Wednesday, November 21, 2018

A Mission Statement, and Hamilton

I took this picture in Cricklewood on Saturday, intrigued by the stark shopfront with its gothic door, boarded window and two pathetic houseplants. I only realized later that I'd photographed it before, when it looked very different.

I came home and joked to Dave last night that I was going to be fired. Why? Because I got an e-mail from the head of school on Monday and essentially ignored it. It was an invitation to sit on a committee to reconsider the mission of our school, and I thought it was an e-mail blast to everyone. (To be fair, the head of school sends lots of global e-mails, including at least one other on Monday.) But no -- the mission statement e-mail went only to select people. How I became one of the select I'm not sure, since I am normally so low on the organizational totem pole that I'm barely above ground.

Anyway, I saw her last night as I was leaving the building and she asked me, "Did you get my e-mail?" I may have hemmed and hawed a bit before confessing that I'd seen a couple from her but hadn't yet read them closely. She pointed out that one of them was especially to me, and you can bet that when I got home I read it right away.

So I guess now I'm reviewing the mission statement, unless I've already been kicked off the committee (before it even meets) for dereliction of duty. Criminy!

I'm not sure I'm the best person for this task, honestly -- I don't see myself as particularly good at organizational stuff -- but I guess all perspectives are needed and when you get asked, you participate. Right?

Today is just a half-day at school and we're off tomorrow and Friday for Thanksgiving. I've got a lot to do in the library -- I've got to re-shelve a few carts of books and empty out the rest of the DVD cabinet in preparation for its removal this weekend.

And tonight I'm finally going to see "Hamilton" on stage! I bought this ticket back in June, and I've been afraid I was going to forget it entirely, but fortunately I've kept it on my calendar and tonight's the night. So tomorrow I ought to be able to tell you what all the buzz is about. Unless I fall asleep.


  1. Hamilton!!!!

    Also I would definitely want you on my committee. You have humility and integrity and a strong moral code. And that’s just for starters. Every committee needs a Steve Reed.

  2. *...when you get asked, you participate. Right?" Wrong! You point out that it's not in your job description and as a school librarian on a modest salary you are reluctant to take on extra responsibilities without suitable recompense in terms of time or money.

  3. I would LOVE to see Hamilton! Lucky you! I seriously doubt you'll fall asleep. Have fun!

  4. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have seen Hamilton three times. Maybe you'll spot them in the audience tonight. I'm sure you won't fall asleep, because even if you don't like rap you'll love the costumes. Those colonial breeches and puffy sleeved shirts are quite fetching.

    One of the volunteers to our local library wanted to start a literary magazine for the village, and her first order of business was to write a mission statement. She read it to us at the library board was over a thousand words long. Do I have to even tell you that her magazine never got past the mission statement phase? I reminded everyone that the great New York Times has a mission statement that has been in effect since 1897, and it's seven words. "All the news that's fit to print." THAT's a mission statement.

  5. Oh dear god. I would pay money not to be on a committee like that. Seriously.
    But I suppose you do have to respond.
    I hope that you enjoy Hamilton. I am one of the last people on earth who really have no clue as to what it's about. But it surely is beloved.

  6. I get picked for things like that & I usually feel like mission statements are a waste of time. Propaganda! But I do like words.

    Have fun tonight!

  7. I don't know if I'd feel pleased that someone valued my input or pissed that they probably had everyone else turn them down. and really a mission statement for a school? educate them. what else is there? hope you enjoy Hamilton since all the buzz is good but really I can't think of a more boring subject for a musical.

  8. I think you would provide valuable insight and input for the committee. I would welcome your voice and ideas. Looking forward to your review of Hamilton and the committee.

  9. I think you are a great choice for the committee. You have a different perspective and a wonderful way with words.
    I can't wait to hear about Hamilton. I thought I wouldn't like it because of the rap music but, in fact, I loved it and would jump at a chance to see it again!

  10. You're right that you were chosen for your perspective and experience in communicating . I think I've been on some of these committees. It's a good thing there was lots of direction and we just had to nod our heads. Now , very soon, I expect a mission statement on Shadows and Light!

  11. Ack! The dreaded mission statement has come to your school. When I was working we had to churn out Visions, Missions, Goals and Objectives; commonly known as VMGO. Many referred to it as shelfware, because the products of the meetings went on a shelf and stayed there.
    I am totally and completely envious of your ticket to see Hamilton. Enjoy!

  12. I think you'd be good at organization. Just look at how you maintain your garden.

  13. I think of a mission statement as less about organizational stuff and more "cut through the crap and state the reason for the existence of your organization" - like Ellen said, a school's should say Educate Them! The idea of a mission statement is good but the execution can be dubious. You show 'em, Steve :)

  14. I've never fancied HAMILTON despite its rave reviews
    I look forward to hear what all the fuss is about

  15. 37P: OK, you're setting the bar really high for my contributions! :)

    YP: Were you in a union? That's union talk. :)

    Jennifer: I definitely DID NOT fall asleep. :)

    Vivian: Your library colleague clearly doesn't get the point of a mission statement. It's supposed to be very succinct. A thousand words?!

    Ms Moon: To be honest, me too. But I really do need to do it.

    Bug: Yeah, I'm dubious about them, too. But maybe I can use my skepticism to make it more pertinent?

    Ellen: "Educate them" DOES seem to be the gist of it. But I suppose we're looking for something that shows why our school's method of education is unique and special. As for Hamilton, he's not boring at all! A political leader and war hero brought down by marital infidelity and dueling pistols -- what more could we want?!

    Robin: We shall see!

    Sharon: I am seriously thinking about buying the cast album. I kind of want to hear the songs again. (There are 46 tracks!)

    Red: I think "Shadows and Light" IS my mission statement. :)

    Allison: I guess our challenge is to make it pertinent, short and memorable enough that it doesn't just sit on a shelf. May be a tall order! (Fortunately I don't think we're responsible for vision or goal setting or that other stuff, at least not beyond a general understanding required to write the mission.)

    Catalyst: Ha! I am personally organized, but that's not quite the same thing. :)

    Jenny-O: Absolutely -- you've defined a mission statement pretty accurately, I think.

    John: I think, for me, the key to enjoying the show is appreciating how different it is, and how unlikely. (As I said in my subsequent post.)