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Archive for April, 2010

Hiccup is the protagonist in Dreamworks latest animation titled, How to Train Your Dragon. Hiccup’s physical features of a toothpick thin physique are contrasted with the burly Viking clan on the Island of Berk. The island is a mythical place with marauding dragons. The clan places a high value on dragon slaying skills, none of which are possessed by Hiccup.

You can imagine that a dragon slayer must be strong, agile, and able to use dragon slaying weapons. Hiccup does not attain any of aforementioned skills and is a bit of an outcast on the Island of Berk. Instead, Hiccup uses ingenuity and research to create a dragon slaying weapon in hopes of earning the favor of his clan by slaying the elusive night fury dragon. You’ll have to see the movie, I recommend the 3-D version, to see how the story unravels. However, there is a practical life lesson that became evident and worth pondering.

Have you ever asked why something is done a certain way only to hear, “Because that is how we have always done it!” Our last house had a wood burning stove. Obviously, wood needed to be split and most of it I split with a maul, sledge hammer, and a wedge. I split cords of wood using this technique until I borrowed a power splitter. Technology allowed me to place huge pieces of wood on the platform while a hydraulic wedge did the work for me. My output increased significantly and quickly stopped splitting wood the “way I had always done it.” I know some of you may choose to split wood for exercise, but that isn’t the point!

Internally, I sometimes struggle with allowing others the chance to tackle tasks within our school using their ideas and their methods, especially our students. While I sat next to my son in the theater listening to his whispers about what Hiccup should or should not do, my son is five, I began to think that his fresh insights are just that, fresh!

I’m quickly realizing that many of today’s challenges are not going to be solved by using yesterday’s solutions. Hiccup used his talents to full potential to gain favor within his clan. Isn’t that what we want from our students, just to do their best? Our future leaders are in school now and I am compelled to promote alternative thinkers like Hiccup and my son!

Who would have thought that a night at the cinema would turn into professional development!

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