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I am an educator passionate about building the next generation of curious minds and creative problem-solvers.

Mindsets: Castles & Kingdoms

Mindsets: Castles & Kingdoms

In 2011, I arrived on the campus of a small (and unknown) college campus in Missouri. Our car drove up this long drive towards a building that looked like an oversized golf-ball had crash-landed on a green. There were these older kids wearing funny hats and matching shirts screaming at us, and at one point trying to open the car door for a Chinese Fire Drill (keyword there is trying, I had all of my weight on the lock so it would not open).

Fast forward eight years, and I’ve seen this “red carpet” welcome rolled out for hundreds of student leaders year after year at our Summer Leadership Workshop. I admit, sometimes it still makes me uncomfortable.

It is so necessary. Why? We are building the next generation of student leaders and we need to set the tone from day one -- this is no ordinary place, you are welcomed, and we are so glad that you are here.

Council K at the 2011 MASC Summer Leadership Workshop. My first year at "Fulton."

Council K at the 2011 MASC Summer Leadership Workshop. My first year at "Fulton."

A few months ago, I read a book by a genius of a man, Bob Goff. Over a few pages, he spells out this mindset of building castles and kingdoms. Let me explain.

To start with, you have to know this important detail: we are constantly building castles and kingdoms, every day and every moment.

Building a Castle vs Kingdom

Have you ever seen a classic, old-time, Hollywood castle? The one with the moat? That’s the one I want you to picture.

When we build castles, we are only letting certain people in. As Bob says, “castles have moats to keep the creepy people out.”

When we are kingdom-minded, we let the bridges down and let everyone in. In our kingdom, everyone is accepted and everyone is welcome.

What are you building?

Houston Kraft gave an extraordinary presentation to our advisors at our State Convention this past spring. He asked us three simple questions: How do we want our students to feel? How do we want our staff to feel? How do we want our people to feel?

I say we lower the gates and bring in our people.

I recently picked up a copy of Richard Parkhouse’s, Building the World’s Greatest High School. Think about this quote: “To see belief systems at work at your school, you don’t have to look very far. For example, if you look at the way that freshman students are greeted on their orientation day, you’ll see the school’s beliefs about the value of these students in crystal clear detail… Are they brought into the gym with much fanfare, music moving, barbeque blazing, and students cheering? Or, are they greeted by an administrator in a suit and tie preparing to talk to them about the dress code?” Are we building castles or kingdoms?

How are we welcoming students and staff back to school in August? Are we lowering the gates and celebrating them? Are we saying “we’re glad you are here”?

Are we building castles or kingdoms?


Shoutout to these awesome books (I’m not getting paid if you by them, by the way, I’m just a big fan):

Everybody Always, by Bob Goff.
Building the World’s Greatest High School, by Richard Parkhouse.

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Word of the Year: Intentional.

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