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Jul 30, 2009

The joy of planning

This week, I was able to do some preparations for the next year, which included scheduling, planning, thinking over our priorities and objectives. Why is this fun, exactly, I don't know, but it is. Part of it is the seasonal buzz we all get when sensing the beginning of a new school year. By "we" I mean people working in education. Each new school year brings its own energy to us. Each new school year is a chance to start from scratch, to meet new students, to rework that course, to do something different. Another part of it is the permission to let one's imagination loose. Planning is like writing fiction: it has to believable, but it does not have to be true. A plan is not a promise, it is only a pledge to try, intent to achieve. It feels both powerful and irresponsible, like a game.

Of course, in the next few days, I will have to turn on the critical side of my brain and scrutinize everything – can this be realistically achieved? Who is going to do it? When? What is more important? By the time I come with a draft to the School retreat, it will be a much more realistic document. And then we will do the same exercise together – from what we would like to do, to what we really have to do, and what we can possibly achieve. It is like working on a puzzle: different people's interests, strength, and commitments can be put together in one more or less coherent picture; it just takes some work, and some persistence. And because we are so different, so uniquely shaped, finding areas that lock together is its own special work/play. Nothing is more satisfying than seeing someone enjoy what one's doing and at the same time contribute to the common good. When we succeed in helping each other do that, we all are better off. When we try to make everyone the same, we fail. Appreciating of each other's profound weirdness is probably the strongest communal bond.

This playing with alternative realities is just interesting to experience. I am not sure if I am describing it well, but I which more people would take more time just imagining the future – the near future and the long shot.

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