I attended my middle son’s high school graduation. I am quite proud of what he has accomplished so far in his life, and look forward to his next venture as he heads on to college in the fall. All the big moments in life.
At his high school graduation, the superintendent of Plymouth Public Schools, Dr. Gary Maestas spoke to the graduates. Plymouth is a big town, big geographically at 134 square miles, big population at 55,000 plus residents, big in history, turning 400 years old in 4 more years, and big in schools, the only town in Massachusetts with two high schools. Dr. Maestas attended Plymouth South’s graduation in the morning, and Plymouth North’s graduation in the afternoon.
Dr. Maestas shared his story with the graduates about having to go to college three times before he was able to focus and complete his undergraduate degree. He made bad choices the first two times, but he reset his focus and went back a third time, completing his degree and moving on to his PhD.
Dr. Maestas continued on, relating making good choices and good decisions and his passion for bike riding. Dr. Maestas is an avid bicyclist and he made the first Dream Ride, from DC to Plymouth 5 years ago. Dr. Maestas told the students how one day on a training ride on the west coast, he came up alongside another biker stopped at a traffic light, and Dr. Maestas clipped out of his bike pedals to rest one foot on the ground and balance himself on the bike while waiting for the light. He noticed that the biker next to him was still clipped in, both feet attached to the bike pedals, as he balanced the bike perfectly on two wheels, motionless while waiting for the light to turn.
This challenged Dr. Maestas, and he decided he would learn to balance on the bike without clipping out. When he returned home he worked and practiced balancing the bike at a stop, and took a lot of tumbles and falls while doing so. As he went through this process of balancing and falling; he learned that when you make the decision to balance a stationary bike with both feet clipped into the pedals, when his balance failed and he started to fall, if the made the right decision to unclip from the peddles fast enough, he could stop his fall and reset on the bike again. This reminded Dr. Maestas for the lessons he had learned going to college. There was a time in each of his first two attempts at school when things weren’t going well because of decisions or circumstances. Dr. Maestas learned by the 3rd attempt, that sometimes one has to step back, clip out, refocus and make the next decision a good one.
When you make a bad decision, the most important decision that you will make is the next decision. Will you make another bad decision and compound the first bad decision? Or will you make a good decision, one that corrects or adjusts for the bad one? When problems arise, it is not attributed to just one bad decision, but a series of cascading bad decisions following one after another. When faced with the fall out form a bad decision, clip out, refocus and make the next decision a good decision. This is good advice for students and for business. Clip out.
This is the underlying theme on the Dream Ride 2, a 600 mile bike ride Dr. Maestas and other school officials are taking from America’s capital to America’s home town this week, June 5th-12th. The Dream Team will be stopping at elementary schools along the route to speak at rallies, and Skyping into rallies every day at one of Plymouth’s 6 elementary schools. A team of 6 recent -recent as ingraduating last Saturday and jumping in the support vans on Sunday morning- Plymouth North and South students are traveling on the DreamRide2 to document the trip. They are posting video daily on Vimeo, tweeting from the road, posting to Facebook, and live blogging from the road. They could use a little support, please follow them for the week on Twitter at @dreamride2 or follow on Facebook. Clip out for just bit today, follow the DreamRide2 and learn a little more about decisions, education and the power of leaders that are committed and driven to make a difference.