Mount Tamalpais School

Maximum Enthusiasm

Most mornings, after a brief news check, I scroll through the Outside Magazine blog on my phone as I sip my coffee. Doing this over the winter break, I rediscovered one of my favorite blog posts, “Make 2020 the Year of Maximum Enthusiasm.” Originally written by Brendan Leonard in late December, 2011, Outside has annually republished this blog post shortly before the New Year. While Leonard describes a 26-mile Rim to Rim Grand Canyon run – about double the length of anything I can relate to – he speaks to the amazing life that he, and many of us, lead.

 As the MTS professional community gathered yesterday, I welcomed everyone back with a passage from this blog post. Leonard writes, “Sometimes I get to do awesome things, and I kind of forget how awesome they are. Do you? I get stressed, caught up in other stuff, and I forget how fortunate I am, how incredible life has turned out to be most days, and some of the special places I’ve gotten to see.” Reading these words over vacation, I smiled deeply. It was not the previous day’s ski around a beautiful mountain that triggered this response. It was my work. As the Head of Mount Tamalpais School, I get to do awesome things! I have learned to weave traditional Native American baskets from a fourth grader. I have watched eighth graders solve a “which faculty member at MTS did it” mystery in science class using ink chromatography, PH testing, and blood typing. And I have recently stepped on stage in a pirate’s outfit with a bird on my shoulder. Life has, indeed, turned out to be incredible most days. I have seen amazing educators and students engaged in joyful learning. There is so much to be enthusiastic about!

 “In 2020, I urge you to notice when something is awesome, as it often is, and exclaim or murmur or just make a mental note of it.” I love this advice and plan to practice it as Head of School, father, husband, and human. I invite you to join me in recognizing moments that are amazing. As Kurt Vonnegut, in a 2003 speech to students at the University of Wisconsin, said, “I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, ‘If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.’”

 Mount Tamalpais School community, if this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is. Thank you for making maximum enthusiasm so easy.

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