Recently, I found myself focusing too much on negativity. Too much work, too much going on with my kids schedules, not enough family time, too much covid and the list went on and on. I wasn’t being supportive enough in my opinion due to all the negativity. I can’t stand negativity and I knew I had to make a change in perspective. I made a personal commitment to find the light each day after Thanksgiving. No matter the day, find the light. It worked. For a day. Then last week’s unthinkable tragedy hit our district. Through tears and hugs, I was determined to not only find my light, but help others find theirs. We showed our students we cared about them. When dried tears, gave another hug and just stopped to listen. We had students wanting to talk about struggles, while others just wanted to sit for a minute. My light shone bright when I received a note from a student checking on me. The note went on to say that while I tell all of them (the students) we love them everyday, they hoped that I knew the feeling was mutual. I told the student that it took a minute for the note to be emailed, but sure meant a whole lot.
When the pandemic first hit, not having the students in the building with us was extremely difficult. I missed having the building full of kids. Maybe not all the noise, but I sure did miss the kids! My worry wasn’t the learning loss during the pandemic, but the loss of togetherness we lost. Studies are now being done on the emotional stress we are all dealing with. The results, thus far, are frightening. We must do better to care for one another. We have to. Mr. Gauwitz sent out various resources last week to our community. If you didn’t see them, we have them posted on our website and I’d be happy to send them home to you.
One of the most important aspects of all of this that I want to emphasize with you is communication. I am a parent of two elementary girls. Each night we make a point to talk about our days. My house, like yours, typically plays out the same way. “How was school?” “Fine.” End of conversation. I am just as guilty of moving on. So, we make a collective effort to try other things. Tell me how lunch was? Explain this Math to me (we all need that, right?). What did Mr. Sams have to say today? The dialogue isn’t always great, but it’s a start. I take the same approach with the students. I love talking with them. About anything. I may not know everything, but I can tell you over the years I’ve learned about a lot of things from our students! I don’t hunt, but I sure do love listening to our students tell of their recent experience. I don’t know much about cars, or engines, but I sure do love having students tell me about their dirt bikes. We’ve talked about fun stuff, family stuff, sad stuff and silly stuff.
I lead with that to bring up this. A friend shared a fantastic post on social media the other day. The post was about an interaction between Winnie the Pooh and Piglet. The story is below.
"Today was a Difficult Day," said Pooh. There was a pause. "Do you want to talk about it?" asked Piglet. "No," said Pooh after a bit. "No, I don't think I do." "That's okay," said Piglet, and he came and sat beside his friend. "What are you doing?" asked Pooh. "Nothing, really," said Piglet. "Only, I know what Difficult Days are like. I quite often don't feel like talking about it on my Difficult Days either. "But goodness," continued Piglet, "Difficult Days are so much easier when you know you've got someone there for you. And I'll always be here for you, Pooh." And as Pooh sat there, working through in his head his Difficult Day, while the solid, reliable Piglet sat next to him quietly, swinging his little legs…he thought that his best friend had never been more right."
I share this post with you for one reason. Everyone, and I mean everyone, needs a piglet in their life. Someone they can talk to about anything or just have them sit with them for a minute. The power of presence is in full swing in this story. So, for you, our students and our staff, if you ever need a piglet, give me a call. I’d be happy to be your piglet, anytime.
Mr. Janssen, Principal