27 Aug Message from The Head of School, August 27, 2020
My sisters and their families are in the path of Hurricane Laura. Category Four at landfall. Fifteen to twenty-foot storm surge (imagine that). One sister lives in Lake Charles, which, predictions say, will take a direct hit. She has spent the last three days emptying out her downstairs, loading furniture onto a moving truck, packing up for the duration, and heading east. Her parish is under a mandatory evacuation. My other sister is even further south and she also is making her plans, setting up the generator, boarding up the windows, and gassing up the car just in case. And, after talking with them, even though I am safe in Tennessee and 700 miles away, I feel the same surge of energy to prepare, to plan, to worry.
And this feeling feels very familiar. I bet that, as parents, you have felt this heightened vigilance, for some months now during a pandemic as destructive as a hurricane.
While we aren’t awaiting a hurricane at Covenant, we nonetheless have felt that same surge of energy as we prepared and opened up another school year in the midst of a pandemic.
There is an article circulating among our Leadership and Faculty that describes what author Tara Haelle calls operating in “Surge Capacity.” In her article, Haelle discusses how our brains struggle to process long-term stress (think pandemic), especially when we are weary and worried. We know this, of course, but it may be that we know it only in our heads. What happens to our hearts when we’ve been operating in “surge capacity” for a while? How might we protect our own hearts and the hearts of our children from unhealthy stress and unhelpful thinking?
Some of you have already figured this out. You’ve been spending more time in God’s presence, more time in prayer, lifting your cares to Him who cares so deeply for us. You’ve figured out that watching the news and focusing on what you can’t control is fruitless. So instead you’re focusing on what’s good and right (Philippians 4:8) and you’re hoisting your heavy load of anxiety on Him (1 Peter 5:7) and you’re trusting the global concerns (this pandemic) and the personal concerns (your own children in this pandemic) to Him (Proverbs 3:5-6). You are not burdening your children’s hearts with information they are too young to understand, and you are speaking truth to them – even hard truth – in love. You are shepherding your children’s hearts even as you shepherd your own.
Let me share with you something noble, something pure, something admirable to recognize. Your. Children’s. Teachers. Their teachers have sacrificed much in the way of time and energy and resources to make learning in this prolonged pandemic a wonderfully memorable experience. Your children’s faces, attitudes, and demeanors beautifully illustrate the fruit of all that work. Welcoming your children into this school year has been our privilege, and I cannot be more proud of our faculty and staff. Your encouragement of them means so much and many of you have already reached out in appreciation. This is noble, honorable, good.
Our positive experience with this school year thus far will only be sustainable as we yield our hearts to God, regardless of what this year might bring. I continue to pray for you, parents, and for your children. Their little masked faces are such a blessing to me. Please let me or one of our staff know if we can help make this year even better for your child or your family.
In covenant with you,