Finis coronat opus.

(pron = fee-nihs koh-roh-naht oh-poos)

How a project ends is its crown.

Comment: This proverb is a slippery slope. It is not far from: How something
ends is what everyone looks at; the most important thing; what really matters.
And from there: how a thing ends justifies whatever you have to do to get
there—otherwise known as, “the end justifies the means”.

There are too many examples of how focusing only on the end of a process
corrupts the process or at best makes the value of every step along the way
invisible. In my work world of classrooms, students, learning and for me the
creativity of designing learning in ways that work for all kinds of learners,
that “how a thing ends which is its crowning moment” is called a “grade”. What
our society (read: educators + parents stirred often with desperate politicians)
has done is to turn the entire, complex and ongoing process of learning (which
best practices say is a life-long, ongoing process) and turn it into a
photographic moment where students are judged on a letter or number or score.
Now, entire school systems which deal with processes more complicated than most
non-educators can imagine, are being judged on the scores of 4th graders and 8th
graders, for instance.

A proverb cannot dig us out of that quagmire, but this proverb and reflecting on
it might shed some light on those places where we focus on the crown and forget
that all a crown does is sit there. It rests on a head. The head rides on a
neck, balanced between two shoulders which cover and protect a beating heart
and working lungs. These center working pieces of the human being who wears
the crown are encased in a torso that rides on two legs. The legs sit atop
two, mostly ignored, often made fun of feet that move that body wearing a crown
around so that people can see it. These feet are the moment by moment reality
of a human life in contact with the earth. This is where, at least
metaphorically, each step of a journey happens. Each step matters. Remove
one, and the journey stops. Everyone looks at and wants the crown, while
ignoring what two things are much more important—their own two feet.

Bob Patrick
(Used with permission)
Latin Proverb of the Day is now available on the web.