Muffing the Magic – Taking a Mulligan for Monday
In yesterday’s Encourager I wrote about the lessons I learned from a 60 year-old plus magician. Many of the responses back to me echoed my own – and this surprised me. Whenever lots of people agree with something I’ve written or said, I go back to my notes. I must’ve missed something.
So tempting fate, I went back to the scribbles on the napkin, and sure enough, I overlooked the magician’s parting words in his presentation. And this is now a dilemma for me.
One side of me says to move on (Lots of people liked the article. Shocking but true. Stop now.) while the other side of me says to finish the article properly (Sure, readers liked it – but only because you screwed it up. Finish it and let folks go back to their normal opinions about what you write.).
Hmmm. What to do? I’m conflicted. Some might even call it “perplexed.” But I feel I have to finish what I started even if it means snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. It’s my gift.
So here goes: as the magician was wrapping up his remarks last week, a man in the audience asked him to reveal the secret behind “just one trick.” Up until this point, the magician adamantly refused to do this. He was too passionate about magic to give away his secrets – or those of another magician.
At first, I thought the magician was going to cave into the man’s “pretty please…” gambit, but he didn’t.
He looked at the man and said, “I can’t tell you the secret because I don’t want to take away your joy. If you know the secret, it isn’t magic anymore.”
Isn’t this a powerful statement? (And sorry ’bout not including it yesterday – but hey, that’s me. I can never remember most punch lines, either.)
Here’s what the magician’s statement meant to me, especially while within our own organizations the dominant topics day-in and day-out are standardized test scores, budget news, behavior issues, and school security concerns.
The magician drew a line in the sand for himself and his presto change-o colleagues, while also drawing one for all of us school communicator types. There’s wall-to-wall, ceiling-to-floor MAGIC in our schools and we see it and feel it everyday. But sometimes for a host of valid reasons, we get pressed into shoving our magic (what our teachers and students do) into the back of the closet and shutting the door. Our “magic” is in our way of getting things done.
I do this way too much. Nine times out of ten when I express, “You’ve got to be kidding me!” at work, it usually doesn’t involve something good. You too? It really shouldn’t take magic to change this, though … or should it?
It’s from the same magician featured yesterday. And remember, he’s the one who is calling you a liar and a deceiver, I’m not. But I think he’s got our group of school communicators pretty well pegged.