Noticeship /ˈnəʊtɪs/ʃɪp/ n.informal. The quality or ability that elevates a person or leader to intentionally see something or someone.
As is my way this time of year, I sat down with my thoughts this morning to contemplate the new year ahead. For much of my early life this involved me finding somewhere to sit by the seaside with the winter elements, the noise of waves crashing and rolling over the pebble beaches of Brighton. I have always found it meditative.
I don’t do the whole resolutions thing. They’ve never really worked for me and I much prefer just taking stock of what is going on in my life, what I feel I would like to do over the year ahead and then committing to a general theme (or two). Last year my theme was ‘reconnecting with family’. No specifics, no metrics and no accountability. The theme is simply a North Star that helps support any big decision-making. That’s about it.
Sitting alone on my bench I found myself watching a little girl taking a walk along the beach with her dad (I presumed). Every few steps the girls stops, looks around her feet, and then reaches down to pick up a pebble. If it is a good pebble, she reaches over and puts it in to the bucket that dad is carrying. If it is not, she tosses it back on the ground. There are no words exchanged, there is no urgency, they are just in their moment. Dad, bucket in hand, is lost in his own thoughts; the girl, focused on her pebbles and reveling in her dad’s complicity.
It’s a wonderful distraction and my own thoughts now turn to all the unpicked pebbles. They all look the same to me. So how does this little girl decide what pebbles are worthy of keeping? What is she looking for? What’s her filter? I have no idea and maybe she doesn’t either.
In schools, we know that all the pebbles are important. We know that each pebble needs to be seen and noticed, but we also know that we can not carry all of them at the same time. The noise, the roars and crashing of the waves, the whooshing and whistling of the wind, makes things even more challenging. Sadly, we might just end up focusing on the few pebbles that stand out, the irregular ones that distract or have the ability to catch our attention. The others may never make the bucket, will forever remain unnoticed.
I have two themes for this year
- Firstly, to work out how to see all those unseen pebbles. Noticeship.
- Secondly, to take more walks with my little girl before she no longer wants to.