During this last week I noticed a change in nature’s palette: the cool greens have become vibrant yellows and sultry reds. The boulevards catch my eye while I’m walking and while I’m driving.
Though much of life is unpredictable, I take comfort in the predictability of nature. Knowing that the seasons will turn as expected each year. The birds will sing as the rain subsides. The geese return each spring without fail.
When life itself presents uncertainties, rest assured the sun will rise tomorrow.
Working with kids provides its own rewards. We announced the birth of a staff member’s baby last week at assembly. To be more precise, a grade six student announced it. Reading what was projected on the screen, he announced that the baby was seven ‘libs’ and ten ounces! (Pounds was written lbs.)
That same day, a little one had fallen off the monkey bars at the park. He ended up with a mouthful of sand and quite a sore head. His words: “My brain hurts.” When I asked about phoning his mom, in all seriousness he replied, “Hers not at home. Hers working in Calgary.”
And finally, one morning out on supervision, a grade two student, fairly new to Canada with English as her second language, wrapped her arms around me and said, “You’re the best officer in the school!” I’m still not sure exactly what she was thinking… because I work in the office or because I was supervising as an officer might… regardless, she made me smile!
While I was supervising last Monday morning, a little one rounded the corner, slid through the snow dusting the ground and announced, “this is awesome!” Despite the shivering I was doing, I couldn’t help but smile.
The smiles and the laughter spilled into our halls last week! I noticed a productive, uplifting atmosphere pervading the building. The learning was present but so was the fun. Practical jokes seem to be finding their way into our school: lighthearted, harmless fun. Therefore the laughter of our staff has been noticeable too!
Curriculum, productivity and results are all critical but the relationships surrounding those things are key. This week, the snow has disappeared, the sun is shining, people are smiling and my mood is elevated.
What a week! I was tired, sure. But it was so good to be back: to see the students, hear their excited stories about summer and their anticipation of the new year. The building is abuzz once again.
Yet as I listened to the news this week I was reminded of the students and teachers in BC, still not back at school due to labour negotiations. Internationally, school is overshadowed by the reality of war and instability in places such as Ukraine and Russia, Syria and Israel.
As the leaves turn colour and the forecasts already containing the word ‘snow’, it can be easy to wonder why we live here! And yet, how lucky we are.
Family. This word surfaced time and again this past week. Most significantly, at mass last Thursday, Father Mike shared how we are part of a larger family supporting him through his difficult journey. We are fortunate to come together not only as a district family, but also a school family.
I look forward to seeing our family reunited tomorrow morning. We will gather in the field as staff, students and parents sharing memories of summer and anticipation of the year to come. Some members join our family for the first time and others gather on this day as on many days before. Regardless, we come together with a common purpose: to begin a satisfying, meaningful school year.
Throughout the year, we will provide support and inspiration, encouragement and care. We will rally together when any one member of our family is in need. And like any family, there will be times of disagreement, disappointment, sorrow and pain. Through it all though, hope stems from the unity and strength of our relationships.
Desmond Tutu once said, “You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them.” As we unite tomorrow, discover the gift.