Tuesday, May 23, 2017

I have officially been banned from making any travel arrangements for our family.  Instead of writing a blog post this evening, I have been making changes to the flight that I incorrectly booked.  Last year, I was so proud of myself for booking two super cheap tickets for my husband and son to fly back east to look at colleges.  Thank goodness I checked the day before because I had booked the 11pm arriving at 4am tickets instead of the 11am arriving at 4pm.  That might have been grounds for divorce had they gone ahead and not double checked.

Well, I just did it again.  I am flying solo to meet my son, trying to arrive at the same time he arrives by train.  Again, I thought I got a sweet deal.  Instead I am out $75.  I had to cancel the flight and rebook it because, yet again, I booked for the evening instead of the morning.  For some reason, those pm and am things are tricky for me.

From now on, my husband will do all plane reservations.

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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Just slow down.  It is that panicky time of year when positions and jobs are shifting and moving about.  Instead of slowing down and thoughtfully thinking through our options, we are rushing to post an opening in fear of losing out on the best candidates.  And in our rush and hurry, we forget to take care of ourselves.  We seem to have forgotten the care and keeping of humans.  When a team member leaves for another school, it should start with a celebration of their steps forward.  It should be filled reminiscing about happy memories and well wishes for the journey ahead.  It should be tended carefully with sincere gratitude for the many years of service.

It should not be met with immediately posting for that vacancy – a space, a blank instead of a person, a teacher, a professional.  Slow down and take care of each other.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

I haven’t checked into my WordPress account for the past week.  That is good.  It means I have been busy enough to keep me off my computer.  When I logged in to my feed today, I scrolled past the last few days of One Word Prompts.  Today’s word is bitter.  My mind immediately went to several situations at school that are filled with bitterness.  A lack of awareness, an apparent inability to connect, and excuses for inattentiveness have caused intense, intense bitterness.  There are bad feeling amongst employees, between parents, between staff and parents, pretty much between everyone right now.  I keep thinking we have nipped it and moved on and then it rears its head again.  Bitterness is really hard to get rid of.  It lingers, it feeds on itself, and it grows out of control when it isn’t directly addressed.

Was it totally ironic that today’s word is bitter and two days ago the word was better?  Just one letter changed but what a significant difference in how those words make me feel.  So, how do you go from bitter to better.

I’ve learned a lot in the past few weeks about taking care of others that might makes things better.

Listening is imperative.  Not just sitting through the conversation but thinking about what the words mean when the come from a certain person.  Finding the source and not relying on the ones who are just fueling the fire.  And knowing that sometimes all you need to say it, “I hear you”.

Being aware is necessary.  Sometimes we learn more by just watching the way others behave.  Observing actions and interactions can sometimes tell you more than a face to face conversation with words.

Spending time together is critical.  Relationships are built on common experiences.  If you don’t make the time to be together, there is no bedrock.  It doesn’t have to be fancy time – just ordinary common experiences; eating lunch together, sorting library books, going through the lost and found pile, going on a field trip.

And finally, emails do not take the place of a conversation, phone calls do not take the place of a hug, and good intentions do not take the place of being wholly present.  Perhaps these are ways we can get better.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

It’s Tuesday and I’d like to share what I have been reading.  I received an email from the parent of a student my now 20 year old son went to school with K-5.  She was letting friends know that a book had just been published about her son titled Just Elliot.  I immediately hit the link and ordered the book from Amazon.  (It’s just a little to easy to do that but I was grateful in this instance!)  While I waited for my copy to arrive, I did some searching about how the book came to be.  I found this beautiful blog written by Elliot’s mom.  As I read her story, I was taken back to when we first met their family, when our boys were in 1st grade together.  At the time, the students surrounding Elliot did what many young children do – they accepted Elliot for who he was.  Probably not all of them, but from my memory, Elliot truly was Just Elliot to most of the students in his class.

Just Elliot print cover 9780986374197.indd

I was warned the I might cry when I read the book.  I knew I would but when I did read the book I understood why I had been forewarned.  The character who is Elliot’s best friend is named after my son, my now college freshman.  I cried for Elliot and how many will not have the opportunity to know  him because of the predeterminations they will make of him.  I cried for students in my class who will be prejudged by their behavior and not for who they are.  I cried for all those years of motherhood, hoping that I was raising kind children and finding out that maybe I did do something right.  Or maybe that’s just the way my son is.  He would have accepted Elliot because that is Just Sam.