For a long time, I have believed the notion and concept of “it takes a village.” While Hilary Clinton’s book formalized this for me, I’ve grown up with the idea, this belief probably because of the family I grew up in, the ideals and ideas instilled in us by my mom and dad, by my brothers and sisters, by the folks who entered and stayed in my life these sixty years. I’ve seen it again and again in my own life and I’ve seen it in the lives of others.
For example and most recently, the home of one of our seniors burnt to the ground earlier this week. There is little, if anything, left. Maybe a few clothing items. Maybe one or two other items, but by and large, the house and all that was in it is gone. It happened in the middle of the night and thankfully, there wasn’t any harm to the family.
Now, our seniors graduate one week from tomorrow. This young man will walk across the stage and receive his diploma. This is a moment of celebration, but I have to believe, for this young man and his family, even if they try, the celebratory mood literally went up in smoke and flame.
But . . .
A teacher came to me concerned about this young man. We talked, and I walked her over to the guidance office where we met with the young man’s counselor and our social worker. A plan was developed and an email . . . an SOS . . . was sent out to the staff asking for gift cards for the young man. I, and they, and my staff realize that we can’t replace everything. No way. I mean, seventeen or eighteen years of “stuff” . . . how would it be possible to replace everything?
But . . .
More than any other school I’ve been in, this school community is family. It was family before I arrived and it will be family long after I’m gone. It’s in our school culture. It’s in the way we do business. We might not necessarily agree with each other all the time, but what family does? In the end, we come together because we’re family. It’s our way.
So . . .
It is our hope that we can lessen the load. Perhaps, help this young man lift a bit of the weight off his shoulders. That is our hope.
And that is the Power Of We.
Things get done when We are involved. Ideas take off and become airborne. Projects and plans take root and grow.
But . . .
It took that one teacher who came to me and asked, “Can we help? Can we do something?”
That is the Importance Of I.
We can’t sit around and wait for someone else to step up. We can’t wait for someone else to step forward. That brief moment might pass and then nothing happens. How tragic is that?