January 2002 / Resolutions

Question Mark
Ask the Superintendent: Resolutions
Superintendent's Column
Peninsula Clarion
D. Peterson

January 9, 2002

2002 Resolutions - are they set? This time of year naturally brings reflection, gratefulness, and intention to improve. Three very special interactions and stories featuring children have shaped my personal and professional short list of resolutions for the new year. I urge you to be kind to yourself as you review the year, be thankful for all that you have, and keep your list short as personal change is a tough job.

Resolution #1 - Recapture childlike innocence.

In this high-stakes, politically-correct, professional world in which we live, sometimes we "beat around the bush". I'm not talking about being direct to the point of being rude, but being direct so that others really know what we're thinking and feeling... always with courtesy. The story that best brings home this point was witnessed about three weeks ago. At a local store, a youth group, holding a fund-raiser, was selling items for the holidays. Of course, we bought more than we needed - after all, it's for the kids! When time came for delivery, Mom drove Junior around to make sure everyone received their order. Mom urged Junior to be polite and to thank the nice people who supported the group's efforts. Before turning to leave, Mom prompted Junior, "Anything else?" Junior replied, "Thanks, Oh, and by the way, you need to buy from me next year!" Though Mom was a bit concerned about this direct statement, we giggled, and assured Junior that we WOULD be looking for him the next year. His childlike enthusiasm and excitement was refreshing. He was talking from his heart. He probably had learned that raising money wasn't always fun and he was making sure that next year was going to be a bit easier.

Resolution #2 - Believe the best about people.

In the area in which I live, post boxes are located along the side of the road. One night I arrived home after dark, but scurried across the street to grab the mail. Low and behold, there was no mailbox. In fact, the whole line of mailboxes was gone. Not that I'm a great fix-it person but I rarely see home during the daylight hours and I knew the possibility of getting my mailbox functional (once it could be located) was going to take some doing. By the time I made it through the front door, I was pretty upset at "Whoever was so _____ (wreckless/ irresponsible/ careless, etc.) to slide into the mailboxes with a vehicle and then just take them." Imagine my chagrin when a couple of hours later, a knock came at the front door and a very polite teenager handed me the mail, explained that he'd had a slight accident, apologized profusely for the inconvenience, and said that he wanted to come back and help fix the mailbox. My attitude completely changed. In fact before he left, I was trying to mother him and give advice for how best to fix his vehicle. We all have accidents, we all make mistakes. People are basically good and if given the chance, will usually let their good side shine.

Resolution #3 - Know that the future is bright.

Sometimes we get caught up in the negative press, the story about a good person gone sour. You can bet that the school district's senior management team members often hear about bad things that happen. We regularly receive a good healthy dose of reality; our jobs don't usually get to us, but just before the holiday break it seemed that things were coming into the central office almost too quickly to be handled well. Prior to the holiday, school district personnel are all trying to attend as many "kid" activities as possible. There are only a couple of times a year that we feel like we're "just hanging on by our fingernails" but it does happen. Just as this feeling hit us hard, and we were beginning to whether what we did was worth it, a group of carolers came by the Borough Building. The swing choir from a local high school performed for almost twenty minutes - great voices, well prepared, full of joy; with Santa hats, motions to all the songs, and excellent expressions - they were GREAT!! Everyone cheered and clapped and loved seeing students having a good time. The future is so bright! This single event made us all realize that our very capable young people hold the promise and the skills to make our world a wonderful place.

So, as you develop your own list, think of stories that make you the happiest. Think of those bits of humor that surround all of us each and every day. Mostly, look around and surround yourself with those many, many people on the peninsula that make this a unique and wonderful place to live. Best wishes for the New Year!