30 Apr Message from the Head of School April 29
Good Evening Families,
Throughout my 35ish years of working professionally, I have experienced many, many times of overcommitting myself and having to pull back, usually my health being the limiting factor. After about 25 years of this, I began to see this pattern – a slow learner, to be sure. In more recent years I’ve been open to a more sane and reasonable reaction to being overwhelmed – I make a jettison plan. The best-known definition of jettison is to lighten the load of a ship when it’s in distress, by throwing overboard anything not necessary so the ship can right itself. Figuratively speaking, we as a culture have had to jettison all non-essential work and congregating in order to “right the ship” of our collective health and safety.
Overboard went school-in-the-building and shopping, after-school activities and haircuts, dining in restaurants, even toilet paper (for a while). Life as we knew it changed drastically, but it’s working. The jettison plan is working. COVID cases around the country are reaching their peeks and some are dropping, and much of the credit for that lies in social distancing.
Sometimes, in an effort to right our own ship, we need wisdom to determine what should go overboard – that extra activity, that dreaded commitment, that draining relationship – these are easy choices. But sometime, we have to decline enjoyable and fulfilling activities for a time in order to allow our lives to return to balance. Learning to deliberately and thoughtfully enact a personal jettison plan is not only an act of maturity but also shows a willingness to surrender to the realities of our lives.
The current economic uncertainty will require most of us to enact a budgetary jettison plan. Already you might be looking at all your commitments and their costs and making preliminary cuts here and there. And certainly, cutting back will more quickly right your financial ship, but, I invite you to consider that there is so much more to think about than just the money. Usually, it’s not just about the math – money in and money out – but more about priority. We prioritize the things that are of most value to us. And during this time, we are going to have to make some decisions based on more than money, based on priority.
I hope you have recognized the value of having your children’s learning continue, even at a distance. Perhaps it doesn’t make sense on paper, but it makes lots of sense when your child’s teacher shows up on your doorstep to talk with your child awhile after he’s had a difficult week. Or when your child’s teacher is happy to spend one-on-one time with your child when she’s confused about something. Or when a teacher keeps your child after Zoom to offer a pep talk and some much-needed encouragement. I hope you see the ways that, even in distance learning, the teachers have continued to know and love and prepare your children, no matter what it takes.
I trust God to provide for all of us – for you individually, for our school, for our city. I pray for wisdom and discernment from Him as we make decisions for our families. I trust that any jettison plans we need to make will be thoughtful and prayerful. And I hope that our decisions will reflect the values and priorities of our families, and not simply the bottom line.
Grateful for each of you,