Reflections from a Silent Meeting
September 26, 2008
Julia Russell Eells, Head of School
like to share a “reality check” moment I had yesterday morning. I was
quietly listening to conversation at a meeting when I began to flip
through my monthly calendar of school events. As I reviewed what was
ahead for us at Lincoln – debates, games, parent conferences, trustee
meetings, reunions, the Book Festival, lectures, concerts – I realized
that I had surveyed the next three months…in a period of about six
At the risk of sounding cliché, I quickly became
troubled by the fact that we move from event to event so quickly that
we often don’t have the proper time to appreciate each moment with our
friends, family, teachers, teammates and classmates.
the school year at Lincoln began on such a warm and positive note, we
are in the midst of some very challenging times. From Wall Street to
Washington, we are facing some very difficult economic and leadership
challenges. We are watching an historic presidential campaign unfold
minute-by-minute. Closer to home, we are all feeling the soaring cost
of living, our seniors are facing a very competitive college admission
landscape, and the role technology plays in our lives is gaining on us
faster than we (at least the adults) can manage. These events can be
very stressful in our families and in our schools.
This is a
good time to remind our community that we at Lincoln hold together –
and have done so for 124 years – on a set of shared values: Simplicity,
Peace, Integrity, Community, Equity and Service to Others. It is our
resilience as teachers and learners, as individuals and as a community
to look thoughtfully and critically at issues and continue to press
forward with our mission. It is also our ability to reflect and
cherish each moment while remaining focused on the long view that
continues to keep this institution so strong.
The word that
best describes my wish for us all today is serenity. I am so grateful
that we have these Friday mornings for reflection. In these quickly
changing and uncertain times, it is such a gift to be still for a
moment. Let us cherish all that we have every moment (difficult and
easy), every decision (good and bad), every triumph, and every defeat.
Each moment has so much to teach us.
Here are links to National Association of Independent Schools and PBS for further discussion about schools and stress:http://www.pbs.org/parents/earlylearning/soothing.html http://www.pbs.org/nights/blog/2008/09/stress_portrait_of_a_killer.html http://www.nais.org/about/article.cfm?ItemNumber=149510&sn.ItemNumber=4181&tn.ItemNumber=147271