This week, as another group of school leaders stood ready to accept their accoutrements of office, I had the opportunity to reflect upon what leadership might mean, and tell this to a hall full of students and proud parents.
It was good that we acknowledged the traditional custodians of the land, and acknowledge the passage of time, the continuity of culture and the richness which comes when we are able to effectively balance our need for renewal with a conservation of things of value from the past.
Our leaders of today will be the leaders of tomorrow.
Leadership is about that curious ability to be at once part of the scrum of human reality and its scrabble for existence, but to also rise above, and perceive a horizon of possibility which extends to more distant places. Vision, hope and aspiration to the expectation that ‘just because it is, does not mean it has to be.’
This was happening on a day of bizarre juxtaposition: red Valentine’s roses handed out on Black Friday, and the horror of fire and its aftermath.
There are some seismic shifts happening.
The election of Barack Obama goes beyond the fact that he is the first African American to be elected President. It also demonstrates that the harnessing of the internet, of social networking and the ability to connect in very meaningful ways with an entire new generation of voters made a dream a reality. We are now into an era where few would be bold enough to suggest the absolute impossibility of much at all. The affect of the internet world has moved mainstream.
In Australia, we see the imminent rollout of the National Secondary Schools Computer Fund. The implications are at once both exciting and frightening. We have a huge challenge in supporting the transformational shifts needed in pedagogy but know that this program places the idea that the internet is here to stay right in the very middle of mainstream thought. And that, is a good thing!
Leaders need to see beyond the melee of human existence and help us see that more is possible.
I am confident that the young leaders we see in front of us are wonderful people, and while they are challenged to compound the successes and shifts of recent times, they will make it happen: because they can.