Get Up Off the Mat and Fight

Relentless–showing or promising no abatement of severity, intensity, strength, or pace: unrelenting.

It’s a word I know but I don’t typically use.

Persevere and persistent sound so much, well, nicer.

Relentless has now entered my orbit in the strangest and yet, most natural of places. Work.

Many schools I’ve been in have done book studies. It’s the usual. Pedagogy. Classroom management. Lesson design. If you’re a teacher you know it’s usually based around whatever the newest trend is and who got the principal’s ear at the last conference they attended.

This book study is different. Relentless is a book written by Hamish Brewer, a principal in Prince William County, Virginia. He’s a guy who got a rough start but has lived enough of life to be able to look at education and, most importantly, our students through a different lens.

He is a tattooed, skateboarding, flat-billed hat-wearing guy who is relentless in his pursuit of excellence. He has transformed two of the schools he’s worked at by empowering his teachers, earning the trust of his community, and truly and authentically building loving relationships with his students.

My school is similar to the ones Brewer has led. High poverty. Low test scores. Students living with hunger, poverty and in some cases, homelessness.

At my school persistence and perseverance sometimes just won’t cut it. So this book study is perfect for us.

We have to be relentless in order to reach our students and to help them see just what they can do with their lives if they believe in themselves and refuse to give up on their dreams and more importantly, themselves.

Y’all I’m not going to lie. Some days are really hard. But in his book, Brewer encourages, no, he demands that his kids and his staff “go one more round.” To not give up. To accept that failure happens and when it does, you get off the mat and keep fighting. Relentless.

What if we all went “one more round” for the things that are really important to us? Not the mundane but that one huge goal or passion we have? That thing that could be life-changing? The thing that could change the lives of those around us?

Relentlessness. What are you relentless about? What will you go “one more round” for? Where is one area of your life where you can’t and won’t give up? Do you have the support and stamina it requires? If not, how will you find it?

Once you figure out what you are relentless about, the path becomes so much clearer. Take some time and think. About that thing and what it will take to get there.