In many schools and districts around the country, Heads of Schools, Principals, Board Chairs, Administrators, Faculty and Parents are at odds with each other. Whether it was responding to the pandemic and hybrid teaching or the racial reckoning and schools declaring themselves antiracist, finding common ground and peace seems elusive. Underneath all of this conflict are difficult decisions that all of us must make about how we want to influence the world in which we live and how much change we are willing to endure.
Difficult decisions have often made me feel powerless. And yet, it's incredibly empowering to make a decision and follow through. One such time was when I decided to quit smoking. April 14, 2003 was a pivotal day in my life and represents a necessary change I had to endure. You can feel the same when quitting an unsatisfying job or leaving an unhealthy relationship or standing by your convictions and beliefs. Granted, cigarettes have a physical and chemical addiction, but maybe the same can be said for a job or person. It's easy to fall into patterns and habits, and shy away from or fear change.
Fearing the worst, quitting was a lot easier than I imagined. I heard nicotine was harder to quit than heroin, not having ever tried heroin, I had no reference to hold me back. I chose my last smoking day, bought the nicotine patch, did a lot of deep breathing and then it was just me and no cigarettes.
As I mentioned before, when faced with a difficult decision, I think back to April 14 and take a few deep breaths and find my strength. For everyone faced with a challenging decision, angered or disillusioned watching our country make decisions not in line with our beliefs, or not feeling supported at work, it is easy to feel isolated from others. While living in times that seem to be defined by what divides us, summer might be a great time to ask ourselves: “How do our actions align with our values?" When we make choices that elevate our wellbeing and reaffirm our personal convictions, we make it easier to find common ground with others in challenging times.
Hoping you find a little peace over the summer,