06 May Message from the Head of School, May 6, 2021
As with all things she writes or says, I have pondered what my friend and TCS parent, Sonnie Shay, wrote this week. We’ve published it as a blog post, and I hope you read it both with empathy and with your own children in mind. I won’t spoil the read for you, but I will borrow one phrase because I just can’t resist. Sonnie talks about “being present (with your children) no matter what present looks like,” and this seems to me to be both a reassuring invitation and also a challenge.
One of the things I hope most for The Covenant School is that we are concerned with the things that concern the Lord and we value the things that God values. It’s no secret that God values relationships, how we treat and enjoy one another, and that includes our children.
Of all the things we do in the name of parenting, perhaps the most impactful, often the most inconvenient, certainly the least expensive is simply to be present with them. Of course, that’s easier than it sounds. Being genuinely present means putting down the phone, making room in your schedule to drive on that fieldtrip, listening intently to what seems like inane chatter that reveals what’s really important to your child.
By the same token, “being present no matter what present looks like” also applies to our relationships to one another within the school community. There were times when my kids were young and I was involved with their class and school, that I was so distracted by life’s stressors, my own insecurities, the impression I was making, that I wasn’t really present with my children or the other parents or school personnel. What a missed opportunity! I hope differently for you. I hope you can let go of feeling like you need to dress up for a meeting at the school or put on make-up to volunteer on a fieldtrip, especially if you’re in one of those times when you’re just hanging on. What’s more, I hope you recognize that your presence is infinitely more important than what you can do for the school.
In a recent parents’ talk about what children really need from parents, I talked about the four Cs of being present with your children:
Conversation: on child’s level; child’s agenda; child’s timing
Consistency: one of your greatest gifts to your children; very difficult
Connection: your undivided presence; shared experiences; laughter
Cheerleading: lots of encouragement and support
It strikes me that our Father also values conversation with us, which we call prayer, very highly. We need only value these conversations as much as He does. He also is a Father of the highest consistency, perfect consistency, and it is a great gift to us that His precepts and His Truths are timeless and we can count on them no matter what. His undivided presence with us is something we’ve rarely, if ever, experienced human-to-human, and every experience shared with the Lord builds a stronger and stronger relationship. And lastly, He makes it clear that He is on our side, our encourager and support. The Bible is clear about all these characteristics of the Lord God.
And just as the He models what “being present” looks like for us, he also gives us the presence and consistency, the connection and encouragement we need while we are “being present no matter what present looks like” for each other and for our children.
Blessings on each of us as we seek to be present in these May moments that might otherwise fly by.