A bannister is defined as ‘a handrail with its supporting posts’ by the Merriam-Webster online dictionary. In my mind, bannisters guide and safeguard people heading up or down stairs. They can be used to help pull tired people up, and can prevent falls when coming down.
On Wednesday, I had an appointment booked with a professional to whom I have turned over the years when I need support. This woman guides me in making sense of things, frames things in ways I might not have done otherwise, and reminds me that it is OK to need and ask for help. Needless to say, the last few months have challenged many-including me.
During our time, she asked me: who and what were my bannisters? I paused. I loved this question.
I had an immediate image in my head. Who and what helped pull me along when I was tired, who provided support or the direction I needed to move forward?
I spoke about really missing being at the School and, in particular, the opportunities to step away from my office and into our hallways and learning spaces to be amongst our girls and staff. In doing so, I am always reminded of our mission, the amazing staff who enact it and, most importantly, the girls and young women for whom we do this work. It reminds me of why I love my job.
Her next question was, how I am getting access to these bannisters now? There were a few examples that immediately came to mind. Things like emails with individual staff members, being at our weekly virtual assemblies, virtual recess time with the Junior School, watching a Grade 2’s recorded project on Thursday evening, and seeing the social media posts of our girls continuing our School spirit or thanking our teachers. These are all bannisters for me.
While our situation is so different than what we are used to, I was reminded that, while the access point may be different, I still have my bannisters.
Who and what are your bannisters?