Digging In

I was ready for a fight, man. 

I’m talking a sleeves rolled up, adrenaline pumping, expletive laden throw down. 

I was ready to dig in. 

As winter turned to spring here in Jersey, I was looking forward to our lawn, cared for by a local company, taking on that green, lush, make-the-neighbors jealous look the company touts in its brochures. But before long, it became clear that unless I paid for a more mosaic, brown-yellow-green combo (spoiler: I did not), my property looked more like an abandoned wasteland than a lakefront home. 

And I was pissed. 

My plan was simple. This charlatan was going to fix his mistake. At his cost. Immediately. And I was still going to blast him on social media. So I crafted a snarky, petulant email and shared it with my wife before hitting send. 

“Whoa whoa whoa. You can’t send that,” she started. “You go in guns blazing, and you don’t even let him explain what happened or offer to fix it. This is a dance. Let me handle it.”

And just like that, I was excised, like an unsightly boil, from the process. 

The result, as is often the case when my wife gets involved, was a perfectly reasonable mea culpa from the owner, complete with three options for us to consider and a full refund. No nonsense. No showdown at the OK Corral. 

No digging in. 

Because had we dug in, we would have spent more time (and money) digging out.

As educators, especially during this post-but-really-still-during-Covid nightmare, we are faced with the prospect of digging in daily. And oftentimes we are asked to do so at a moment’s notice. 

A disaffected junior has made it his mission to disrupt instruction daily. 

A veteran teacher refuses to ditch her lecture based instruction despite being provided with countless opportunities to improve. 

A grumpy bus driver continues to rack up complaints from parents. 

A lazy principal remains perfectly content doing as little as possible. 

In each scenario, and countless others like them, we could dig in and be justified in doing so. And, look, in some cases, digging in is necessary to keep people safe, to owe to policy, or to maintain integrity.  

But in my experience, digging in is more about our own ego, our own pearl clutching desire to win a fight, to be right. And as we continue to dig, we inevitably lose sight of why we started to dig in the first place.

So when we make the conscious decision to dig in, we need to be prepared to dig out from however large a hole we create. 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Official-Cover.jpg
Grab a copy of Level Up Leadership: Advance Your EduGame today!