Reflections on a Long Day’s Work

On an average school day I sit through 4 or 5 meetings or trainings or some other event, everyday. I learn concepts and listen to grievances or struggle with challenges or pose critical questions, and sometimes- often- I simply listen when folks don’t have other places to turn. My job is mostly about hand-holding, trying to encourage territorial creatures to lower their boundaries and systematic thinkers to be organic. Legislative policy and school building policy and everyday procedures that would seem to be human in their nature and human in their implementation seem to take on the weight of 1,000 elephants, each one trying to nudge the other from the room. I work to ensure they feel their place at a common conversation, one centered on the health and well-being of students themselves, rather than the social, political, cultural and economic agendas adults have for students.
I understand that a single jangle does not make a sound, so I work to help others understand this, as well. It is a struggle everyday to ensure that everyone feels their place at the table, finds common ground with their opposition, and builds commonality and trust around a common agenda. I try to convene, interpret, translate, and explore people’s personal sentiment about their professional endeavors in order to help them find their individual benefit in collective action. Work styles and mandated goals be damned, as they often pose themselves as insurmountable obstacles along the way. Each has to arrive at their own paces.
The other week my dad told me there is a difference between the hungry man running after a rabbit in a field and the one sitting quietly in the bush waiting to pounce. My occupation today is teaching me to sit quietly.
This is my reflection on a long day’s work.

Written by Adam Fletcher, this article was originally posted to Learn more at!

Published by Adam

For almost two decades, Adam F. C. Fletcher has led international outreach focused on engaging people successfully. Working with thousands of youth-serving nonprofits, K-12 schools, government agencies, international NGOs and other organizations around the world, his work spans the fields of education, public health, economic development and social services, and includes professional development, public speaking, publishing, social media and more. He founded the Freechild Institute for Youth Engagement, SoundOut and CommonAction, as well as writing more than 50 publications and 500 articles. He has also established 150-plus community empowerment projects.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *