“When the going gets tough…

…let the tough get going.”  Frank Leahy (1908 – 1973) US football coach (as cited at Creative Quotations).  Just where is it that the “tough” go, though?  Do they go after each other?  Who is “tougher”, Jay Leno or Conan O’Brien?  They certainly seem to both be going – at each other and NBC, that is.  At a time when hundreds of thousands of lives were changed in an instant and most likely for the worst in Haiti, how can two grown men pulling down millions and millions of dollars annually think they have problems? Conan, Leno Turn On Each Other In Monologues (VIDEO)

What if Conan and Jay stopped dragging each other down and joined forces instead?  Cracking a few jokes on late night TV is nothing like pulling a dehydrated child from under the rubble of a collapsed building as I saw a Turkish and Haitian tag team doing today via a news cast.  However, the concepts of team work and commitment Coach Leahy’s quote embodies can guide us through tough times and normal times as well.

In the current budget situation, we have a lot of choices regarding how we respond.  People will experience pay cuts or even the total elimination of their positions.  Will they continue to serve our children well between the time they receive their pink slips and the last day of their contracts?  I watched several colleagues in this circumstance last year and gained respect for a few while losing respect for many.

I am encouraged by the fact that the majority of the 500 plus Albemarle County Public Schools employees on a phone teleforum with our Superintendent and her cabinet earlier this week recommended a furlough, hitting everyone proportionally.  Teachers spoke about the dangers of privatizing blue collar services and a custodian reminded us how important it is to have support services staff serve as members of a school community.

While the overall international relief efforts are less than coordinated in Haiti, the individuals who are standing side-by-side digging through the rubble are getting tough – together.  With all of the horror stories that come out of Haiti, there will be amazing stories of hope as well.  These good stories will be the direct result of individuals and groups of people who make split second decisions to do the right thing.

The children of Haiti who can’t find their mothers and the mothers who watched their children die know a pain I do not know, a pain a salary reduction doesn’t come close to.  In this time of recession, let’s get going – together!  Let’s let the relief workers and volunteers in Haiti serve as our models, not Jay Leno and Conan O’Brien.  Let’s put our budget woes in perspective and join forces with each other to pull through this.




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