It seems odd to be writing this, my first blog after our March Break, knowing that our community and the world are facing a new normal for at least a while, and perhaps longer.
In the past, my post-break blog usually included reference to the many books I had been fortunate to read while on holiday. Books- particularly fiction- are a great comfort for me. They afford time in which I can shift focus from day-to-day work and long-term planning, to living the lives of an author’s characters, considering varying opinions, and finding wonderful phrases that often bring clarity and perspective.
While this break afforded less holiday reading time, I was still able to gain perspective from my reading and wish to share some thoughts with you, our community.
Just prior to the break, a close friend gave me Embers: One Ojibway’s Meditations by Richard Wagamese (1955-2017), a celebrated author and storyteller from the Wabaseemoong First Nation in northwestern Ontario. My friend told me that they went to the book each morning for a teaching and then focused on it for the day. Yesterday, I came across a meditation that will be guiding me- and I hope others- for far longer than a day:
“Teachings come from everywhere when you open yourself to them. That’s the trick of it, really. Open yourself to everything and everything opens itself to you.”
If someone had told me months ago that we would be where we are now, I could not have imagined it. To be clear, we have and continue to work on contingency plans, pandemic guidelines, and program delivery; however, this new reality is a huge change. As our Administration Team planned last week, I marveled at the focus, the problem-solving, the teamwork and the willingness of every person to contribute to making the next while- and into the future- a positive and successful experience. We are learning so much from so many.
As I read Wagamese’s words yesterday I was overcome with gratitude. From my perspective, while this next while will be very, very different for us and challenging at times, it is a tremendous opportunity for learning.
St. Clement’s has worked hard to ensure that our girls’ learning experiences are ones that are rigorous and challenge them to learn how to learn; we know that this kind of learning has to include allowing our girls to stumble and even fail. This is not always an easy message to hear- particularly by those already educated and in long-term careers. Their educational experience was not like this. Indeed, the world of work was not like it is now.
It is now- even for those who have struggled to understand our message- that learning how to learn, and work, in a new environment will be the priority.
“Open yourself to everything and everything opens itself to you.”
I am confident that our close-knit community has the capacity, the knowledge, and the spirit to prioritize perspective and move forward, as we face this new normal together.
I am also very grateful to be working alongside our staff to continue to enact our mission of developing outstanding women who are intellectually curious, courageous, and compassionate and thank you, in advance, for your trust and support as we do so.