My evening commute is a time for reflection. It’s amazing how 35 miles gives one time and space to think. This is probably the first time that I’ve been alone all day. It’s also the time that I use to get ready to go home to my family. Early in my career, I read a story where a couple of 50 years told of leaving the troubles of the day behind before walking through the door at home. It was one of their secrets for a happy marriage. The husband told of literally touching a tree before entering the house. This tree was a symbolic vessel for all of the problems and stress that he had encountered that day. He knew that he could pick it back up on his way to work the next day, but that his time at home was sacred for family. That’s the goal of my reflective time, to be able to leave it before I enter our home.
Sometimes reflection leads to problem solving. Other times, it leads to deep breaths and meditative thoughts. I often focus on individual children, individual teachers, or a meeting that needs further action. Sometimes, I catch myself laughing out loud over the funny things that kids have said or done throughout the day. Other times, I worry over hungry kids, kids who aren’t learning to read as quickly as we would like or kids who are just angry. I often think about individual conversations and ways that I can help a colleague, a child or a parent.
Tonight was difficult reflection for me; thinking of a friend who is surviving and fighting cancer with an undeniable spiritual strength, worrying about students who are facing retention, considering some life changing decisions that need to be made with teachers and families before the end of the year. I felt a painful lump in my heart and in my throat.
Tears began to well in my eyes, burning…
Leaders cry sometimes too… Don’t they?