likes to breathe air?"  But, it is also something we can lose sight of and erode.  It is something that can be defeated by a lack of progress, a lack of purpose, a lack of fueling.  Imagine if breathing depended upon a group's unity and achievement, it would become a constant goal, wouldn't it?

Fueling hope is easy at first.  A few rah-rah speeches and people will get excited.  What matters most though is building a sustainable flow of fuel into the organization.  To do this hope must be kept center stage while the activities and events of the organization go on around it.  When something occurs that gives a surge of hope, it needs to be noticed, publicly acknowledged, studied, and repeated.

Achievements fuel hope.  Groups and organizations that do not achieve something noteworthy and appreciated struggle to maintain membership.  Group leaders serve the current members, as well as future members, by pointing the group toward achieving substantial and impactful outcomes.  What is needed?  What is possible?  What matters most now, and what will matter most in the years to come?  Leaders live at the hub of all information sources and must carefully choose which path to pursue.  The result of a good choice will fuel the organization; increasing its unity and power.  A responsible, smart leader realizes this is what is at stake, and works to point the group at good choices so the organization will grow, and grow, and grow.  This is the power of hope and the reason it is the first element.

Without soil to stand on, till, plant, and build upon, there is nothing.  Hope is the soil.

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