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Reflections from a Silent Meeting
September 26, 2008
Julia Russell Eells, Head of School

I’d 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 seconds!

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. 

While 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:




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