Thursday, July 27, 2017

Live Outside the Box

I've had awesome opportunities all summer to connect with family, friends, and colleagues.  I've also been able to work on projects around the house.  One of these projects was an updated patio.  Our old patio was just that, old.  There were cracks and the cement was a wavy as a lake on a windy summer day.  Frankly, it was a bit dangerous.  Fortunately my wife, Jenifer, knew just what she wanted.  She designed a new shape for our patio and we got a couple of bids.  (Note to all of you who are still reading.  Always get more than one bid, even if you know the people who are giving you bids.  The difference in price was astounding.)  Anyway, we had a stamped concrete patio installed.  That job is way bigger than anything we would have been able to do on our own.

With a new patio comes new patio furniture, right?  Trust me.  New patio = new patio furniture.  Jen found just what she wanted online, ordered it, and had it delivered.  The company who made the furniture, Walker Edison furniture company (@WalkerEdisonCo), makes quality furniture.  It also is the "some assembly required" kind of furniture.  When the furniture was delivered, I went right to work.  I think that it turned out pretty well.  You can even see a bit of our new patio and the landscaping (Jen and I did all of that on our own with the help of our daughter, Lauren.).

So where am I going with this?  It's the saying on the furniture boxes- Live Outside the Box ™.  When you are putting together furniture, there is no living outside the box with the directions.  Mess up one thing and you either start over or create furniture that either doesn't function or doesn't look right.  But once you've put your furniture together, you can enjoy life outside the box.

The same can be true for our students and staff.  We need to provide the parameters for learning and then we need to let them go, let them learn on their own or with others, and have them show off their learning.  I don't know who said it, but these three words mean a lot to me- freedom within fences.  The need for parameters is in those three words, and the fences can have an expansive perimeter.  The directions for the furniture were my fences, but how we organized the furniture was up to us.  In thinking about fences and living outside the box, let's provide voice and choice for our students and staff, and let's learn along side of them.  In that way we can all live outside the box, too.