Good afternoon FLRSD,
Every day, multiple times a day, something catches my eye that reconfirms my belief that there is so much more positivity around us than the world wants to acknowledge. Whether it is an act of kindness that reminds me of what I see daily within FLRSD from adults and students, extra effort, or the partnership between people I am always inspired by the “WHY” someone does a little more or looks at life as half full rather than half empty when so many choose to not do so.
I saw it when I spent 45 minutes at the Superintendent Roundtable - with 8 remarkable students, K-3, and Principal Pineault from AES on Monday; all of whom spoke so wonderfully about kindness, about their love of learning and liking their teachers so much while passionately directing me to have a chocolate fountain in the cafeteria and Pizza Hut Fridays!.
And yesterday, I noticed a group of ARHS students dressed after practice, getting gas; when they saw a woman, with two small children, drop some money walking into store and instead of pocketing the money - they walked up to her, gave her back her money and ran to open the doors so she could continue to maneuver with both her angels. The students had nothing to gain from this and as I introduced myself and thanked them for the respect they showed to themselves, to their family, to their team and to the woman, I asked them WHY? And they said because they “know what it is like to not have lots of money and if their mother lost money they would hope someone would return it. We saw it and we knew what we were supposed to do!” They said their parents, grandparents, teachers and coaches taught them to do the right thing, and that “good things will happen when you really need it.” Wise words from the role models in their lives. They had a choice and it reminded me once again of the choice WE all have everyday in every situation.
It is my hope that the story below brings you some reflection and works as a gentle reminder that in a fast paced world, ALL of us sometimes forget to remember that everyone has a story and we must know the story - before we pass judgment - so we should choose kindness over any judgment.
A 24 year old boy looking out from the train’s window shouted and everyone could hear…
“Dad, look, the trees are going behind us, where did they go!”
His conversation was so loud, his hands continued to gesture frequently and his excitement was not typical of a 12 year old let alone a 24 year old.
At the next moment he spoke with incredible clarity of the alignment of the clouds and what distinguishing shape each represented.
Dad smiled at a couple sitting nearby, as they looked at the 24 year old’s combination of brilliance with awe and his simultaneous childish behavior with pity and disdain.
Suddenly the young man again exclaimed…
“Dad, look the clouds are running with us!” I want to run too, this is so aweeeeesome”. And the young man got up and although a bit unsteady, slowly tried to walk in the aisle of the train. with the clouds.
The couple couldn’t resist and said loud enough for the father to hear…
“Why doesn’t he take him to a doctor and help him and eventually he will learn to control himself, especially in public? We shouldn’t have to listen to this!”
The father smiled and said…
“I did take him to the doctors, I have since he was born, and we are just coming from the hospital. My son was almost completely blind from birth, and we just had special surgery on his eyes today and he is seeing completely for the first time. So I ask that you let him and I enjoy this and maybe understand that everything is not always as it seems!”
Every single person on the planet has a story and since we will rarely know someone’s full story we should just be kind and not judge!
In reading this, I think about the work that our staff does in getting to know as much as they can, without intruding on the story everyone brings into FLRSD. I thank them for their kindness, their understanding and their willingness to understand someone’s story. When we do not know, we cannot help - so I ask this week to always remember that our Teachers, Nurses, Administrators, Counselors, Paraprofessionals, Schedulers, Secretaries, SRO, IT and Library Media Staff, coaches, Maintenance, Custodial and Food Service Staff as well as Central Office Administration and Staff, School Committee, our First Responders, Town Officials and our community partners all are here to assist in any way that we can. Whether we know the full story or not and although the results might not be as one might wish for, the opportunity to learn about one’s story will always be present.They care deeply and I am proud of their work! I hope you are as well.
Have a great week and it is my hope that no one judges you without knowing your story and that you do the same for some people you encounter this week.
Alan Strauss, Superintendent- firstname.lastname@example.org
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