Big Dream Howdy,

It was the first day of school for my daughters. We arrived early, but the doors weren’t quite open. The line of parents and children snaked from the front doors around the building. We stood on the sidewalk in the heat of the rising Texas sun.

As we looked down, we saw sidewalk chalk phrases kindly written by teachers to encourage students as they began the year.

It’s a great day to learn.

Be a leader.

The line slowly began to move, and I began to make out the largest phrase, one word at a time, as we moved forward.

BIG

DREAM

HOWDY,

Yes. BIG DREAM HOWDY,

It only took me a moment to realize that the intended phrase was “HOWDY, DREAM BIG.”

What a funny, disarming illustration of how often we fail to think about the perspective of others when we communicate.

The pain in the ask is—when we communicate with others, how often do we begin with an others-first mindset? How often do we begin with the listener or recipient in mind?

As I dropped my oldest child off at her school a bit later, I told her, “If you find yourself in a moment of disagreement with a student or teacher this year, stop and say to yourself, ‘BIG DREAM HOWDY.'”

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