In the January/February 1991 issue of Child Care Information Exchange, it’s editor, Roger Neugebauer, wrote and published the article “12 Reasons People Love to Work for You.”  In it, Neugebauer focuses on the practices of directors at childcare centers where teacher turnover is low.  Based on his observations, he determined twelve practices you can implement to motivate people to remain in your employment.

Reason # 9 You encourage people to take risks.

I believe that risk takes a certain amount of courage.  Where do we get courage?  Well, that is the stuff of many poems and great literature, for hundreds of years… but in my humble opinion – when we first take a risk and succeed, we are willing to try again.  Or even better, we succeed and it takes less courage to take that same step again.  Risk by Webster’s definition is “the chance of injury, damage or loss”.  Then why would ANYONE take a risk?  Because as Beverly Sills said, “You may be disappointed if you fail, but you are doomed if you don’t try”. 

Many of us grew up in homes where caring adults allowed us, and many even encouraged us, to take risks.  They knew we had the skill or knowledge we needed to succeed, we just lacked that little push or courage.  So, they nudged, we moved, and it worked.  The results were sometimes GREAT, sometimes not-so-great.  But there was someone there to wipe the proverbial tear or act as a sounding board when we needed to reflect on what went wrong.  That helped ready us to try again or to choose to try the next thing.

However, many adults did not live in such an environment and taking risks may have meant getting in “trouble” or with failure came an “I told you so”.  The good news is – it is not too late.  As Thomas Carlyle, 17th century historian and essayist said, “Tell a man he is brave and you help him become so.”  It takes courage to be a good teacher, courage to know that our love and caring make a difference.  When we accomplish something and don’t quit, we have the courage to come back tomorrow and try again.   We have the courage to say “even though I have always done it this way, I am willing to learn and grow and change, if it provides me with better tools.”

So, are you the type of supervisor who only tells me what I am doing wrong or the one that says, “I believe in YOU”  “I know YOU can do it!”   Courage comes from within but sometimes it needs a little nudge.

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