Good evening FLRSD,
November has arrived and this week has brought temperatures that left many people smiling and wanting to get outside, yet often the comments also heard included “enjoy it while it lasts”, “the harsh reality of winter will be here soon” or sadly “I can’t enjoy this weather there is too much going on”. All three of those statements are clearly surrounded by truth - Winter IS coming and we ALL are incredibly busy - yet, it does not mean we cannot appreciate and be present for the moment. Even if that is all we have, a moment before we get back to whatever needs our attention. During those opportunities of “what’s next”, or “this won’t last” we lose sight of what the moment could or does mean. And that is true with making assumptions about others, based upon our own thinking and the fact that if we can stay “in the moment” we might see and understand a lot more.
Aristotle once said “ Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all”. That quote has become a lifelong foundational belief that we must never lose sight of and recently, I read the words of a woman that reinforced everything that Aristotle was thinking. The following is a portion of the written transcript of what she witnessed with a group of middle school students, who although are not FLRSD students truly represent what so many of our students practice daily.
Today I saw something that made me tear up. An elderly veteran with multiple medical issues wanted to get a meal with his wife at a local pizza restaurant. There he sat with his oxygen tubes and oxygen machine and his cap that identified his branch of service in a long past war. In the same restaurant, a middle school choir was also enjoying lunch. Several of them saw him and started to sing the national anthem. The entire choir stood up, faced him, and joined in singing. This warrior struggled to stand, placed his hand/cap over his heart, and wept as the choir sang. The humble and noble expression on his face said everything to me. There stands a true hero. HOWEVER, maybe more importantly the actions of these kids tell me that even though some people say America is bruised, she for sure ain't broken.
Everyday we see so many members of the larger FLRSD community support each other, gather to lend a hand to strangers and who simply believe that helping someone is not done to get something in return, but rather that paying it forward is a way of life. This is so true when it comes to our students as well, and although some might believe that our country is struggling, the reality is that so many of our students represent kindness, compassion, voices of change, talent, and HOPE! They feel the pain of others because they see/hear with their hearts and that is something we all can learn from and that they have learned from loved ones and from our staff. Their daily behavior reminds me of a quote that my son’s amazing special education teacher and paraprofessional sent home recently to describe Jack who does not “see” very well at all but “feels” everything with his heart!
Be the one who “sees” .
Be the one who “sees” the hurting and gives.
Be the one who “sees” beyond the shadows and loves.
Be the one who “sees” the lost and shows up.
Be the one who “sees” the bags of food for sale for others and buys them.
We need a world of “seeing”.
We really need a world of “seeing” in this time of uncertainty. It’s so easy to be so busy or self absorbed and to miss the power of “seeing”.
When you “See” with your heart you have the opportunity to Change a life and that is the greatest gift we can give the world.
I am so incredibly proud to work in collaboration with Faculty, Staff, Paraprofessionals, Principals,Assistant Principals,Counselors, Nurses, IT and Library Media Staff, Coaches, Advisors, SRO, Custodians, Maintenance, and Food Service Staff who work diligently to “understand” the needs, perspectives and hurdles that all students have. Every student has a story and a desire to feel heard and to feel as if they belong here! We as a school community know there is always more to do, more to know and more to improve upon, but we are very aware of the great things that happen here, and we work with the absolute belief that this school district will be even more successful if we collaborate, work together, fill it with kindness and most of all, have an “understanding” rather than an assumption of each other.
Be safe, be healthy and I hope that you reach out to someone who has guided you with kindness when others might not have, and give the same in return to someone.
Alan Strauss, Superintendent- email@example.com
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