Today was a hard day.
You know that you’ll face a lot of challenges as a leader of a school. There are issues of bullying, custody battles, teacher morale, curriculum creation and analysis; community building… the list goes on and on.
No one can really prepare you for all of that, but somehow those of us who are crazy enough to take on this leadership role manage to find innovative ways of coping with all of these challenges. We become the glue that holds everything together. Actually, that’s not true, the teachers are the glue, admins are the ones planning on where the glue needs to be to keep it all together… Alright I’m beginning to sound a lot like a glue salesman and I shouldn’t.
Today was difficult because one of our colleagues passed away last Sunday. I work at a Catholic school and this was a time when I was called upon to be a true spiritual leader for my community. It wasn’t easy and I only got through it by the grace of another spirit, “The Holy Spirit.” I know I don’t have the strength to do it on my own.
I really dislike going to funerals… there’s something about them that really impacts me. I’m happy for the soul that can now move on with the Lord, but there’s finality in the physical sense and being faced with that reality has a deep and lasting effect upon me; it always has. For that reason, I rarely attend funeral services. Yet, I found myself in the position of being the school leader who arranged grief counselors, kept the community informed, cancelled a school day for the services, coordinated the necessary events, and spoke at the service.
It was hard.
We lost a friend and a colleague. We lost someone dedicated to children and the Lord. We lost someone just like ourselves. It is during times like these that you truly learn what servant leadership is all about. It’s not about you. The services weren’t about my discomfort or me; it was about a life that was to be celebrated. It was about the needs of my students, faculty, and the family. Its during times like these that one must reach deep within and pull upon the strength of the Holy Spirit as well as the strength of friends.
I put on a strong face all week. I pushed through various challenges that face a school on a day-to-day basis as well as the crisis at hand. But today I broke one of my personal rules.
I cried in the presence of my faculty. Generally, I do all I can to not let emotion show, but I think this is a special circumstance. Maybe it’s a good thing. Maybe they’ll realize I’m a little more human than they once thought. But there’s only so much a person can take before that silent wave of emotion washes over you and spills out.
The children at the service made it better, their smiles and their laughter. They reminded me why my colleague and myself were in teaching in the first place.
I know this post isn’t as well written as it could be, but I’m a bit spent after today.
I guess the whole point of this post is to help myself come to grips with the gravity of the situation.
I just want to thank those of you who have been with me and helped me as I tried my best to be the leader my community needed, you know who you are. I may not have done everything right, but I’m trying, every day. Something as serious as death reminds me that we have limited time on this planet. Let’s make the best of it and let’s make it a better place for our children to learn.
My thoughts and prayers are with you all and I know that my colleague watches over us as we continue to help our children learn.
Make a difference today. For we do not know the hour when we may be called to greater things.