Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Crazy Cardinal

Male cardinals are very distinctive, with a brilliant red body and a black face. (Runner Jenny/Flickr)

Yesterday morning, I awoke to this random tapping at my bedroom window.  Baffled because the bedroom is far enough from the ground that I knew it couldn't be an animal or person, I stumbled to the window to take a look. There I saw him.  Crazy Cardinal was back.  My neighbor and I have nicknamed this little bird, Crazy Cardinal, because he relentlessly slams into our windows.  He was at our house last year, but continually threw himself into our basement windows.  Over and over again, he ran into the window.  Absolutely relentless.  But, yesterday was the first he decided to bang into the bedroom window.  Crazy Cardinal is quite persistent - whether it is a reflection or just simply that he is crazy, I'm not sure.  But, he knows what he wants, whatever it is, and goes after it over and over again.

My boys take to Crazy Cardinal quite differently.  Many birds live around us because the woods are nearby, so I always run to get them so they can see the bird - a little lesson on the different beauties we have in this world.  I bring them in to see Crazy Cardinal.  "Boys, do you remember Crazy Cardinal from last year?  Well, he is back and trying to get into Mommy and Daddy's window now!"  My oldest isn't afraid.  He walks right up to the window, looks closely at the cardinal, analyzing his color, his beak, and simply says, "Mom, that is one Crazy Cardinal!  I wonder why he does that?"  My oldest continues to ask questions, tries to figure it out.

In the meantime, my middle son stands close enough to see, yet far enough away to be "safe", and just smiles and watches.  He chimes in a couple times to give his opinion, but doesn't move.  And my youngest, well, he is very unsure.  He runs out of the room, whimpering, then peeks around the corner to see that everyone else is watching, but never ventures too close.  I walk to pick him up, showing him that it is ok, but my little guy doesn't like that too much, so I put him down and he runs behind the door again, watching, not too happy about the whole event.

Crazy Cardinal and my boys helped me reflect on something yesterday morning.  We all can be Crazy Cardinal sometimes.  Persistent, relentless, and sometimes running into a window.  We see something worth trying for, worth working for, and may feel like we are banging into a window as we strive for it.  However, we see through to the other side, so it is worth the fight.  There is someone guiding, encouraging, and leading to ask questions and take risks. There are those who ask questions, and may even try it with us.  There are those intrigued, watching, and probably if they see someone else do it, they will too.  And there are those who are unsure, and we will certainly try to support and guide them, with the hope that they join us in our plight.  All the reactions that took place simultaneously were the different attitudes surrounding us in education today.

In education right now, there are so many ideas and practices to fight for.  The vision of schools and learning in the future is continually changing as the needs of our schools and students change.  I read posts from other inspiring leaders throughout the country, and their voice is strong, their vision worth fighting for.  The schools of the future, the learning that needs to take place...we all need to be Crazy Cardinal sometimes to make them happen.  And then we need to also be the voice on the other side, leading those around us to see what is happening, encouraging questions and helping people take that leap, holding the hands of those very unsure so they are not just peeking around the corner, watching others try something new.

So, after taking a step back, I saw our realm of education and learning right before me.  Who will you be as we look to the future of education?  Will you be Crazy Cardinal?  The parent guiding her boys to the window?  Maybe a combination of those two? The inquisitive one?  The watcher?  Or the one peeking behind a door?


  1. I'm pretty sure most people think I'm a crazy cardinal. Either that or just a nerd. ;)

    1. Someone has to be a crazy cardinal every once in a while!!! Otherwise, what fun new ideas would there be??

  2. Instructional coaches are definitely in the category of "crazy cardinals". I like to think he is daring greatly. Maybe he read JONATHAN LIVINGSTON SEAGULL recently. :)