Reflections on Gratitude in the Midst of Fear

As we read the newspapers and watch the news, we’re often asked to stare down events
so tragic that they can paralyze us with fear. I find myself searching for meaning and even looking for someone to blame for the dearth of good answers to the challenges we see all around us. I don’t know about you, but the emotional roller coaster wears me down. I find myself stumbling a bit as I try to ascribe purpose to the events around me.

When I see tragedy, I can’t help but view it through the lens of education. For every lost adult I see on thHopeless-Hopefule news, I see the face of a child failed by a system that too often puts the needs of the grown-ups in front those of the kids. That’s why the commitment we’ve made here at CSD to never, ever fail a child is both our sincerest hope and our most daunting task. The weight it carries can truly be staggering.

Rather than surrendering to this feeling of hopelessness, let me suggest another route as we approach this Thanksgiving holiday:

Reflect instead upon the goodness that surrounds us and celebrate with gratitude.

I’ll start:

I am grateful to work beside colleagues who approach every child with deep and sincere commitment.

I am proud that our CSD families are quick to care about all children rather than just their own.

I am grateful that our staff, parents, and students are willing to ask questions and seek understanding before making assumptions and passing judgment, even as we endeavor to improve and tweak to serve our students better.

I am convinced that the dialogue we pursue in response to your questions only makes us better.

I honor the fact that we are engaged in a continuous effort toward being the best version of ourselves.

As I work to make meaning of this often confusing world, I remind everyone at CSD to know that we are safe to talk, ask questions, and disagree. And that the journey in which we are engaged has as much hopefulness and potential and celebration in the making as it has challenge and heartbreak and fear.

I am so grateful to you all for creating an environment in which these discussions feel safe.

Brene’ Brown’s Rising Strong, a beautiful and thought provoking book, ends with the “Manifesto of the Brave and Brokenhearted.” As I read this piece, it reminded me of “The Man in the Arena” speech by Theodore Roosevelt. Many of you know that this speech is near and dear to my heart. As I read the words written below, I was reminded that real heroes are not perfect; nor are they the ones who never make mistakes. They are the ones who persevere on the journey. They are the ones who stay present. I share Brown’s words with you now as we enter thi season of Thanksgiving and gratitude. I hope that these words speak to you in a way that makes the coming days more peaceful and full of hope.

Manifesto of the Brave and Brokenhearted

There is no greater threat to the critics and the cynics
and fearmongers
Than those of us who are willing to fall
Because we have learned how to rise

With skinned knees and bruised hearts;
We choose owning our stories of struggle,
Over hiding, over hustling, over pretending.

When we deny our stories, they define us.
When we run from struggle, we are never free.
So we turn toward truth and look it in the eye.

We will not be characters in our stories.
Not villains, not victims, not even heroes.

We are the authors of our lives.
We write our own daring endings.

We craft love from heartbreak,
Compassion from shame,
Grace from disappointment,
Courage from failure.

Showing up is our power.
Story is our way home.
Truth is our song.
We are the brave and brokenhearted.
We are rising strong.

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One thought on “Reflections on Gratitude in the Midst of Fear

  1. Pingback: Week of November 30 | CSD Power of We: K-7 Staff Edition

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