08 Apr Message from the Head of School April 8th
Dear Parents and Friends of TCS,
A fuzzy understanding of just where the line of “acceptable” is can draw up anxiety in all of us, but particularly in those of us who liked getting good grades when we were in school, who still like a good, solid checklist to tell us when we’re done, who consider ourselves to be initiators or high achievers. You know who you are. This time stinks for us, because there is no well-defined right way to live in a pandemic.
We tell our children that we want them to “do their best” – which, at best is a very fuzzy notion, and at worst is a highly confusing and anxiety-inducing concept. What’s the criteria for “doing your best?” In these times the line shifts, depending upon the day. What does it look like for your family to “do their best?” Maybe one day doing your best means a thorough completion of all things academic, a tidy and clean house, well-behaved and cooperative children, and a nutritious family dinner. That was Monday. Maybe Tuesday doing your best means that everyone in the family is still speaking to each other at the end of the day.
Predictability reduces anxiety – for you, for me, for our children. Infusing this odd time of uncertainty with some certainty means bringing a little more structure into each day. I see that many of you have schedules for your children and our teachers have suggested some as well. These are not in place to drive you, to hold you accountable, to put pressure on you or your child. They are simply to infuse predictability in a way that is comforting. Children love traditions and customs – chapel each morning, birthdays, reading at bedtime – because they bring a level of predictability that is comforting to them.
I bring this idea up now because we are weary. We are in a weary time when all the adrenaline that has been fueling us is running low. There is no absolute predictability to the pandemic. It’s not like a tornado or a fire, which are tragic but have a clear end to the event and a clear path to rebuilding and to coming back to life. None of us knows for sure how this is going to end, what the rebuilding will look like, what our timeline is for “back to normal.” We can’t rely on our adrenalin to carry us through this stressful time for another four weeks or more. Not to mention the fact that high levels of adrenalin over an extended time is very bad for our bodies and souls.
This is not how God designed either our bodies or our brains to work. So, how are we to respond moving forward? How do we settle into a new rhythm of life as we also grieve the loss of normal? For starters, we need to enact the stereotypical New Year’s resolutions – move our bodies more, eat healthy, get enough sleep, limit news and social media – all so very important. But even more important to remember is we were not created to live in the past or in the future. We are created to live in the now. Staying in the now allows us to breathe, to be present with each other, to recognize the beauty of what God is doing in our lives. Staying in the nowreleases us from the tyranny of anxiety about the future and regrets about the past. Jesus knows that the heart of a human is prone to move between the past and the future. In Matthew 6 He said, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” I see this not as a friendly suggestion but as a directive.
My prayer for myself, for you, for the faculty, for all of us, is that we will choose to benjoy the beauty and brilliance of now.