One by one the cars roll by, doors open and they step out with a smile of anticipation and a quick window check to ensure they are dressed to impress. Each one holds the deep desire to be noticed and known. No, it’s not the red carpet arrivals at the Logies but this scene plays out in the ‘kiss and go’ zone each morning as children and staff arrive at our schools. For some, the day is filled with opportunity, excitement, joy and friendship. The morning may have also involved caring for siblings or parents, a loud argument or leaving home without breakfast or money for lunch. The reality is that some of our students and staff don their personal suit of armour to feel safe, be insulated from concerns and protect themselves to focus on the day ahead. The gift of a simple smile upon arrival and a ‘thank you for coming’ can provide the assurance of welcome.
Leaders are the guardians of spaces that allow students and staff to breathe, be curious and explore the world and be who they are. Students and staff deserve a place where they can ‘rumble with vulnerability’ and their hearts can exhale. What we can do, and what we are ethically called to do as leaders, is create a space in our schools and classrooms where all students and staff can walk in and, for that day or hour, take off the weight of their armour, hang it on a rack, and open their heart to truly being seen. We should never underestimate the benefit of having a place to belong, where they can take off their armour. It can and often does change the trajectory of their life.
Vulnerability does not equal weakness. Luke shares the events of an encounter between Jesus and the Pharisees in the synagogue as we join Jesus in a moment of authentic vulnerability. Jesus clearly understands the law and knows that he is being watched closely to be judged, yet He ‘shows up and rumbles with vulnerability’ to value and care for the needs of another person. In this moment, Jesus models living core values, braving trust and learning to rise through a challenge. Brené Brown believes that the foundational skill set of courage-building is ‘rumbling with vulnerability’ and that you can’t get to courage without daring leadership. Brené provides an opportunity for self-reflection through the Daring Leadership Assessment tool.
Once we have built these rumbling skills, we can move on to the other three skill sets: Living into Our Values, Braving Trust, and Learning to Rise. Our ability to be daring leaders will never be greater than our capacity for vulnerability. Are you ready to rumble?
Blessings as we serve, lead and learn together.