January 2021 Superintendent’s Message

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I had this article started… actually almost finished… before the 1st and as usual, my procrastination to put the finishing touches has led me in a different direction. 

Last night as I was winding down from a day of working with data, I was flipping through recent articles on one of my feeds.  I came across an article out of Harvard Business School that caught my eye.  It was on the science of “Happiness” and its study in their MBA program.  I was intrigued as I had read about this in the past and thus started down that road again…I wasn’t going to sleep anyway as the weather often keeps me up this time of year. So why not.

This morning when I awoke and as I was waiting for my truck to warm up and de-ice, I started going through my emails from the weekend. I came across one that I received from a teacher sharing a video by George Couros, a recognized speaker and now podcaster about educational leadership. His podcast had short clips of other leaders he had interviewed throughout the year. Each spoke about what they have learned about teaching and learning during this pandemic, both from a student perspective and a teaching perspective. Several of the clips circled back to the meaning and finding of happiness.

I am no expert on happiness but have come to a personal conclusion that it is not to be found in things as much as in the moments of life.  We often believe that when I have this or complete that, I will be happy.  But to me, at this moment happiness is the experiences of life, both good and bad, both easy and challenging…like a pandemic…. that brings us to an appreciation of the sweet simplicity of being alive and in the lives of others.

We celebrated Christmas on New Year’s Eve with two of our children at our house…that’s four more adults, five children aged 9 mo., 1, 3, 4 and 7 …… and lest we forget three black labs to go with ours and our Toto dog. Upon their arrival the dogs were my cue..they were not coming for the afternoon..they were all spending the night. Oh! Glorious Chaos….and they got to stay another day because of the storm. 

It wasn’t in the gifts we shared, but the time we spent in our “forced family fun” that brought the sense of happiness.  It was the time to slow down, to talk and most importantly to listen to each of them and myself.  

Happiness is the ultimate quest we seek for ourselves, our children and their children. In the chaos of our lives, I fear we lose our focus…..happiness is not a medal, a title or an event.  It is the joy of knowing and caring for yourself and others. To find this joy we have to be willing to listen to both ourselves and others…really listen. 

In today’s world with so much speed and noise, this is often really hard. We have to take the time to slow down, reflect and be in the moment..not somewhere else.  To everything there is a blessing if we seek to find it.  The pandemic has given us this gift, if we choose to take it.  

As the new year starts, I more greatly commit to happiness. I wish you the best and above all happiness in this new year as well.

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