Breathe in! Ahhhh! That clean crisp smell of New. It is unmistakable, isn’t it? In fact, one could even say that it is ‘intoxicating.’ Did you know they even make an air freshener called ‘New Car Scent‘?

How conscious we are to keep the New Thing…New. We are extra careful to maintain its original and pristine condition making sure that any particle of debris is quickly brushed away. How quick we are to make sure the exceptions to keeping the New Thing as such are not allowed. The New Thing can even, if only temporarily, change our behaviors…until..

Until the New Thing becomes the ‘thing’. And so it goes. Our behaviors revert to our comfort zone as is typical to the human experience. In fact, it is often this ‘comfort zone’ the speeds the process from the thing being the New Thing (shiny, clean, crisp, that ahhhh smell) to it being just the ‘thing’.

So goes the parallel experience of opening a New School. The clean hallways, the newly polished floors, the clean painted walls without the evidence of hot glue or masking tape, the doors without nicks, the playground with lush green grass all serve to produce the same ‘intoxicating’ and invigorating feelings and emotions. As a principal who is  humbled and fortunate to be part of opening a New School, Kelly Mill Elementary (@KellyMillES), I truly cannot put into words all of the excitement, energy, passion, motivation, enthusiasm, etc that describes this experience.

Pretty soon, the New Car Scent fades because you begin to eat in the car and leave the wrappers on the floor. Pretty soon the New Car just becomes ‘the car’ without the intoxicating and invigorating smells that provide a level of motivation to keep it clean and shiny.

I can also say this, the New Thing ‘smell’ with the new school will also fade with time and rightfully so as the building becomes what it is intended to be – a place that is active and alive with students and adults as they engage with knowledge. At some point, the New School becomes the school. So, what’s the point?

Once the New Thing becomes the thing, we must make conscious and intentional choices to continue to keep the car clean, to keep it vacuumed, to keep it in its best condition for optimal performance. No less is true with schools and students.

Once the excitement and energies of the new building wear off, we must make conscious and intentional choices to maximize the learning experiences we provide our students. To do any less would be to miss the opportunity to do amazing things and to reinvent and recreate education in meaningful and applicable ways.

In other words, to ‘make the atypical, typical.’

So what are you doing to ‘keep the new car smell?’