All of my adult life, I have lived by the mantra…every situation that you’re experiencing…the good and the ones that demand keeping a growth mindset…is somehow preparing you for an experience yet to come. Never has that belief been truer than life right now.
#WhoKnew that when I sat this summer, after reading Option B by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant, and reflected on what happens when Option A doesn’t work (you kick the heck out of Option B), that the focus on your #WHY would fuel my work with our staff. Today, exactly a week after ending our week-long professional development, where the staff painted and shared their #WHYs, we will need to lean on those WHYs, as we prepare to embrace our students whose trauma of being evacuated and losing not only their worldly possessions but their sense of belonging, will haunt them indefinitely. Their loss, their pain, their need for adults who will shower them with all the love they need will be our #WHY and we’re ready to kick the heck out of Option B.
|Positive Energy Filled the Room|
#WhoKnew that when my district offered me the opportunity to become a nationally certified principal coach through NAESP, that one simple activity I did this past June – The Energy Stick – would be the final activity I did with our staff before heading out to face the uncertainty of Hurricane Harvey. We stood around our PE Room, all 104 of us, and watched as the energy we transmitted to each other by holding hands, helped to light up an energy stick. We observed that if one person lets go, it has an impact on that energy stick, and shared how important it was for us to “stick” together – leave no man behind. Now, we are prepared to transmit that energy to our students and school families as only positive vibes will get us through the unknowns that we will face as a school community.
#WhoKnew that when one member of our team reached out, on behalf of another staff member who was being evacuated, and had nowhere to go…that another team member would leave the comfort of her home, and try for three hours to get to her. When that didn’t work, another team member stepped up and offered her home…all this for a staff member brand new to our campus…leave no man behind, even our #Rookies.
#WhoKnew that when our school was adopted by our business partner EagleBurgmann, three years ago, that we would have the opportunity to pay it forward and support one of their employees. For three years, our liaison worked tirelessly to support our campus, leading to a partnership unlike any other. They gifted us $250,000 to support an initiative, mentor our students, teach Junior Achievement classes, provide monthly treats for our staff, and the list could go on. So when our liaison reached out and shared that she was trapped with rising water and two little ones, I felt helpless being physically unable to get to her…but then I called upon our team…one simple Remind message asking for help, and within two minutes, more than a dozen people wanted to know where she was. The smiles on her kids’ faces after one our staff members got them out is simply priceless…#WhoKnew
#WhoKnew that when one of our staff members left her home because she was in the flood zone and relocated to an area she thought would be safe…only later to leave due to a mandatory evacuation of the relocation site…that it would put her 9 minutes away from a parent (more than 45 minutes away from our local community) who reached out to say that she was out of food and gas with two little ones. Her two relocations put her in the right place to support a family in need…#WhoKnew
#WhoKnew that when I read Kids Deserve It two summers ago and learned about Voxer, my professional life would never be the same. Almost one year ago to date, I stumbled upon #MomsAsPrincipals (MAPS) and soon after #PrincipalsInAction (PIA) and found a tribe that I would lean on daily…lean on indefinitely. These principals, (more than 200 strong between both groups) are my daily dose of coffee in the morning (and I don’t drink coffee) and my Dr. Pepper in the evening (and I don’t drink Dr. Pepper). I connect with them via Voxer…I listen, I learn, I share…we laugh together, cry together, pray for each other, sympathize with situations that only we understand, build each other up and #Reframe situations to help maintain a positive outlook, no matter the situation. I am a better leader because of them…all of whom I have never physically met, but can identify them by voices. So this summer, when someone in MAPS mentioned #WorthItBoxes…more than a dozen of us made trips to Michael’s all over the country, buying out all boxes we could find. So as the staff left one week ago…before this life altering event that will forever be etched in our memories, they found each other’s Worth It boxes, and told each other why they are #WorthIt. As our students return, it’s our turn to fill their Worth It boxes and share with them why they’re worth it…why they are worth every ounce of energy we will exert to create a new normal for them…a normal post Hurricane Harvey.
#WhoKnew that when I shared with MAPS and PIA that I had students who were displaced, students who would have needs beyond measure, that the side voxes would come in faster than I could keep up, with dozens of principals praying for the safety of our school (which miraculously did not have a stitch of damage despite the surrounding neighborhoods being completely submerged in water) and committing to adopting our campus. #Connectedness No one asked about our students’ socio-economic or immigration status. It is confirmation that there are good people in the world…that despite the political images that flood our daily lives, we are a country more united than divided, and despite all the negatives that are shared about social media, it is social media that has provided the avenue for support that we will undoubtedly need to get through the road ahead. Yes, miracles still happen!
So what I know for sure is that when given lemons, you make the most refreshing lemonade that you can…because despite the doubt and despair, unknowingly, life is preparing you for the next experience. Not that I need another Hurricane Harvey experience, but I know that this experience, is somehow preparing me for one that I will face in the future…or perhaps, I will be able to pay it forward and support another leader or campus…and when it comes, because I know my WHY, I will be ready…so thank you Hurricane Harvey for preparing me for what is yet to come. My hope is that everyone reading this will dig deep and think about their WHY, because knowing your WHY matters.