Learning to Sail

Fall is a season of hope, optimism, and fresh beginnings. At a school it’s a time of new backpacks, unsharpened pencils, and the promise of experiences to come.

There is no doubt that the celebrations of June, graduation being the greatest, bring days of joy, but I’ve always loved August and September the most …and the possibilities they suggest.

Ahead of us is a year of learning, connecting, and engaging with life and each other. What that year will look like we’d be foolish to predict, but with a spirit that embraces the unexpected and belief that all will be well, the journey ahead is as inviting as it is exciting.

little womenWill there be struggles? Yes. This is life after all. But as Louisa May Alcott reminded us in Little Women, “I’m not afraid of storms, for I’m learning how to sail my ship.” So are we all.

This year I know a number of folks, including myself, who are sailing the ships of new schools. For us, understanding our school’s culture and how we can contribute to it is high up on the checklist of autumn.

Whether we’re new students, teachers, or even principals like me, when we know what’s best about our school and how we can help to support the angels of our school’s better nature, we have the opportunity to make a difference.

I wish for everyone “new” the connections with others that allow that understanding to emerge and those opportunities to flourish. I wish for those returning to familiar seas a fair breeze and the urge to welcome everyone with a bellow of love.

I once worked for a superintendent who greeted us each fall with a hearty “Happy New Year!” I heard in that refrain the feeling of freedom that comes from a fresh start, a new opportunity, and a chance to begin again, informed by the past but not shackled to it. It is in August and September that we feel the sense of hope that comes when we look around our school and see kindred spirits, curiosity, and creativity, and we know that storms or not, we are setting sail on this adventure together.

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