As is my habit (one I have learned from many heads of school, including our own Mr. Rowell), I recently bent down by one of our brick walkways to pick up a stray piece of paper, which turned out to be a Post-it Note which contained the following list:
☑ Study for vocab
☑ Math problems
☑ Work on outline
☑ Do grammar wb
☐ Work on science
I thought then about how much that little list revealed about the Gill St. Bernard’s student who had dropped it--whether in Lower, Middle, or Upper School--but also how much it revealed about the school itself. Here was a student not only busy in a variety of ways in a multitude of subjects, but also engaged in organizing that business and completing the tasks necessary to be successful. Here is a balance between the disciplines—each with its work to be done. Here is a balance in assessments—writing, testing, experimenting, and speaking. And here is a balance, a symmetry in the completed pairs with their matching checkmarks.
So too, have we at GSB worked hard, moved forward, and accomplished good things. We have worked for balance despite the changes in footing that tried to knock us aside these last months. We have sought to replace the disorder of a pandemic with the order of planning. We have resisted sickness with sensitivity. Our winter has been brisk, but not bleak.
Of course, we also notice that on this list, as in ourselves, work remains to be done. For this unnamed student, perhaps a lab report remains. For us, however, there remain larger tasks: compassion, excellence, and justice in our society, for instance; but equally important are the small acts of kindness in individual lives—a meal for a family friend, a card of sympathy, a hug—that we may think sometimes of doing, but just as often forego in the harried rush of living.
How then can we respond? Let us check off those to-dos for today. If we happen to drop our list in the salt or the snow, or if we don’t quite get to the ends of our inspiration, we can always start again tomorrow.