Reflection

First of all, Happy New Year everyone! I trust you all feel as rested, re-energized and rejuvenated to start another semester as I do. I’m looking forward to hearing all about your adventures and experiences next week when we gather together after the holiday. A three week break from students and each other certainly provides for a decent amount of reflection time, and that is what I want to briefly talk about this week……….the importance of reflection.

When people talk about the beginning of a New Year, the conversation inevitably turns to New Year’s Resolutions, and all the amazing changes that people are going to make in their lives. From quitting smoking, to getting in the best shape of their lives, to spending more time with family, or to being a better correspondent to old friends. We all start the year with super high expectations and a new commitment to a better life. For many people however, these resolutions are empty promises that for whatever reason seem to fade before we finish the climb to spring. So instead, I want to encourage everyone to think about some New Year’s Reflections, and to use the promise of a new year to better yourselves through a focus on the how and why of change, and through a commitment to purpose and meaning.

In my opinion, the act of reflection is the most important part of learning and growing as a person. Whether it’s personal or professional reflection, the power of looking back is paramount. Thinking about your actions, your beliefs, your attitudes toward others, your reaction to things that may not have gone your way, or even the way you see yourself, your worth and your value to others and the world……….this  is remarkably profound. Without reflection, the opportunity to discover yourself and your potential is lost. Taking the time to think about how you learn, how you teach, your relationships with students and colleagues, and how you can give every aspect of your life more meaning is a necessary step before you make those concrete resolutions.

I read a great quote over the break in a book by Daniel Pink that says, “meaning is the new money”. He was referencing the significant 21st century paradigm shift that’s happening all over the world whereby people are looking for self worth more intrinsically, and looking for true meaning in their lives, regardless of the extrinsic reward. This got me reflecting about my life, our school, the opportunities that we provide for our students and how we as a group can bring more meaning into all that we do. I re-watched an inspiring TED Talk over the holiday as well that ties in nicely to reflection and finding meaning in our lives. If you do anything this week, watch Brene Brown talk about vulnerability. Anyway, I will be sure to say stop by tomorrow and say Happy New Year in person. Remember to be great for our students and good to each other! Semester two……….here we come  🙂

Quote of the Week………..
Follow effective action with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action.
James Levin

Article #1 – The Power of Reflection The Power of Reflection
Poem – Life I am the New Year Life I am the New Year

TED Talk – Brene Brown on Vulnerability
http://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_on_vulnerability.html

About Daniel Kerr

Dan Kerr is now Lower School Director at the American School of Paris. He previously served as Intermediate Division Principal at Academia Cotopaxi American International School in Quito, Ecuador, and prior to that was the Middle School Principal at SCIS in Shanghai, China. Dan has also worked at JIS in Jakarta, Indonesia and he began his International career in Abu Dhabi. Dan is thrilled to be joining the ASP family and will be accompanied by his wife, Jocelyn, who will be working as a counselor, and his two children, Max and Gabby. 
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