Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Middle School Principal Everyone Wants to Have

  The following was written by my daughter's middle school principal in the school's newsletter:

       I’m not sure when it happened exactly, but recently I realized I’ve reached a point in
my life when I find myself looking backward as often as I find myself looking ahead. When
you’re young, life is all about making plans and dreaming of the future, but the past is starting
to comprise a bigger and bigger chunk of the years I’ve been allotted. One of the benefits of
getting older, is the years tend to give one perspective. Recently, I found a tidbit attributed to
an “Author Unknown” that makes the point:

       Someone asked me the other day, if I had my life to live over, would I change anything?
“No,” I answered, but then I began to think . . .

       If I had my life to live over, I would have talked less and listened more. I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth. I would have never insisted that the car windows be rolled up on a summer’s day because I didn’t want to mess up my hair. I would have sat on the lawn with my children and not worried about
grass stains.

       I would have gone to bed when sick instead of pretending the earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren’t there for a day. Instead of wishing away my nine months of pregnancy, I’d have cherished every moment and realized that the wonderment growing
inside me was my only chance in life to assist God in a miracle. When my child kissed me impetuously, I would never had said, “Later – now go get washed up for dinner.” There would have been more “I love you”. . . more “I’m sorry”. . . but mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute. . . to look at life and really see it. . . to live it. . . and never give it back.

       Look, I’m not a philosopher, and believe me, there’s a lot I don’t know, but the older I get, the
more I realize just how important our children are – both yours and mine. Most of the parents of East Middle’s students are now quite a bit younger than me, and my advice to you is to cherish your children while they’re young. Plan for the future, but take time to live in the now.

       And as far as their education goes, we’re in this together. We all have a responsibility to ensure every child gets what he or she needs to be successful in life, and that’s a responsibility I and everyone else here at East Middle School takes very seriously. Sometimes it’s hard to find the right balance between being supportive and being enabling. There’s a fine line between the two, and the truth is, that line needs to be drawn at different places for every
student - sometimes in different places on different days for the same student. Knowing how best to help a student is a complicated thing. Each has his or her own personality and unique life story. Home lives are different; learning styles vary; sometimes kids have great support structures; sometime they have none. On any given day, there are students going through a life crisis – some very real; some perceived – and on the best of days, middle school is a confusing time for students, who often are simply trying to figure out who they are and what they’re all about.

       Sometimes the right thing to do is to push them harder and to hold them strictly accountable for their poor choices. Other times, the right thing to do is to push them a little less and to cut them a break.

       As educators, we don’t always have all the right answers, but I can tell you, we are far more likely to make the correct decisions when we have the support of a child’s parents, and I am constantly amazed at the level of support we receive from our parents. I hope you all know how much you kids mean to us. We may not
always make the right decisions, but it’s not because we don’t care, and the debates we sometimes have are simply a matter of trying to figure out what the right thing to do is given the current set of circumstances. These are never easy decisions, and all we can do is our very best for each child. That’s true for educators as well as parents. 
       So, I guess to bring this letter full circle, as my life progresses and I look more and more back over the years, it becomes increasingly important to me that I make a difference in the lives of all my students, and I try awfully hard to enjoy every minute I spend with them. I want to “seize every minute. . . to look at life and really see it. . .to live it. . . and never give it back.” 
       Thanks for sharing your children with us! 
       Here’s to a fabulous finish to another school year!! 

Public Schools and Choice

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