The Tale of Two Suns
The pitter-patter of toes on our wooden floors, reminiscent of a spring rain pinging against a tin roof, grow louder as they approach our bedroom door. A moment of silence occupies the space as our door slowly opens. Seconds later, we hear a soft breath pressed against my wife’s ear that says, “Good morning Mom, the sun is up.” My youngest son stumbles across the bed to nestle his buttery brown cheek against mine and mutters to me, “I love you so much, dad”. He has a way to melt his parents’ hearts first thing in the morning (and avoid being told to go back to his bed). His older brother lumbers in, stiff legs resembling the Frankenstein impression he uses to terrorize his brother at Halloween. Thankfully, he “sleeps in” until 7:45 am most days before he graces us with his presence. His deliberate steps thump against the floor as he makes his way to my side of the bed with silence and morning grumpiness. His little brother is now aware his big brother is in the room and meets him with the same daily surprise as if this is the first time they have met. Unfortunately for the little guy, his exuberance is not met with the same zeal by my oldest son who can do nothing but let his lanky seven-year-old body collapse on my chest as he tries to find his way back to sleep.
The tale of two sons. One excited by the sun’s rise and the other wishing it was still set. Both full of warmth, love, and intention. Both bringing me thanks during times that have proven hard to find light in. A year that has been so full of tumult, that I still sit mourning the fall of an L.A. basketball superstar in Kobe Bryant. Yet this year’s unrelenting reel of bad news has shed light on our country’s greatest vulnerabilities and deepest roots of hate as we sit in the middle of two pandemics. A generational pandemic that has changed our holiday plans and exposed the fragility of life, while the other is a social injustice driven pandemic that has plagued the lives of Black people for generations. Both of which are situated in a period of our history that has seen the effects of everything from climate to politics take center stage of our modern-day Shakespearean play. #its2020 is much more than a tweet on our timeline, it has become a common line of our times.
Yet there are still ways to know the sun is shining. I feel so blessed waking up every day knowing that there are a few things that bring joy and demand our thanks.
Barriers to Bridges
In a year where tragedy has seemed to be crowned over triumph, we have seen the emergence of more and more voices speaking truth to power. The unfortunate and unjust deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and too many other Black people in our country have brought life to substantial change that is not only necessary but good trouble. The rise of more people and companies recognizing the racism that exists in our country is something we can do something about. Bringing a realization, albeit in small but noble ways, that our differences are what make us human. Our future is female and some of our highest offices will now show it. Our worldly religions recognize that love is love. Our music and meaning now celebrate a Black parade and slowly see that I too can’t breathe. Recognition and awareness is the first step in building the bridges that we all can walk on and if nothing else, I am thankful that I can see the blueprint of the architecture that I am hopeful that my children will see built.
Zoomed Out to Zooming In
Our days are now filled with more Zoom meetings than we ever thought possible. Our ways of connecting with more people across the country at any given time have never seemed so easy to do. The thought of being in three different cities in three hours of the same day never looked like this. Though at times the blue light of our computer seems like too much, there is a silver lining. The grace and humility that are now commonplace have helped me see people differently and more completely. I am thankful for being able to take care of my family and see them and for others to see me as a father, a friend, a colleague, and someone with a borderline unhealthy obsession with sneakers as they have become the backdrop of my Zoomscape. All of this put in perspective for me the beauty of our humanity and the importance of embracing the moments that we have together even though we may be far apart.
The Only Constant is Change
The speed of our thoughts is no match for the information highway. We have more avenues to communicate and drive home our point than ever. This has allowed us to find solutions to problems in ways that we never thought possible. The idea that a teacher could teach from the comfort of their home was often frowned upon but now met with smiling faces. Seeing your doctor from a hospital bed has now moved to seeing one from your own. Working from home has moved from optional to mandatory. We have seen incredible resilience and innovation create pathways from possibilities. I am thankful that we now are beginning to see that we are not limited by the shapes we draw, but can be shaped differently if we remove our limits.
And lucky for me, I have been given the chance to work for people and with people that have given me these reasons to be thankful. Education Elements has shown me the tale of two suns. One that has allowed me to see my two boys rise every day and dream and the other sets every day knowing how thankful I am to work with people who care about the light that education can bring.
This year brings our team another reason to be grateful – we're celebrating our 10th anniversary! We hope you'll join us to help make our celebration amazing.
About David Hardy
David Hardy is a Managing Partner at Education Elements. Dave Hardy Jr has led the state turnaround efforts of the second lowest-performing district in Ohio since 2017. In this capacity, he assumed the responsibilities of the Superintendent and the school board. Under his leadership, Lorain City Schools received its highest performance marks in nearly a quarter-century, moving from an F grade to a B grade in the Achievement Gap Closing metric, and touted as being in the top ten percent of the fastest improving school districts of the states 646 school districts in the state of Ohio by State Superintendent DeMaria. Previously, David was the Deputy Superintendent of Academics for St. Louis Public Schools. He was charged with the mission-critical task of setting and meeting academic standards, which resulted in St. Louis Public Schools receiving full accreditation for the first time since 2000. Prior to his role as Deputy Superintendent of Academics, he spent a year as a School Systems Leadership Fellow in the School District of Philadelphia as the Chief Academic Support Officer. David also served as the Executive Director or Regional Achievement in Camden/Burlington, New Jersey after being the founding principal of Achievement First Middle School in Brooklyn, New York. He earned his bachelor’s degree in economics as a scholar-athlete from Colgate University. He has also earned his Master’s degree in Urban Education from Teachers’ College, Columbia University and will complete his doctorate from Columbia University in 2020.