I will never hesitate in sharing that I am a thinker. I think often and fill journals with countless thoughts and ideas. I won’t necessarily state its all worth reading, but is that not kind of the whole point? Truthfully, thinking is nothing more than peeling back the layers, and often the first layers need to be thrown away, much as the peel of the potato or the chipped paint before refinishing. Too often, we enter the thinking process, hell-bent on finding a solution, when in actuality thinking is meant as a much more open process. Frankly, it can be uncharted territory, especially for those of us who are highly motivated on the action-side!
When we allow thinking without boundaries it can often reveal that what we had originally thought was the problem is actually an effect of a far greater issue or even that the problem is actually the solution and we have just been wanting the wrong solution all along. Thinking is a process. A process which deserves respect, time, and even a place. Of all these aspects which influences the process of thinking and pondering I will hedge that PLACE is the most critical!
Why? When we carve a place for thinking it honors the process (respect) and forces us to venture away, even if ever so briefly, from the world we are ingrained in (time).
A mentor shared these thoughts with me that have stuck over the years, “There are those times I know I just need to get away. I drive my truck to my favorite overlook and Anthony, I will stay there for a few hours to think.” When I asked how often he would do this, he said at least twice week, more if he was busier. This confused me…so if you are busier you’ll take more time to get away and think? His answer rings so ever true, “It is in the busyness that we are more prone to miss the obvious or make significant mistakes which a little more processing time would have saved a multitude of effort.” His advice revealed a gap in someways from my free exercise of thinking in my youth; it felt that the busier I got the less time I could spend thinking and the more I needed to spend doing!
A few years later I can share that thinking has a carved place and time in my weekly, monthly, and yearly routine! Below are a few places I spend in my ponderings:
A Place for Weekly Gatherings and Bearings:
I call it my claimed “Thinking Spot”, at least once a week for about four hours I sit at the same spot at Mr. K’s. Typically, once my school year gets a going, it is Monday night where I prepare for the week, review my calendar and ponder of what needs to be done now, tomorrow, next week, and next month. It tees me up for deep work on future items that need some serious thinking dedication! Friends know this is a spot to find me so some will stop by to ask what I’m thinking about and many will join in the open brainstorm, which always excites me!
A Place for Secret Getaway from ALL Distractions:
Sometimes I just need to getaway and think! I don’t want anyone to know where I can be found (quite the opposite of my K’s seat) and I don’t want to be disturbed by the cell phone call or notification. This place is a short drive North in remote country, miles from a lived house and for all the times I’ve been there one vehicle is all I’ve seen and most importantly no cell service (I do have permission to be on the land!). Here I will sit for an hour to release and let my mind wander through the terraces of thoughts I’ve accumulated over the years, unintentionally weaving connections on various topics along the way! One of my favorite places to retreat and think…I hope each person has that place!
A Place for Inspiring and Dreaming:
Ever since I was a student at K-State, The Great Room in Hale Library has always been a revered place in my thinking sphere! It floods of nostalgia as I ponder upon all the great past thinkers who filled this room! Its captivating architecture, quite nature, and above all else its atmospheric vibes sets the tone for my annual deep dive! Here for the last few years I find a seat while reviewing my annual goals and then spend the time required in formulating my annual goals, five year goal, and ten year goal plans. The Great Room offers for me a place of limitless thinking potential, where there is no impossible expect that not dreamed!
A Place Where My Thinking Started:
This Summer was a special retreat…I returned to my home place of birth…it has been 21 years since I had been back there! I took this picture of a swing set that has been unchanged since I was a child. One of my first vivid memories as a child was swinging and experiencing the tickling of the gut that occurs on each pendulum swing! Yet, I found myself getting lost in my thoughts as I swung in an almost hypnotic state. My mother reflects with me often that she could quickly tell as a child when I became lost in my thoughts…she jokingly claims that she could see the steam exiting my ears as the wheels turned and then the ensuing of a thousand questions would commence. Sum of the story…thinkers don’t just happen…we truly are born 😉 !
As this new school year gets under way, I thought it particularly relevant to discuss the topic of thinking, because that is something I’ve been doing a lot lately as I ponder how we craft meaningful and lasting learning experiences for our youth at Blue Valley! This is my first year as a Principal and transitioning into this role has left me scrambling to find my notes and journals from my youth to consider the perspectives and thoughts I held when I was of high school age to remind myself of the impact I had hoped those in the position to do so would act on!
If you are a prayer warrior I ask for your pouring of blessing and prayer on our youth, families, staff, and community of Blue Valley High School in Randolph, KS! Our Father has appointed this as a special year in his promised land! Thank you for reading and sharing, take care my friends!