Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Losing your focus

I admit it- I lost my way today. In fact these last few weeks have taken me pretty far off course. Farther then I would like to admit even to myself. It's been one of those weeks that try even the toughest. One thing after another, after another- you get the point. Some monumental, some mundane, but all important in the moment. Some have gone away, some have not and some have taken a brief hiatus until they choose to show up again. I am a reflective person by nature so I have tried to save a little time each day to sit and think and recharge. Great in theory, unrealistic sometimes in practice.

The common thread, though, through all of this has been flexibility. I was taught that it was the acceptable "F" word in education and I like to think that I am and always have been very flexible. So without going into the gory details, which I am sure by comparison are old news, I am happy to say that I did find my way back to the main road today in the most unlikely place; the lost and found box. I was leaving school today and I noticed a student by the big plastic abyss of lost and not yet found items, and I stopped to say hello. Turns out he was looking for an item of some monumental importance, I learned a long time ago that everything is of monumental importance to the person telling you about it, so I helped him look. It was 5:30 in the afternoon and I had been at school since 7:00 that morning, but I stopped anyway. He was looking for a make-up kit. Instead of question him about the nature of the item I posed a different question. I asked him when he lost the make-up kit. He said it wasn't his (much to my relief) but his sister's. He went on to say that she lost it three month ago, just after getting it for Christmas, and he looks for it everyday. Even though his sister has chalked it up as lost forever, he has not lost hope because it will make her very happy if he finds it.

This experience taught me two things:

  1. This is what it is all about. Not state testing, not irate parents, not irate teachers, not bell schedules or parking problems or bus write-ups or even next year's master schedule. It is about the kids!! Period!! Jim (we will call him Jim) didn't have a care in the world at that moment in time except for finding the thing that would make his sister happy. It is my job then to encourage that good character and do everything in my power to keep him from losing that empathy and human compassion.
  2. That there is hope. Don't chalk something up as lost just because it doesn't show up the first 20 times you look for it. Persevere and only good things will happen.
I am thinking about buying Jim a new make-up kit (if I can explain that one to my wife) but I don't think that it would mean as must to him as finding what he's been looking for.

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